Facebook Tests New Privacy Options

    June 24, 2009

Facebook’s approach to privacy may soon be modified in an interesting way.  A beta version of the site’s Publisher is allowing users to micromanage their settings, adopting a different approach to every photo album and status update if they please.

A post on the Official Facebook Blog explained, "If you have access to this beta version, every time you publish content into your stream you are able to control which people can access that specific piece of content.  After writing a status, uploading a photo or creating other content from the Publisher, use the lock icon in the lower-right corner of the Publisher to access the drop-down menu."

Beta Facebook Publisher

Then, users can pick from traditional lists of people including "Friends and Networks" and "Friends."  Or they can open up to the whole world with the "Everyone" option.

Facebook’s more business- and marketing-oriented users should appreciate this Everyone setting.  Its appearance marks a departure from the so-called "walled garden" approach that Facebook previously embraced.  At the same time, the other publishing alternatives might make the site more popular among the most privacy-obsessed crowds.

One important note: with regards to letting everyone play with the new options, the Facebook Blog post only said "we hope to expand this to more of you soon."