Confused by Facebook? Meet its new Help Center

Facebook keeps adding features and tweaking its rules -- so here's how to figure it all out.

Facebook's new Help Center.

No one has ever accused Facebook of being easy to figure out -- particularly when it comes to understanding its privacy polices and just what is getting shared where and with whom.

So today brings Facebook's new Help Center, which it bills as having "improved tools to improve your Facebook experience." This is a major upgrade from Facebook's first Help Center, which was launched in 2007. And while any help section is standard fare for a Web service, it's important for Facebook to be extra clear as it amps up the ways it's using personal data to make money and please Wall Street.

The home page now features six topics, including a place to see what's new on Facebook, and a section called "Learn the Privacy Basics," which explains how sharing and controlling your information works.

The company also released a "support dashboard" designed to offer "more transparency in reporting."

While Facebook encourages its more than 900 million users to report content that violates its community standards -- including hate speech and bullying and harassment -- the company says users who file reports frequently complain that they don't know where those reports go or whether they were handled. This support dashboard let's users track the progress of a report.

Overall, this looks helpful, but be forewarned: If you really want to understand what Facebook is up to and how things work, this is no quick read -- and it'll only grow as Facebook keeps adding features.

About the author

Paul Sloan is editor in chief of CNET News. Before joining CNET, he had been a San Francisco-based correspondent for Fortune magazine, an editor at large for Business 2.0 magazine, and a senior producer for CNN. When his fingers aren't on a keyboard, they're usually on a guitar. Email him here.

 

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