Facebook follows Google around in Circles

Facebook has recently beefed up its security and privacy options, with an apparent nod to similar features recently launched on Google+.

The main change (or ‘steal’) is that you will now be able to select who is able to see your posts, photos and tags by selecting an option from a drop-down menu. For example, if a post is for your work colleagues then you will be able to select this and the post will not be seen by family or friends. You will be able to put your chums into co-workers and any Friend Lists that you’ve created. This is a rather similar (in concept rather than design) to Google+ and their clever ‘Circles’ brainwave.

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Previously Facebook’s privacy settings itself was too private…with many users unaware that it existed and could actually be changed!  The option was stupidly hidden away slightly within the site’s Account settings. However, the option has come out of hiding due to Facebook adding a “View Profile As …” button that appears “out in the open” at the top of the profiles for the user to have a fiddle about with.

Have you ever been tagged in an awful photo on Facebook? The answer to this question is probably a resounding “YES!” Thankfully now you can select a setting that will require you to approve or reject any photo or post in which you are tagged before it appears on your profile – meaning you can control the damage of those unfortunate drunken photographs that will only be seen by a few, rather than many. You have the options to remove the tag; politely ask the person to remove the photo; or even block the person who has tagged you.

Have they nabbed this bright privacy  idea from Google? Probably. But Google Plus is pretty much based on Facebook anyway, so they can’t really complain can they?  Nevertheless, this was a great idea by Google and has resulted in a good positive step forward for Facebook!

In other Facebook security news, the website has also begun promoting a guide to help keep their users safe. The irony is that it is in PDF format, which is a well known format for malware – but at least the idea is good! Facebook has become an effective stomping ground for hackers, with malware and viruses hiding in links and people giving too much info away to strangers. The guide is available here: https://www.facebook.com/safety/attachment/Guide%20to%20Facebook%20Security.pdf

Overall, it is good to see privacy and security on Facebook being put under the microscope and improved. Thank you Google Plus!

Andrew Parker is lead copywriter for leading computer forensics company Intaforensics.

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