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Facebook's new privacy system: Pros and cons

The new Facebook privacy system is flexible and powerful, but the initial settings page appears written to hide it. Here's how to fix it.

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Rafe Needleman
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1 of 7 Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

You can't hide from this update

Facebook has made big changes to its privacy system, and you can't ignore them. If you haven't gotten this login blocker screen yet, you will soon.
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2 of 7 Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

Confusing new settings page

The new simple privacy settings page appears to want to take all your wall posts and photos and make them visible to everyone on the Web. You don't have to accept that.
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3 of 7 Rafe Needleman/CNET

There could be a better way

In this imagined screen, Facebook instead would only change your privacy settings if you explicitly asked it to. It also shows you that you don't have to give up all your personal data to the whole Web.
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4 of 7 Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

You're welcome

Facebook gives you some feedback when you finish the update.
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5 of 7 Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

There's still a lot of control

If you bypass the new settings page and drill into the real privacy settings, you'll find you still have a lot of very specific control over who sees what.
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6 of 7 Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

Fine-grained control in a post

One big benefit of the new privacy system: You can specify, for each post, who gets to see it. You can even specify who doesn't get to see something.
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7 of 7 Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

More than three levels

Facebook has explained its new privacy settings. But as noted in previous slides, the old, precise control is still there.

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