Facebook trials new privacy tools

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Facebook is simplifying its privacy tools for users of the site.

A blog post from Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer, has outlined new features for the dominating social network that will reportedly make it easier to decide which information, if any, gets shared.

Kelly said: "The power to share is the cornerstone of Facebook. Privacy and the tools for tailoring what information is shared with whom are at the heart of trust."

"That's why in the coming days, we'll be improving privacy on Facebook by launching a series of tests that guide people to new, simpler tools of control and connection."

Normally every new feature of Facebook asks the user what privacy settings they want but this will now become standardised across the board and be available to see, and adjust, on just one page.

Kelly also promised that overlapping settings will be removed and combined to turn the process into "one decision" rather than several.

It will also launch a "Transition Tool" so each user can confirm what they want their privacy settings to be after the roll out.

These moves follow the launch of a beta last week called the "Publisher Privacy Control" so you can decide how you want each post to be displayed individually every time you chose to post something.

The new privacy features and Transition Tool will be tested by a small group of users over the coming weeks before the final version is rolled out.

Kelly said: "Our goal is to ensure that people understand the changes to our privacy settings and make choices that reflect their comfort level."

The announcement comes in the same week as the hiring of Richard Allan to lobby the EU government on issues such as privacy.

Facebook got in trouble earlier this year over privacy issues surrounding proposed new terms and conditions from the site but things settled once it put the rules to a vote for its users.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.