How To Video
Navigate Facebook's new privacy paradigmOnce again, Facebook has changed its privacy settings. Unlike the last time this happened, today's improvements are a mixed bag, generally easier to use but not as simple as they could be. Oh, and there's a couple of curveballs thrown in, so watch for...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:10 >> Once again, Facebook has changed its privacy settings. Unlike the last time this happened, today's improvements are a mixed bag. I am Seth Rosenblatt for CNET. And in this how-to, I'll be showing you how to navigate the rocky shoals of Facebook's new privacy settings. First, let's take a look at the old settings, because when you compare them side by side, it appears that the new ones are much easier to navigate. The old is a text wall of options from which you need to click through to get to even more options. The new is a clean, easy-to-read chart, but don't let that deceive you. Not all privacy settings accessed here get equal weight. To get to the settings, go to the account tab on the upper right of your Facebook page, and then hit privacy. Your new settings are automatically based on your previous ones. If you did any tweaking in the old system, they'll be imported as custom settings on the left and other on the chart. Also on the left are several preset options -- Everyone, Friends of Friends, Friends Only, and Recommended. It's no accident that the recommended settings are in fact the second most permissive ones on the list. Now, you can customize your privacy by hitting the small customized text link below the chart. The customized page looks like the text-heavy list of drop-downs from the older settings, but it does unify all those previously disparate settings in one place. Some things are new here, such as Edit Album Privacy and Tagline Wall Posting. Everyone means that all Facebook users can see your info, while Friends Only is the most restrictive, except that this being Facebook, it's not the most restrictive. If you choose Customize, you can further restrict your privacy settings to either specific friends or just yourself. Still, most major privacy tweaks are now on this one page. Blocking Apps is a big new feature, but Facebook decided to be a little clever with it. Instead of making it as easy as possible to adjust Facebook app settings -- for example, they could have just made sliders to control everything -- you have to click on a text link below the Main Settings chart to adjust apps. It shows you what you've approved and, through another text link, allows you to selectively remove or block all apps. Game activity gets Facebook's standard four options, but the info option here is ridiculous. It refers to your information that your friends' apps can access through their profiles. It's a back door for apps that you have no control over getting at your data. No, really, really. I recommend marking all these off, because if you don't, the only other way to do it is to kill all app access, which includes useful apps such as Facebook on your Smartphone. Instant personalization is a new feature that lets Facebook's partner sites get at your data that you've allowed everyone to see. Thankfully, this is set by default to off -- for now. The Public Search option is slightly less customizable than it was under the old privacy settings. The old settings split Facebook search from public search engine queries. But now you can only toggle the public search engines option. The new privacy settings definitely take a step in the right direction, organizing the settings under a more comprehensible scheme. There are serious flaws, though, such as the information that's accessible through your friends. And perhaps worst of all, there's no way to block those damnable Farmville and Mafia Wars updates. So until somebody makes those games an offer they can't refuse, these are your best bets for how to manage your new Facebook privacy settings. For CNET, I'm Seth Rosenblatt.