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Facebook's Newest Update Gives You Total Control Over Privacy

Facebook is really taking this privacy thing seriously. We told you that Mark Zuckerberg posted an open letter last week saying that Facebook would be changing how it handled privacy settings, and now those changes are going live.

First, and perhaps most importantly, each individual post now made to Facebook will have individual privacy controls. That means you can safely complain about your job -- as long as you remember to hide the update from your boss. In addition, the unwieldy regional networks are getting the boot, though the narrower networks based on schools and employers will remain. Then there is the Transition Tool, an app that will help users navigate the new privacy settings, explain how it works, and make suggestions for what to share with whom. As a companion to the Transition Tool, there is the Privacy Center -- a dumping ground for all things privacy related on Facebook. Here, users will be able to explore the underlying principles of Facebook's privacy policies and controls.

Of course, Facebook wasn't always considered a friend to Internet privacy. Its Beacon advertising program, which let third-party Web sites publish "stories" to people's news feeds, drew significant fire after its debut in 2007. In fact, within a year it was the target of a class action lawsuit that also named Blockbuster, Fandango, and Zappos amongst other as defendants. That suit was finally settled yesterday and officially marks the end of the Beacon program, and hits Facebook for $9.5 million in fines, which will be used to fund a non-profit that promotes online privacy and security.

Perhaps Facebook has learned it's lesson though. The new tools, as well as the updated and simplified privacy settings page, offer much more fine-grained control over privacy settings than those found on other Web sites. The new setting page, and the Transition Tool will be rolled out to users throughout the day. While we expect the usual moaning and complaining from the Facebook faithful, we're excited to have better control over who we share our information with. [From: Facebook and PC World]

Tags: facebook, privacy, privacy center, privacy tools, PrivacyCenter, PrivacyTools, security, top, transition tool, TransitionTool