Recently Facebook announced a bunch of improvements that made it easier to share posts, photos, tags and other content with exactly the people you want. They have made changes to make “who can see this?” feature more visual and straightforward. The main change was moving most of controls from the settings page to being inline, right next to the posts, photos and tags they affect. Plus there are several other updates that made users easier to understand who can see their stuff (or their friends’) in any context. Here’s what’s came up, organized around two areas: What shows up on your profile, and What happens when you share something new.
New Profile Controls
The User profile got some new tools that gives the User a clearer, more consistent controls over how photos and posts get added to it, and who can see everything that lives there.
Inline Profile Controls
BEFORE: Most of the settings for stuff on your profile were a few clicks away on a series of settings pages.
AFTER: Content on your profile, from your hometown to your latest photo album, will appear next to an icon and a drop-down menu. This inline menu lets you know who can see this part of your profile, and you can change it with one click.
A side benefit of moving most settings to inline controls is a much shorter and simpler Settings page. A bunch of settings that were there previously have been moved directly inline, and a handful have been replaced or removed. (You can find more detail on the profile settings here: http://www.facebook.com/about/control)
Profile Tag Review
BEFORE: Photos you were tagged in would show up on your profile as soon as you were tagged. There should have been an ability to approve these tags before they show up on your profile.
AFTER: You can choose to use the new tool to approve or reject any photo or post you are tagged in before it’s visible to anyone else on your profile.
Content Tag Review
BEFORE: Anyone who could see your photos or posts could add tags to them.
AFTER: You have the option to review and approve or reject any tag someone tries to add to your photos and posts.
View Profile As…
BEFORE: Users were keen to know what their profile looked like to others, but the tool for doing this was behind the scenes.
AFTER: This tool is now on the top of your profile where it’s easier to access.
How Sharing Works Now
In addition to the profile changes, it will now be more visually straightforward to understand and control who can see your posts at the time you share them. The functionality of the sharing tool is also enhanced: Now if you want to make your posts more expressive, it has been made simple to add location and tag the people you’re with.
BEFORE: Controls for who could see your stuff on Facebook lived on a settings page a few clicks away.
AFTER: The control for who can see each post has been made inline. For each audience, there is now an icon and label (just like the ‘circles’ in Google+ ) to help make it easier to understand and decide who you’re sharing with. Also, when you tag someone, the audience label will automatically update to show that the person tagged and their friends can see the post.
Sources claim that this dropdown menu will be expanding over time to include smaller groups of people you may want to share with, like co-workers, Friend Lists you’ve created, and Groups you’re a member of. These will make it easy to quickly select exactly the audience you want for any post.
If you’re posting to Facebook from a phone or app that does not yet support inline controls, your setting will be the same as it is today. You can change this with a new setting available on your privacy settings page. (For a guided tour of these new controls, go here:http://www.facebook.com/about/sharing)
Word Change: “Everyone” to “Public”
BEFORE: Users had the option to share a post with Everyone, which meant that anyone on the internet might be able to see it.
AFTER:The name of this label has been changed from Everyone to Public so that the control is more descriptive of the behavior: anyone may see it, but not everyone will see it. This is just to make the setting more clear, and it’s just a language change.
Change Your Mind After You Post?
BEFORE: Once you posted a status update, you couldn’t change who could see it.
AFTER: Now you’ll be able to change who can see any post after the fact. If you accidentally posted something to the wrong group, or changed your mind, you can adjust it with the inline control at any time.
Tag Who You’re With, or What You Want to Talk About
BEFORE: You could only tag someone if you were friends with them, and you could only tag a Page if you had liked it. This felt broken or awkward if you had a photo album of co-workers and had to become Facebook friends to tag them in the photos.
AFTER: You can add tags of your friends or anyone else on Facebook. If you are ever tagged by a non-friend, it won’t appear on your profile unless you review and approve the post.
Tag Locations in Posts
BEFORE: You could only “check in” to locations using the Places feature on a smart phone.
AFTER: Now you can add location to anything. Lots of people use Facebook to talk about where they are, have been or want to go. Now you can add location from anywhere, regardless of what device you are using, or whether it is a status update, photo or Wall post. Of course, you can always choose not to add location at all.
As a part of this, Facebook is in the middle of phasing out the mobile-only Places feature. Settings associated with it are also being phased out or removed. (You can read more about how location works and settings affected here: http://www.facebook.com/about/location)
Remove Tags or Content from Facebook
BEFORE: People had different ideas of what removing a tag actually did, and different motivations for wanting to remove them.
AFTER: The options for removing tags or content on Facebook are presented more clearly. Your options are: removing from your profile, removing the tag itself, messaging the photo owner or tagger, and requesting the content get taken down. (More details on tagging can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/about/tagging)
These changes had started rolling out from August End but the process has been quite slow. When they reach you, you’ll see a prompt for a tour that walks you through these new features from your homepage. In the meantime, you can read more about the upcoming changes from the links throughout this post.