Facebook seems to update and change its privacy settings more often than Lady Gaga changes outfits. The outcomes for both are typically bizarre and confusing. Anyone who has had a Facebook account for more than five seconds can probably attest to these frequent and often frustrating “updates” that revamp and change users’ privacy settings.

But never fear: Most people feel as confused and annoyed as you when it comes to Facebook’s privacy controls. A November 2011 study from Posterous, conducted by Harris Interactive, shows the majority of Facebook users are not completely comfortable with Facebook’s privacy controls. On top of that, most also feel that personal posts, like family photos, are meant to kept relatively private.

Yet once Facebook update its privacy controls, often in the name of giving consumers increased control over their account, a user will undoubtedly have to delve deep into the dark recesses of his or her account to manually set the desired level of privacy. Otherwise, a user risks leaving Facebook’s default settings, which in the past have often erred on the side of sharing posts and photos that may be appropriate for your best friend to view, but not necessarily your boss’s cousin’s mom.

So what can you do? If you’re going to be on Facebook (or on any kind of social networking site), it is in your best interest to take the time and update your privacy settings manually. Don’t assume that your photos and posts are private until you have specifically selected the options that give you the level of privacy you want. Facebook now allows users to create filters that give only certain individuals access to particular kinds of posts. In effect, this helps limit the access other individuals (who perhaps you are not as close with) have to your personal photos and posts.

Facebook has increasingly come under fire for its confusing and sometimes misleading privacy controls. While they have taken steps to respond to this criticism and have allowed users to tailor their privacy controls to a much greater extent than before, the amount of time and patience required to manually update these controls can be just as frustrating. If Facebook is to continue as the behemoth of social media as it currently is, it will need to evolve and become more responsive to its users, who are currently becoming more sophisticated, and developing higher expectations, than ever before.

John Bradley Jackson
Entrepreneur, Professor, Author
Deja New Marketing
© Copyright 2011

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