How To Tweak Facebook’s New View for Privacy

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Facebook can be a great tool for web workers, but if you’ve “friended” both professional and personal contacts, you need to be careful about how much information you’re sharing.

Last week, Aliza wrote about the new profiles that Facebook is rolling out. As she noted, the new profile layout displays tagged photos of you prominently, and you don’t have complete control over which images are displayed. You can choose to stay with the old profile format for now, although once you’ve switched, you can’t go back. But even if you choose to stay with the old layout, anyone who’s moved to the new profiles will see your page in the new layout.

On the left is my profile in the old format, as I’m seeing it. On the right is my profile in the new format, as a friend is seeing it.

To stop inappropriate photos being displayed prominently on your profile page, you may want to change who can see photos of you that others have tagged. The settings are not easy to find.

  1. In the menu at the top right, go to Account -> Privacy Settings.
  2. Now click on the small “Customize settings” text link near the bottom of the screen.
  3. Now scroll down to the line that says “Things others share, Photos and videos I’m tagged in” and click the “Edit Settings” button.
  4. In the pop-up screen, look for “Who can see photos and videos I’m tagged in”, and click the down arrow in the button.
  5. Select the setting you wish, probably “Friends Only”.
  6. Click the “Okay” button to save your changes.

If you want to limit further who can see tagged photos, it can be done, but the process is even more complicated. To start, you’ll want to assign your friends to groups like “Personal” or “Business” as I described a few months ago. Now you can deny that group access to your tagged photos. Follow steps 1-4 above, then in step 5, select “Customize”. This will bring up the “Custom Privacy” box. In the “Hide this from these people” box, type the name of the group you want to deny access to. Select it and click “Save Setting”.

As Aliza noted, the new Facebook profiles may be meant to encourage more business use. But Facebook’s Byzantine privacy controls are unlikely to encourage the service’s use by professionals.

Have you moved to Facebook’s new profile page?

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