May 27, 2010 -- Facebook's privacy settings and users' concerns have been debated and analyzed ad nauseum over the past several weeks. With today's announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company hope to put the talk — and the fear and mistrust — to rest.
"We made a lot of changes at the same time," Zuckerberg said regarding his company's f8 announcements of the Open Graph API and other new Facebook features. "A lot of what we were trying to do got lost. We really need to simplify the controls… The feedback we got from users really resonated with us."
Facebook's new privacy controls are dead simple, as simple as a single button-click for sharing or restricting all your information — from your birthday and contact information to your posts and photos.
Now, Facebook will give users one simple control for all sharing. In a couple clicks, you can change all your settings, and the changes will apply retroactively as well. And of course, changes will apply to any new products that might be released in the future.
When you first open the new privacy settings page, your current privacy settings will appear; you won't be automatically switched to the recommended settings.
Controls Let You Share With Friends Only, Friends of Friends or Everyone
Users simply click one button ("Everyone," "Friends of Friends" or "Friends Only") in the left column to restrict or open all their information to those groups. They can also choose to make certain types of information open to certain groups, as per the recommended settings you see above.
"You can think of 'Everyone,' 'Friends of Friends' and 'Friends Only' as big buckets containing different groups of information," the new controls page reads. "With our recommended settings, your information is distributed across all three buckets."
While Facebook does recommend leaving certain information, such as your bio or status, open to everyone, other data should probably be more private, such as photos or videos.
The recommended settings ask users to make their status, photos, posts, bio, favorite quotations, family and relationships viewable to everyone. They also recommend making personal contact information viewable by friends only.
Facebook Users Can Still Remove Tags From Posts, Images, Videos Shared by Others
Granular sharing for wall posts will remain the same, and sharing information with applications will become even more granular than what we're used to seeing now.
Users will still be able to remove tags from posts, images or videos posted by others. Finally, more granular, specific controls will exist for what information is shared and discoverable through Facebook's directory.
With controls this simple, it's hard to imagine users being confused or pundits throwing fits; yet we're sure not everyone will be totally pleased with these changes.