Home Facebook’s New Privacy Controls Encourage Openness

Facebook’s New Privacy Controls Encourage Openness

Today, Facebook announced new privacy settings which let you selectively open up portions of your personal profile to everyone on the Facebook social network. As an alternative to the new “Public Profiles” (formerly called “Pages”), these additional settings allow you to pick and choose which parts – if any – of your private Facebook profile are available for anyone to see. According to a company blog post, this means that now people won’t need to friend you in order to view the content you want to make public.

This recent update provides another option for public figures who want to connect with a wider audience as well as those folks who enjoy openly sharing their online activities. These privacy settings which can be used to make parts of your personal profile public should not be confused with Facebook’s new “Public Profiles.” We examined Public Profiles last week and determined that they still had a number of issues before they would be useful to people with personal accounts. In fact, those Public Profiles were really only effective for businesses or other large entities that wished to communicate with a large audience. 

Now, with the new privacy settings for Facebook personal profiles, individuals have another, and perhaps better, option than those Public Profiles. On your privacy page, you can now choose to make one or all of the following profile elements more open: Profile, Status Updates, Links, Wall Posts, Basic Info, Personal Info, Education Info, Work Info, Photos of You and Videos of You.

By doing so, anyone who finds you in a search or sees you in a post or comment on their friend’s profile can click through to see what parts of your profile you’ve chosen to reveal. In other words, you can selectively make whatever you want public while still hiding the rest.

It should be pointed out that this new option, while useful, does not allow for one-way friendships where one Facebook user could follow another without having a mutual friendship. For micro-celebrities, celebrities, and other persons of interest, this still does not resolve the issue of wanting to broadcast to a crowd through News Feed updates while keeping some things private. For that, the only recourse is still the separate and somewhat difficult to maintain “Public Profile” pages. Hopefully, Facebook will still consider implementing truly one-way friendships where individuals can both publicly share content and broadcast to those who wish to follow their news. This most recent update to the privacy settings would be a good first step in that direction.

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