Occupying the most conspicuous real estate is the
privacy-settings button. It will sit next to the two familiar tabs
that direct users to their news feeds and profile pages in the
toolbar on the upper-right corner of most Facebook pages.
Clicking the button will open a box with the option to click
through for information on "Who can see my stuff?," "Who can
contact me?" and "How do I stop someone from bothering me?," which
Facebook's manager of privacy and public policy, Rob Sherman, said
are users' three main privacy-related concerns.
"Surprises are bad for us, and they're bad for our users," Mr.
Sherman said. "We want to make sure people's information is visible
in the ways that they want."
The revamped privacy controls also call for changing the
configurations that permit apps to use data points like email
addresses, birthdays and locations to post on users' timelines.
While those permissions used to appear together in a single box
when a user was choosing to opt in to an app, Mr. Sherman said that
site feedback indicated those notifications were too
Going forward (with the exception of games), users opting in to
apps will still be notified about data-collection practices, but
the notifications requesting their consent to post on their behalf
will come after the fact. One possible side effect: a reduction in
the posting of spammy marketing messages that developers sometimes
bundle into their apps' functionality, since users can now reject
"You'll still be able to use the app, but you won't be able to
use the portions of the app that post back to Facebook," Mr.
In coming weeks, users will see a message at the top of Facebook
pages directing them to carefully look through their photos to
check their comfort levels with who has permission to see them.
Going forward, in order to protect users from a false sense of
security, the site will notify them that a photo removed from their
timeline "still appears in search, news feed and other places on
In those cases when the existence of an touchy photo distresses
users even if their image isn't tagged and it isn't technically
linked to their profile page, Facebook has streamlined the process
to request taking it down. Within the "activity log," a chronicle
of user activity including all comments, shares and photo tags that
was launched last year, users will be able in one fell swoop to
select multiple photos, untag themselves and ask the photos' owners
to remove the pics.
Mr. Sherman said that Facebook has collaborated with both the
Federal Trade Commission and the Irish Data Protection
Commissioner, which oversees compliance for users outside of the
U.S. and Canada, since the company's official international
headquarters are in Dublin.