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Facebook gets down to Privacy Basics for simplicity's sake

The giant social network refreshes its data policy to make it shorter and less complicated, leading the way with a new how-to and tips guide.

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The main page for "Privacy Basics," a new tips and FAQ hub on Facebook. Facebook

Facebook is trying to share more about itself.

The world's largest social network, which has been knocked for failing to be transparent on how it gathers data on its users, said Thursday it is updating its data policy to make it shorter and clearer to understand. It's also rolling out "Privacy Basics," a Web page with interactive tips and guides on how to control your information on the site.

"Privacy Basics is the latest step we've taken to help you make sure you're sharing with exactly who you want," the company said Thursday.

Facebook is taking comments and suggestions about the changes until Nov. 20. The company plans to provide final updates after that.

Now with 1.35 billion active users, Facebook has routinely faced criticism for not properly disclosing how it tracks its users on its site and around the Web so it can package that information for advertisers. Users have complained about Facebook's confusing privacy policies and continuously changing privacy controls. The company is also subject to the terms of a 2011 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission under which it must receive explicit approval before sharing more users' privacy information than it already does.

The changes introduced Thursday don't alter how Facebook collects its data, nor do they affect user settings, but are a way for the company to tell people a little more clearly what it does with user information. Some of the changes are only available in certain regions.

The data policy was color-coded and put on one page, instead of broken up into several pages, and can be searched by basic questions, such as "How is this information shared?" or "How can I manage or delete information about me?" Additionally, Privacy Basics provides users with general information about Facebook features like untagging, unfriending and blocking.

The company also said people can make changes to which ads they want to see on one device and those changes will now apply on every device used to access a Facebook account.