Facebook Adds Tools to Help Its Members Manage Data

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is adding controls to help users manage what information is shared and who sees it on the world’s largest social-networking service.

New privacy shortcuts will be introduced in the coming weeks that allow users to tweak settings from the home page instead of having to click to other parts of the site to make adjustments, said Samuel Lessin, director of product at the Menlo Park, California-based company. Facebook is also making changes to the activity log, which lets users see what they have posted on the service and manage content.

“We’re basically helping people understand what’s out there, and to take the action that is appropriate,” Lessin said in an interview.

Facebook is stepping up efforts to improve privacy settings as it comes under scrutiny from regulators and users about how it handles personal information. Last month, consumer groups including the Center for Digital Democracy criticized Facebook for changes to the company’s governing documents, such as ending votes for users on proposed privacy changes.

As part of the new changes, Facebook is trying to better inform users of where information might show up with notices, according to an e-mailed statement. That will include showing messages that explain how something hidden on Timeline -- a profile that shows activities on the site -- may still appear in News Feed, for example.

In addition, the activity log is getting revised navigation and management tools. It’s also providing a new way for requesting removal from multiple photos in which users have been associated with, or “tagged.” With the new tool, users can more easily ask friends to take down the pictures they don’t like, Facebook said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net