Facebook responded to user outcry over the site's more permissive and complex privacy settings by announcing new, simplified privacy controls that aim to give users more ownership over their personal information.
Providing these more straightforward and easy-to-use privacy settings is a good first step--but for these changes to be effective, Facebook users need to know what the new controls are, and how to use them.
We've put together a guide to five crucial new privacy settings every Facebook user needs to know and check, with instructions on how to access them and why they matter.
Check them out in the slideshow below, then tell us: What do you think of Facebook's new privacy controls? Are they enough or do they still fall short?
Do you want people to be able to locate and view a preview of your Facebook profile when they search for your name on a search engine? If not, it's crucial you disable your visibility on Public Search. As Facebook explains, "Public search controls whether things you've specifically chosen to share with everyone show up in searches on and off Facebook. It also controls whether people who enter your name in a search engine will see a preview of your Facebook profile." To access: Click Account-->Privacy Settings--> Applications and Websites --> Public Search
In an effort to simplify its privacy controls, Facebook has redesigned its "Sharing on Facebook" page to give users the option of tweaking their privacy settings with just a few clicks. What users are sharing, and with whom, is presented in a straightforward table, and with just a single click, you can limit your visibility to Friends only, Friends of Friends, or Everyone. Facebook has also provided a "Recommended" setting--but you shouldn't assume that because it's recommended, it's what you want. The "Recommended" setting is still rather open, and shares a considerable amount of information about you with "Everyone," including your status updates, photos, and posts; your bio information and education; and any family or relationship status you've listed. To access: Click Account --> Privacy Settings
Many protested Facebook's "Instant Personalization" feature when it first launched, and now Facebook is providing users with a way to disable it. As Mashable explains, Instant Personalization allows "websites like Pandora and Docs.com access some of your personal information and use it to instantly personalize your experience. Pandora, for example, will recommend streaming music stations built around artists you’ve Liked on Facebook in the past." If you'd rather not have your information used by different sites to customize your experience, you can turn it off. Keep in mind, however, it is on by default, so you'll have to opt out of the feature. If you try to uncheck the Instant Personalization button, Facebook will remind you that it offers a "richer, more connected experience." Certainly, the information you're sharing with the feature is, by and large, harmless, but if it makes you uncomfortable, you can easily turn it off (or back on, later!). To access: Click Account-->Privacy Settings--> Applications and Websites --> Instant Personalization
Here's one aspect of sharing on Facebook not everyone takes into account: You can share information about yourself, but your friends can also share information about you on the site. Facebook has renamed the privacy control "What your friends can share about you" and now refers to it as "Info accessible through your friends." Make sure you're comfortable with "what information is available to applications and websites when your friends use them." To access: Click Account-->Privacy Settings--> Applications and Websites --> Info accessible through your friends
There's certain "Directory Information" (like your name, profile picture, networks, and gender) that Facebook makes available to anyone searching for you on Facebook. However, you have the option to "significantly reduced the amount of information that is always visible to everyone," as Facebook explains. For example, you can restrict who can see your interests and pages, or who can view your education/employment information. To access: Click Account --> Privacy Settings --> Basic Directory Information