Today Facebook is rolling out a new set of more granular privacy controls to its 350 million members. Founder Mark Zuckerberg already announced the changes on December 1, but today they are going into effect.
For every status update, photo, video, or any other piece of content posted on Facebook, members will be able to choose exactly who they want to share it with. Their options will be: “Friends, Friends of Friends, Everyone and Customized.” Facebook is killing regional networks such as “New York” or “Silicon Valley,” which are too big and meaningless anyway.
The customized options will allow you to create Friends Lists so that you can share baby photos with family, inappropriate YouTube videos with just your college buddies, and your promotion news with your business friends. Facebook is also simplifying its privacy settings to make them less confusing in general.
Giving users the ability to select privacy settings on the fly should encourage more people to select “everyone” as the default for much of what they share on Facebook, since they can now easily select a more limited group to share with on a per-post basis. The more data that is made public on Facebook, the more that opens up opportunities for Facebook search and outside search engines in the future. Currently, Facebook search only brings up results from your own social network, not from everyone’s public posts on Facebook. And Facebook’s recent deal with Google is only for public posts from public fan pages, not personal accounts. But that may just be a first step towards broader Facebook search.