Facebook has always and forever been under scrutiny for it’s less than favorable privacy settings. Whether it’s because they have limited options, hidden the settings from users so it’s harder for them to find or just because the settings available are simply considered bad etiquette, costumer privacy control has never been a great feature for the networking giants.
This week sees Facebook trying to combat this bad reputation by informing the world that they will roll out their new and improved privacy control options. These new options will allow individual users significantly more control:
- Tagging: Facebook will make it easier to remove tags from images and updates. They will also give you the option to block a particular user from tagging you in future posts and images. They believe this may help prevent cyber bullying. They will also allow you to tag friends/family who are not even on Facebook. You will now also be notified that you have been tagged in a post BEFORE it shows up on your profile so you can accept or decline the tags before they are made public.
- Individual Update Controls: You can now control who can see particular posts and uploads. For example, every status update will allow you to block certain people from seeing it or commenting on it. Same for photos, videos and albums.
- View Profile: The option to see how friends view your profile will be made much more prominent and be shown as an option above your news feed.
It sounds like that Facebook have finally bucked up their ideas and addressed one of their biggest downfalls. But Hang on a minute…
In actual fact, most of these options already exist or exist in part.
- You can already decide if you want to make a status update private or block one or two people from seeing it simply by clicking on your friend groups and hiding a whole bunch of people. Just click on the padlock below the update box and hey presto, immediate control! So the hiding of news is nothing new. It may be made easier and more known but it is in fact, an old feature and thus nothing to get excited about.
- You can already untag yourself from images and remain untagged in them. Yes, the fact you can do this before it hits your profile for everyone to see is a step in the right direction but again, it’s a baby step and based on a feature that already exists.
- Another feature which they have recently introduced is the instant facial recognition. The fact they wield technology which automatically knows who you are is scary and they rolled this out with no word of warning and faced backlash for it. Below shows an image displaying what I mean. It picked out my face from the photos and already had the tag set as my name.
Will Their Privacy Controls Ever Improve?
Facebook have suffered with such a bad reputation for this for so long that it will be incredibly hard for them to shift peoples point of view on it. The damage is most likely already done. They say they work to give users the best controls possible but it’s all under their terms. Failing that, it’s actually just old privacy options masquerading as new ones. They make these changes saying that they’re great new user controls but really, it’s just changed location. Unfortunately for Facebook, it’s privacy legacy looks like it’s here to stay.
Articles used for this post: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14633427