What You Should Know About Recent Facebook Changes

5/19/2010

- Danielle Leitch, EVP, Client Strategy

There have been several recent announcements by Facebook regarding changes to their User Agreement, Account Settings (privacy related), Third Party Applications to enhance your connections with others and how users will engage with companies on the network.  In my opinion, some of these updates are worthwhile and welcome (data protection), some seem like they don't add any further value over what was offered before (like a page versus being a fan) and some are downright  invasive (new privacy settings, opt-out needed).  The latter has been the topic of numerous blog and wall posts, as well as tweets, mostly criticizing Facebook for going this route. Regardless of how we feel about these features, it is important to understand them and take action where needed.

Data Protection

New features offer better protection against account hijacking, to include:
* Protecting Your LogIn Data 
* Blocking Suspicious LogIn Attempts

Learn more here: http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=389991097130

Changes for Companies on Facebook

One of the bigger changes from these recent updates has been the treatment of users and how they interact with companies on the network.  It was previously established that companies would create a Page (versus an individual profile) and users would become "Fans" of the page.  Now, you still are able to create a Page for the company but users will now indicate if they 'Like" it as a sign of endorsement or connection to company.

In addition, a new introduction is Community Pages for people to engage on more general topics (i.e., cooking).  These "Communities" could open up some great opportunities for subject matter experts or service providers in related areas or "communities".

Learn more here: http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=382978412130

Privacy Settings

One of the more egregious updates for personal users is recent changes to the user agreement surrounding some of the privacy settings and how data from your account is being shared.  In my opinion, opening up this data to third party developers could lead for a very compromising situation, if you are posting things to your wall that you don't want everyone out there to see.  With Facebook's current set-up, the default setting for users exposes you in this manner.  A user must go in and adjust their settings to limit visibility into their wall posts. This is really important given a new website exploiting this option unbeknownst to many users.  (Disclosure: you are going to another website and the content may be offensive, as it searches Facebook Wall Posts)

To reduce any exposure on sites like the one referenced above, Facebook users can update their Account Settings.  In particular, look for the ' POSTS BY ME" section, which is likely at a current (default) setting of "Everyone".  The image below highlights where you make these account changes in Facebook - notice the drop down menu of other options to select from.


 

It is important users understand the various account settings within Facebook and each of their options, along with how these new changes may help (or hurt) you and your company.

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