Will new Facebook settings protect your privacy?

Seeing a photo of yourself at a less than flattering angle is never nice, but having it tagged on Facebook for all to see has got to be one of the major frustrations of the social networking site.

Now Facebook has announced a major revamp so users will be asked to approve any postings that they are tagged in. So does this really mean your privacy is more protected?

Among the changes, which are intended to improve how users control their privacy on the site, items posted online will each have their own sharing settings determining who can see them.

The move is the latest in a series of attempts by Facebook to streamline how members manage their personal information. The site has been previously criticised for making privacy settings difficult to find and change.

Now when users are tagged in a posting - such as a photograph or video - they will have the option to confirm or remove their identity before it appears on their profile. It is hoped the precaution will remove the problem of malicious tagging, where cyberbullies add other people's names to unsavoury pictures.

New changes include:
  • In line controls - each item on a user's wall has individual privacy options, such as public, friends and custom
  • Tag takedown - the ability to remove tags of self, ask the person who tagged you to remove it, or block the tagger
  • Universal tagging - users can tag anyone, not just Facebook friends. Other person can choose not to accept the tagged post on their profile
  • Location tagging - geographic locations can be added in all versions of Facebook, not just mobile app
  • Profile view - the option to see how others view your profile is added above the news feed

Facebook's vice president of product, Chris Cox said that the arrival of another privacy refresh didn't necessarily mean the old system was confusing.

He told BBC News. "I don't think the old controls were bad. I just think the new ones are much better. The goal is just to make [the settings] more inline and more immediate, just right there in the profile."

It is reported that Mr Cox also played down suggestions that Facebook might be improving its privacy controls as it prepares to extend access to children under 13.

"This change is really just about the people that are on Facebook today and the new users who just joined today and making it easier for them. This really is not in any way about the under-13 experience," said Mr Cox.

He promised there would not be any unexpected changes to users' privacy settings during the changeover process, which starts on Thursday 25th August.

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