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Facebook Learns from Google+ – Privacy Management Features Copied

facebook copies google

Facebook recently rolled out some big privacy changes that were quite obviously taken from Google+.

For those of you who have used Google+, you’ve probably noticed the granularity of their privacy controls- you can specify precisely who you would like each and every post to be visible to.

The privacy controls in Facebook however, have been very poor up until this point. Although Facebook previously featured some minor controls in regards to making your profile visible to only certain people, for the most part, it was all or nothing. Either somebody could see all of your profile information and all of your posts or they couldn’t see any of your profile information or posts.

All of that has changed now.

Facebook has implemented some major privacy changes that will definitely enhance how the service can be used.

Changes Made by Facebook in Response to Google+

  • Profile Visibility Options

For each item in your profile (marital status, religion, activities, etc.), you can specify exactly who can view the item.

The following profile visibility options are available to choose from:

  • Public

Visible to anyone on the web.

  • Friends

Visible to only your Facebook friends.

  • Only Me

Visible to only the owner of the profile.

  • Custom

You can specify exactly which people can or cannot see the item. For example, you can only make your marital status available to your significant other and family if you want.

  • Post Visibility Options

In addition to being able to specify who see specific profile items, you can also specify exactly who can see each individual Facebook status update that you post.

The visibility options available for Facebook status updates are as follows:

  • Public

Visible to anyone on the web.

  • Friends

Visible to only your Facebook friends.

  • Custom

You can specify exactly who can see each individual Facebook post.

  • Tagging Confirmations

Facebook has also made some updates to the photo tagging process. If you are tagged in a photo, you will now have to confirm the tag before it appears on your profile. This will avoid the problem of being tagged in a unwanted photo and having half of your friends view it before you untag yourself.

If you untag yourself in a photo you will also be given the option to send a request to the uploader of the image to remove it from Facebook altogether.

Implications of Facebook’s Privacy Updates

The implications of these privacy updates are very large. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am a big fan of Google+. One of the main reasons that I have been so excited about Google+, has been because of the privacy granularity allowed.

The recent changes to privacy in Facebook are copied – almost directly- from Google+.

Couple that with the fact that Facebook has over 750 million users, and you’ve got a social media platform that should be able to withstand the barrage of the new social sharing services hitting the market.

Internet Marketers

Facebook is now much more friendly to internet marketers who are looking to segment their markets. Facebook implemented a “lists” feature a few months ago that allows users to segment their “friends” into different lists (family, friends, work, etc.). Until now however, there was really no reason to use it because you couldn’t direct specific status updates to specific lists.

Now you can.

If you want to promote your business to your online acquaintances without spamming your real life friends, you can now do that.

There are still a few features of Google+ that Facebook doesn’t have, mainly in the re-sharing capabilities and the photo gallery implementation. In terms of privacy however, Facebook now rivals Google+ very closely.


In lue of these new privacy changes to Facebook, Google+ will have a more difficult time of differentiating itself from the most dominate social platform to ever hit the market. Facebook has now proven that they can and will react to new entries into the social media world.

It will be very interesting to see how services like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter innovate and improve their services to compete in the highly competitive market of social media and social sharing.

Anson Alexander

I am an author, digital educator and content marketer. I record, edit, and publish content for AnsonAlex.com, provide technical and business services to clients and am an avid self-learner. I have also authored several digital marketing and business courses for LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com).

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