Facebook launches Groups – gives control to users on privacy settings

After a severe backlash in May earlier this year on the issue of privacy control, Facebook has made a comeback of sorts by announcing a slew of significant measures that will enable users to be in better control of their information and engagement with other users.

What, When, Where

Facebook announced key changes at an event at their headquarter Palo Alto, CA  at 10 am yesterday (late last evening – IST). The event was broadcast live on FacebookLive – the official live streaming channel for Facebook

How is Facebook going to be different – short and simple

  1. Facebook Groups – Move over mass status updates, targeted interaction with select groups of people is here
  2. Download Your Information – now you can take a back-up of all the information you have put up on Facebook
  3. Control what you tell the applications about yourself – you can now access what personal information you give out when you “Allow” an application access and what’s better edit it as per your privacy needs

More details about the Facebook changes

Facebook Groups

No more worrying about how your boss will respond to the vacation photos meant for your friends.

Information can now be relayed to only a group and a small segment of users, taking into cognizance, the issues people have, with sharing information to the entire network. People would now be encouraged to share information only with a set of friends. For example, if I have an issue with sharing information with my relatives, I could now filter and choose my audience. Lists were made available even earlier but but only 5% of users actually make lists. Users have the liberty to leave groups at point in time and then they must explicitly add themselves or approve themselves more visibly.

The groups facilitate ‘Group chats’. It behaves like the age old mailing lists and long running chain mails. It is also announcing a Graph API for the groups.The groups are equipped with additional features like the ‘docs’, which functions like a wiki. However, these documents are not rigorous enough and don’t expect it yet to have all features of Google docs. or Microsoft Office docs.They have also announced to release the mobile interface for groups.

You can watch the video demo below to know how the group feature would work and read more about it on Facebook blog

Take control, download your information from Facebook

Facebook now gives you more control over your information. Like Zuckerberg shares in his post – “If you want a copy of the information you’ve put on Facebook, you can click a link and easily get a copy of all of it in a single download”.

This feature which will roll out in a day will be available under account settings. For more, see the video demo below.

Applications Feature

Do you know what information you shared by accessing the like of  “How Popular Are You” quiz application?

Good news is now you will.

Facebook  has announced to launch a dashboard called “Apps that you use” which would show all the applications one has accessed, from the date of use. It would provide the users with a detailed access log of all API calls that are being made by applications under the privacy settings

The new changes are reflective of Facebook’s move from expansion to consolidation. Like the host of a big party, Facebook has realised that guests will start dropping out if the party continues in the central hall. Early hours are over.

It’s time to unlock other spaces for guests to mingle closely and ensure that the party continues till the wee hours.Interesting how this unlocking actually required the Facebook to do a “Lockdown”