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What you need to know about Facebook’s new privacy settings

Facebook is hinting at coming features that should make you pay attention to the updates. 


Molly McHugh


Posted on Nov 13, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 5:24 am CDT

Facebook has updated its privacy settings once again. Things aren’t really getting better per se, just “easier.” 

Facebook now has something called “Privacy Basics,” a hub that essentially gives you the TL;DR on what others see about you, how they interact with you, and what you see (from friends as well as advertisers) in big print and bold design. It’s sort of like an expanded version of privacy check-up.

That isn’t the only update to Facebook privacy: The social network is proposing changes to its terms, data policy, and cookies policy. (You’re invited to add comments and suggestions for seven days.)

In a post announcing the upcoming changes, Facebook also points to a few coming features. Speaking of Friends Nearby, the social network’s location-sharing feature, Facebook says in the future “if you decide to share where you are, you might see menus from restaurants nearby or updates from friends in the area.”

The other significant amendment concerns the Buy button, which will start showing up in more and more regions so that you can purchase things on the site without ever leaving.

Facebook also acknowledges that its lightning-speed growth and app acquisitions can be confusing and points to a few pages to help explain what it controls and to what degree. However, these pages are all just found under the site’s “help” section—not exactly the best explanatory resource.

Speaking to complaints over ads, Facebook reiterates users can opt-out with help from the Digital Advertising Alliance and that you can give the site feedback via in-ad pull downs as to why you don’t want to see such content. No changes here; it just appears Facebook is letting us know we can do something other than tell it we don’t like ads.

The announcement did not include any new information about News Feed, though we did recently discover that change is afoot. Controls that allow you to further tailor your News Feed are on the way, but Facebook has remained very quiet about the coming feature.

In general, this is yet another simplification of Facebook’s policies and terms, for better or worse. Taking out confusing language is ultimately a benefit to users, but there’s always concern that over-simplifying what are very important details (systems controlling your purchasing history, personal information, location, and financial data are, you know, important) can make users more comfortable with something than they should be. And if that’s the case, we’ll all revisit this when or if the time comes and shake our fists at Facebook for making us trust it too much.

So as always, the onus is on you and me to read the fine print and toggle those privacy settings with extreme care. 

Photo via Facebook

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*First Published: Nov 13, 2014, 12:06 pm CST