Posts Tagged ‘Privacy’

How To Control Facebook App Privacy

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

by Larry Magid

Facebook is more than a social network. It’s also a platform that allows independent developers to create applications, or “apps” that greatly expand what the service can offer. Games, including social games like  Words with Friends, are very popular, but there are also education apps, photo sharing apps, apps to share interesting reading material, music apps and much more.

To operate properly, many of these apps need information from your profile and some need (or at least want) the ability to post on your behalf. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because, by accessing or sharing information, these apps can enhance your social experience. But, it’s important to understand and exercise control over what information apps can use and how using apps can impact your experience on Facebook.  Fortunately Facebook does give users a lot of control, and has ways to limit what apps can do, and ways to remove apps you don’t like or no longer find useful.  And, parents, please heed the advice of my ConnectSafely.org co-director Anne Collier by not only advising kids on how to control their own apps, but serving as a role model by showing them you’re doing it too.

What apps can do

What an app can do and what information it needs depends on the app’s purpose. If it’s an app that sends out birthday greetings to your friends, for example, it makes sense for it to know who your friends are and their birthdates and, of course to be able to send out a greeting. Other apps have different functions and different default permissions, which can include, among other things, access to your basic information, the ability to post to your timeline and newsfeed on your behalf, your location, and access to information people share with you.

Controlling apps permissions

As you install an app you can control what information it can access and what it can do, but you can also edit that information (i.e. take away permissions) at any time as follows:

  • Click on the down arrow in the upper right corner of any page
  • Select Privacy Settings
  • Scroll down to Apps and Websites and click Edit Settings
  • That will display your most recently used apps but not necessarily all your apps.

    Click Edit Settings from this screen to control all your apps
  • To see and edit all your apps, click Edit Settings in the gray box to the right of where it says how many apps you’re using.
  • Find the app you want to control and click Edit (to the right).

For example, this app from SoundCloud has permission to post on my behalf to my timeline, newsfeed or ticker,  but I can take away that permission by clicking on the X to the right of any permission I wish to remove. It’s also possible to limit who can see the posts it makes on my behalf by clicking on the current setting (Friends, in this illustration) and changing it. You can even select “Only me,” which still lets the app post (so you have a record of its history) but only you can see it.

Facebook lets you edit apps' permissions at any time

For more on Facebook privacy see A Parents’ Guide to Facebook from ConnectSafely.org.

This short video, prepared by Facebook, demonstrates how to control app privacy.

Disclosure: Larry Magid is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a non-profit Internet safety organization that receives financial support from Facebook.

SafeTeens.com

A good start on digital privacy

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

This post appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on February 27, 2012

by Larry Magid

I might be overly optimistic, but I hope this will be remembered as the month digital privacy rights finally started to become real.

Last Wednesday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced an agreement with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion that would require app developers to abide by California’s existing privacy law and disclose their privacy policies in plain language before users download their apps. On Thursday, the Obama administration released a report calling for a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.”

Although late to the game, these initiatives came at an opportune time. As I mentioned in last week’s column, we have had a spade of privacy invasions lately, including an incident where a popular smartphone app was uploading entire user contact lists to its servers without notification or permission.

Part of the problem is that consumers have been left in the dark. Just like software running on a PC, an app running on a smartphone can do anything it’s programmed to do, and there are very few people who have the technical expertise to peer under the hood to figure out exactly what the app is doing.

So the only way the average consumer can know what information an app is collecting and what it’s doing with that data is for the app developer to tell them. But not all app developers post privacy policies. And even those that do often don’t put them in plain language and make them accessible to consumers at the point of download.

The situation is not better for apps aimed at children. On Feb. 16, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report titled “Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures Are Disappointing.” It found that, “In most instances, staff was unable to determine from the information on the app store page or the developer’s landing page whether an app collected any data, let alone the type of data collected, the purpose for such collection, and who … obtained access to such data.”

Tracking cookies

There’s also that pesky issue of third-party tracking cookies that ad networks like Google’s DoubeClick use to follow you around the Web so they can target you with ads based on sites you’ve visited. That issue raised its head again last week after the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was going around technology built into Apple’s Safari browser to block third-party tracking.

Microsoft later claimed that Google was also defeating its cookie blocking system. Google responded that it was only doing that for users who were signed in and that, “It’s important to stress that these advertising cookies do not collect personal information.”

The current state of affairs is actually bad for all stakeholders. While being able to sneak a few targeted ads past consumers might put some extra money in the coffers of Internet advertising companies, it also erodes consumer confidence. If stories like the ones we’ve been bombarded with lately continue to dominate the news, consumers are likely to start shying away from using some of these technologies or employ third-party blocking tools, which could cause additional problems for advertisers and app companies.

Privacy a fundamental right

Also, as the Obama administration’s report pointed out, deceptive privacy practices are downright un-American. OK, I exaggerate. But in the report’s opening statement, President Barack Obama made the point that “From the birth of our republic, we assured ourselves protection against unlawful intrusion into our homes and our personal papers.” Long before the Internet, he reminded us, “we set up a postal system to enable citizens all over the new nation to engage in commerce and political discussion,” and “Congress made it a crime to invade the privacy of the mails.” I’m sure that Benjamin Franklin, America’s first Postmaster General, would agree that that’s a pretty good precedent.

The so-called “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” the White House plans to send to Congress for passage would provide for individual control over our personal data along with transparency — the “right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.” It also calls for “respect for context,” so consumers can expect companies to collect and use personal information in context for the purposes that it’s needed. The rights also include secure and responsible handing of data, consumer access to our own data, reasonable limits on the use of our data and accountability that companies are adhering to this bill of rights.

What the proposed rights lack is specificity. The administration calls them “general principles that afford companies discretion in how they implement them.” This flexibility, said the White House, “will help promote innovation.”

The administration is encouraging Congress to provide both the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general with the authority to enforce the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

Next, I assume, comes a series of hearings on Capitol Hill, where legislators will pounce on evil companies for forcing the government to take a strong stand and companies will extoll the virtues of self-regulation.

Some would call self-regulation the fox guarding the chicken coop, while others would brand heavy-handed government rules as stifling innovation. I call on Congress to conduct this important discussion calmly, rationally, clearly and openly so that the rest of us can both listen-in and weigh-in.

For more

Anne Collier (my ConnectSafely.org co-director) on privacy tipping point

My interview with California Attorney General Kamala Harris on app data privacy

SafeTeens.com

Facebook Users Becoming More Privacy Savvy

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Percent of social networking users who have taken these steps to protect their privacy (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project)

When it comes to social media privacy, there is some good news from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. It shows that Americans are increasingly thinking about their own privacy and reputation management. Which, at the end of the day, is the most protective factor of all.

A new report, Privacy management on social media sites, found that people were more likely to use basic privacy features in 2011 than they were in 2009.  The study also found that only 2% of Facebook users felt that it’s “very difficult” to use privacy controls. Forty nine percent say that it’s “not difficult at all,”  though 48% said they experienced some level of difficulty.

In general, teens and young adults are more privacy conscious than older people.

The study found that:

  • 37% untagged photos, up from 30% in 2009
  • 44% deleted comments, up from 36^ in 2009
  • 63% unfriended someone, up from 56% in 2009

It also found that 58% restrict access to their profiles and that women are significantly more likely to use privacy setting than men  (67% vs 48%).

Oops

Eleven percent said they posted content that they regret with males almost twice as likely (15% vs. 8%) to have regrets than women. Young adults (18-29) are three times more likely (15% vs. 5%) to say they’ve posted content they regret than users 50 or older.

Privacy is the norm & teens are leading the way

Privacy settings: Teens Vs. Adults

Users of all ages  are likely to use the service’s privacy settings, with teens leading the way. 62% of teens say they mostly post content to friends only compared to 59% of 18-29 year-olds, 60% of 30-49 year-olds, 52% of 50-64 year-olds, and 55% of people over 65.

Women and young adults more likely to prune their lists

Women are more likely to trim their friends lists than men (67% vs. 58%) as are young adults. Seventy one percent of young adults say they’ve deleted contacts compared to 63% of people between 30 and 49, 56% of 50 to 64 year-olds and 41% of people over 65.

The survey also found that young adults are more likely to delete comments, and remove tags.

Government regulation vs. personal responsibility

The Pew Report came out  the day after the Obama Administration released its Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World report (PDF) that includes a proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights that the administration plans to send to Congress.  As important as they are, these rights can’t completely protect user privacy.  Even the most stringent privacy policies and government regulations  won’t protect people from posting things they may regret if people are not thinking carefully about what they post. Regardless of the regulatory environment, media literacy and critical thinking remain the the most important factors when it comes to protecting our privacy and safety.

 

SafeTeens.com

California Attorney General forges deal on mobile app privacy protections (Podcast)

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announces app privacy deal (Credit: California Department of Justice)

On Wednesday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced an agreement with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, and Research In Motion that would require app developers to abide by California’s existing privacy law.  That deal, according to CNET news, “will require developers to include privacy policies in their apps so that users will be informed about the data that apps will access, use, and share before they download the apps.”

In a press release, the Attorney General’s office said that agreement brings the industry “in line with a California law requiring mobile apps that collect personal information to have a privacy policy.”

To learn more about the deal, Larry spoke by phone with Ms. Harris shortly after the announcement.

Listen here

Read more on my CNET blog

SafeTeens.com

Invasion of Privacy, Malicious Impersonation and Idenity Theft- McAfee’s Social Networking Guide

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Safe Eyes Guide to Social NetworkingIf your children aren’t careful on social networking sites, they could become victims of invasion of privacy, malicious impersonation, or identity theft.

Invasion of privacy can happen easily if your children share their passwords, are not selective about who they add as a friend, or are not careful about what information or photos they post online. The level of visibility to friend lists, profiles, or photos varies from site to site, so it is wise to be aware of the privacy options on the sites your children use. The key to preventing invasion of privacy is to make sure your children are careful about what they share, who they share it with, and that they understand that nothing is private when it is posted online, no matter how many controls are in place.

Malicious impersonation occurs when someone pretends to be your child and does malicious things, like posting profanity or inappropriate images. The easiest way for someone to impersonate your child is to get your child’s password. Once someone has the password, they can post inappropriate material that looks like it is coming from your child.

Malicious impersonation can also occur when someone pretends to be someone other than who they really are and interacts with your child online. The case of the cyberbullying mother described in Lesson 3 illustrates how malicious impersonation of this type can have unfortunate consequences. Also, online predators often “friend” teens online and misrepresent themselves as peers to lure their victims into a sexual encounter.

Identity theft and phishing scams are becoming more and more commonplace on social networking sites where so much personal information is available to hackers. Phishing scams are attempts to trick you into giving up personal information, including passwords, social security numbers, and credit cards numbers, through phony requests or solicitations that appear to come from legitimate sources. Identity thieves who have gotten their hands on members’ passwords not only gain access to their profiles, but also to their network of friends. It’s an easy way for identity thieves to use victims’ accounts to send phishing messages to large numbers of people in hopes that some of them fall for their scams and turn over confidential information.

McAfee Social Networking Guide is avaiable at: http://mcaf.ee/l581v


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Google’s New Privacy Policy – a Safety Workaround for You and Your Teen

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Taking a page from Facebook, Google has now lowered the minimum age required to join Google+ from 18 to 13. They claim that opening Google+ to younger kids will help educate them about social networking. If you’re a regular reader of Yoursphere for Parents or follow any of the work…
Social Networking and Internet Safety Information for Parents

Your Guide to the New Facebook Timeline Privacy Settings

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

The Timeline feature that Mark Zuckerberg announced in September is now available to all Facebook users. If you’ve already activated Timeline for your own profile, you’re probably in the midst of adjusting to the new layout and testing out the new features. But what you might have overlooked are the…
Social Networking and Internet Safety Information for Parents

Privacy 101 – a 2011 update

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

This is a work in progress and subject to editing

Watch what you post

There is a lot of talk about how social networks, search engines and even seemingly innocuous websites can invade your privacy, but the biggest risk to our privacy is what we post ourselves.  Sure, you should get to know the ‘privacy settings of the services you use and configure them to meet your needs, but you should also be aware that anything you post online can be copied and pasted so, if it’s really really embarrassing or really a secret, don’t post it online, even if you have the tightest possible privacy settings.

Keep hackers at bay

There is also the possibility of unauthorized access. If hackers get their hands on your usernames and passwords or figure out how to break into one of your accounts, then all privacy bets are off. And even if you practice great security, there is always a chance of a data breach at some company or agency with access to your data. It’s happened to millions after intrusions into company, government and university sites.  For example, in April, 2011 Sony’s servers suffered a major data breach that jepordized personal information from 77 million customers.

Protect yourself

Still, there are things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Use strong passwords, change them periodically and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Here is are some helpful password tips from ConnectSafely.
  • Check your online credit and bank accounts frequently to look for fraudulent activity and report it immediately. In most cases you’re not liable. Check all three of your credit reports (for free) at least once a year.
  • Use security software and keep it along with your operating system and applications up-to-date
  • Use the privacy tools associated with your social networks but be aware that anything can be copied and forwarded. Here are links to privacy settings on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter*
  • Use encryption setting with your  WiFi wireless networks. Don’t enter highly confidential information when connected to a public network
  • Only provide personal or financial information to websites you know and trust. Never enter passwords on sites you’re not sure about, especially if you get an email asking you to do so.
  • Be aware of the privacy policies of any sites or companies you deal with. The privacy policy is where companies will disclose if they sell or rent your name to others or how they may use your personal information.
  • Be aware of the mobile and social networking apps you’re using. Check their privacy policy and make sure you only use apps from reputable sources
  • Know how to use your browser’s private or “ingonito” mode and how to erase the history from your browser.
Tracking cookies

And there is the issue of being followed around the web. Many websites, including ones operated by very well known companies, put little files, called cookies, on your machine for a couple of reasons. One reason is to store information such as your username and password so you don’t have to enter it the next time you visit, but they also use cookies — called tracking cookies – so that they can target ads that they think you’re likely to respond to.

How Tracking cookies often work:

  • You visit a website that has an ad on it that’s placed by one of the advertising networks. The ad may appear on the site you’re visiting, but it’s actually being delivered from a server owned by the advertising network.
  • The network then puts a cookie on your machine that records the ad that was shown and the site you visited.
  • Then you visit another site that displays another ad from the same ad network and the cookie is updated with information about the current and current site.
  • Over a period of time the network can get a pretty good idea of sites in its network that you’ve visited.

The good thing about tracking cookies is that they help give you ads you’re more likely to be interested in. If you’ve been shopping for, let’s say, sporting equipment, you’ll see a lot more sporting equipment ads which might be a good thing if you’re always on the prowl for new equipment. Also, you’re less likely to see ads for products or services that don’t interest you.

Still, it can be creepy to be followed around and, even though the major advertising networks claim they don’t use this information to personally identify you, the fact is that the data is being stored and could, at least in theory, be used to identify you.

Removing or opting out of tracking cookies

Many security products can be used to remove tracking cookies and the major browsers also have tools to remove them.

DoubleClick, which is owned by Google, offers instructions on how to opt out of cookies. Here are instructions for deleting stored cookies in Microsoft Internet Explorer,   Mozilla Firefox and  Google Chrome.

All the browser companies have agreed to include a “do not track” feature in future browsers, but tracking will be the default setting unless you change it.  Mozilla Firefox, the first to implement this feature, has posted instructions on how to use it.

 

*Note about Twitter “privacy“: Although it’s possible to configure your Twitter account so that you have to approve anyone who follows you, that’s not how the service usually works. Think of Twitter as a public forum where everything you post can be seen by anyone.

 

 

SafeTeens.com

Online Privacy Primer

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

by Larry Magid

Scroll down for article (below slide show)

Privacy Primer Slideshow

Watch what you post

There is a lot of talk about how social networks, search engines and even seemingly innocuous websites can invade our privacy, but the biggest risk to our privacy is what we post ourselves.  Sure, you should get to know the privacy settings of the services you use, but you should also be aware that anything you post online can be copied and pasted so, if it’s really really embarrassing or really a secret, don’t post it online, even if you have the tightest possible privacy settings.

Keep hackers at bay

There is also the possibility of unauthorized access. If hackers get their hands on your usernames and passwords or figure out how to break into one of your accounts, then all privacy bets are off. And even if you practice great security, there is always a chance of a data breach at some company or agency with access to your data. It’s happened to millions after intrusions into company, government and university sites.  For example, in April, 2011 Sony’s servers suffered a major data breach that jepordized personal information from 77 million customers.

Protect yourself

Still, there are things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Use strong passwords, change them periodically and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Here is are some helpful password tips from ConnectSafely.
  • Check your online credit and bank accounts frequently to look for fraudulent activity and report it immediately. In most cases you’re not liable. Check all three of your credit reports (for free) at least once a year.
  • Use security software and keep it and  your operating system and applications up-to-date.
  • Use the privacy tools associated with your social networks but be aware that anything can be copied and forwarded. Here are links to privacy settings on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter*
  • Use encryption setting with your  WiFi wireless networks. Don’t enter highly confidential information when connected to a public network.
  • Only provide personal or financial information to websites you know and trust. Never enter passwords on sites you’re not sure about, especially if you get an email asking you to do so.
  • Be aware of the privacy policies of any sites or companies you deal with. The privacy policy is where companies will disclose if they sell or rent your name to others or how they may use your personal information.
  • Be aware of the mobile and social networking apps you’re using. Check their privacy policy and make sure you only use apps from reputable sources.
  • Know how to use your browser’s private or “ingonito” mode and how to erase the history from your browser.
Tracking cookies

And there is the issue of being followed around the web. Many websites, including ones operated by very well known companies, put little files, called cookies, on your machine for a couple of reasons. One beneficial reason is to store information such as your username and password so you don’t have to enter it the next time you visit, but they also use cookies — called tracking cookies – so that they can target ads that they think you’re likely to respond to.

How Tracking cookies often work:

  • You visit a website that has an ad on it that’s placed by one of the advertising networks. The ad may appear on the site you’re visiting, but it’s actually being delivered from a server owned by the advertising network.
  • The network then puts a cookie on your machine that records the ad that was shown and the site you visited.
  • Then you visit another site that displays another ad from the same ad network and the cookie is updated with information about the current and current site.
  • Over a period of time the network can get a pretty good idea of sites in its network that you’ve visited.

The good thing about tracking cookies is that they help give you ads you’re more likely to be interested in. If you’ve been shopping for, let’s say, sporting equipment, you’ll see a lot more sporting equipment ads which might be a good thing if you’re always on the prowl for new equipment. Also, you’re less likely to see ads for products or services that don’t interest you.

Still, it can be creepy to be followed around and, even though the major advertising networks claim they don’t use this information to personally identify you, the fact is that the data is being stored and could, at least in theory, be used to identify you.

Removing or opting out of tracking cookies

Many security products can be used to remove tracking cookies and the major browsers also have tools to remove them.

DoubleClick, which is owned by Google, offers instructions on how to opt out of cookies. Here are instructions for deleting stored cookies in Microsoft Internet Explorer,   Mozilla Firefox and  Google Chrome.

All the browser companies have agreed to include a “do not track” feature in future browsers, but tracking will be the default setting unless you change it.  Mozilla Firefox, the first to implement this feature, has posted instructions on how to use it.

Location sharing

Your cell phone knows almost exactly where you are via its GPS antenna and its ability to recognize nearby WiFi hotspots. And, an  increasing number of mobile phone apps are “location-aware,” which means that they are capable of tracking your location. Be sure to only use location-aware apps that you trust and be very careful how you configure them. Some apps are designed to share you location with friends or via social networks or Twitter. Use them carefully and only share your location with people you trust. Review your settings occasionally to make sure you’re still comfortable with the people you’re sharing your location with and be careful before you use your phone to “check-in” to a location.

Don’t overlook the “obvious”

There are certain privacy traps that are so low-tech that we’re likely to forget about them. These include:

  • Watch what you say on your phone while you’re in public — people around you might be listening
  • Be aware of others viewing your screen. It doesn’t take a hack to know what you’re typing or reading if someone is behind you or near you. If you do look at your create condidential documents, consider getting a privacy screen for your laptop.
  • And, for the ultimate in low-tech privacy protection, shred your old financial records and other confidential documents before throwing them in the trash or recycling bin.

 

*Note about Twitter “privacy“: Although it’s possible to configure your Twitter account so that you have to approve anyone who follows you, that’s not how the service usually works. Think of Twitter as a public forum where everything you post can be seen by anyone.

SafeTeens.com

Facebook makes major changes to privacy controls

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

In an effort to make thing simpler and more obvious, Facebook is changing the way people control who has access to their posts, status updates, pictures and other content. The company is also changing tagging so that users will have the option to approve tags before they take effect.

This is the biggest change to Facebook privacy setting since May of 2010 when the company last tried to simplify controls.  But,  based on what I can tell from my pre-briefings, they seemed to have done a better job this time.

Inline privacy settings

The most significant change is that users will be able to more easily control who gets to see each post, photo or other content as they are creating the post.  Whenever you post content, there will be an opportunity to decide who can see it.

For example, you can chose to share a particular post with just your Facebook friends or you can share it with the public.  You can also select Custom to fine tune who sees it down to an individual person if you want.  In a few weeks, Facebook will also add Groups to the list, enabling you to share content with specific groups of friends.

Everyone and Minors

Facebook is dropping the term “everyone” as a sharing option because people found that confusing. Public can be anyone on Facebook or even anyone on the Internet.

Minors (users under 18) will not have the option to share with the public. They will be limited to friends or friends of friends.

In-line privacy controls

 Changing your mind

One nice change is that you can now edit a post’s privacy settings. If I post something to Public and later decide to restrict it to friends, I can go back and change it at any time.

Cautionary note about inheriting settings

Users need to be aware that whatever setting they last made will become the default setting until you change it.  So, if you usually post to “Friends” and later post something to “Public,” the next time you post it will go to the public unless you change it back again.

Tagging

In what Facebook describes as a response to user requests, they are allowing people be able to approve photos and other items before the tag takes effect.  If a user decides to turn on this feature, all items they are tagged in go into pending status until the user approves them. That way, if your friend posts an ugly picture of you, you can prevent it from being tagged with your name. You can’t necessarily prevent the person from posting it, but at least you won’t be tagged.  By default this feature is off but you can turn it on in your profile settings.

Facebook is also making it clearer that removing a tag once it has been set doesn’t result in the content being removed but is now adding “social reporting” on photos and posts from others  to make it easier to request that the person take down the content if it bothers you.

New tool lets you remove tag or ask person to remove content

For greater transparency, Facebook will now disclose who actually put a tag on any content.  That information has always been available to the person who was tagged but now it will be available to anyone who sees the content. The hope is that the greater transparency will discourage people from tagging in ways that are abusive or obnoxious.

You now tag anyone anything including non-friends

In the past you had to be friends with someone to tag them or if you wanted to tag  a page from a business, public person or organization you had to “like” them first.

Now you can tag anyone.  For example, there might be a group photo with lots of people in it including people who aren’t your friends. Before you could only tag your friends but now you can tag anyone.  And lets say there’s a company you want to comment on (perhaps critically) but you don’t “like” that company or want to get updates from them. You can now tag them without having to like them.

Adding location

Expanding on the idea of its Places location check-in, Facebook is allowing users to disclose their location in any post, including on the web. It can take advantage of location aware technology (such as IP address) but you can override that if you want.  For example, you could be at home in Iowa and post something about that trip to New York you just took or that trip to Paris you hope to take and location-stamp those post.

 

Profile privacy settings

As in the past, Facebook will allow users to control over who can see various parts of their profile (such as hometown) but is making it a bit easier to find and configure them.  As you go through your profile, privacy settings for each setting will be more obvious.

Facebook is putting Edit Profile controls in context and simplifying settings

Also, as a result of moving many settings inline, the general profile profile settings will be shorter and less complicated, according to Facebook.

Changes rolling out

The changes may not be immediately evident but they will roll out over the next few days. Facebook will provide a tour of the new features, help center information and other tools to help users adjust to the changes

Not copying Google+

At first glance it might appear that Facebook is responding to Google+’s use of Circles, which is somewhat like the new inline privacy controls. I might have though that too but I as a member of Facebook’s Safety Advisory Board, I was pre-briefed on these changes, several months before Google launched Google+ so this is clearly not a reaction to Google+ though it makes Facebook’s controls a bit more like those of Google.

For some analysis

For some analysis of what this means to users, please see the NetFamilyNews post by my ConnetSafely.org co-director, Anne Collier.

Discloser: Larry Magid is co-director of ConnectSafely.org which receives financial support from Facebook, Google and other companies.

SafeTeens.com