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Facebook amends privacy features

Seeks to calm nervous users; offers one-stop panel for personal info management

The privacy control panel will be accessible through a single shortcut.
The privacy control panel will be accessible through a single shortcut.

Facebook Inc yesterday began implementing a series of privacy controls in an attempt to alleviate users' fears for the security of personal data, Reuters reported.

The new facilities will allow Facebook's 1 billion members to review photos, comments and profiling data pertaining to them that is displayed across the world's largest social network. Users will also be able to request removal of any photo in which they appear.

Also amended are the conditions under which apps can access personal data and send messages on behalf of a user. Where previously users would agree to both actions with a single click, apps will now be required to submit separate requests.

The privacy control panel, accessible through a single shortcut, is the latest in a long line of changes to Facebook's privacy tools, which have drawn a wave of criticism over their usability.

"When users don't understand the concepts and controls and hit surprises, they don't build the confidence they need," said Facebook director of products Sam Lessin.

In the past, user confusion over what personal information is seen by others has led to clashes between Facebook and the US Federal Trade Commission. In April the social media firm reached a settlement with the trade agency that required consultation with users before the sharing of personal data. Facebook is also subject to 20 years of independent audits as part of the arrangement.