SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook is trying to make its privacy controls easier to find and understand in an effort to turn the world's largest social network in to a more discreet place.
The fine-tuning announced Wednesday will include several revisions that will start rolling out to Facebook's more than 1 billion users during the next few weeks and continue into early next year.
The most visible, and perhaps most appreciated, change will be a new "privacy shortcuts" section that appears as a tiny lock on the right-hand side at the top of people's news feeds. This feature offers a drop-down box where users can get answers to common questions such as "Who can see my stuff?" and "How do I stop someone from bothering me?"
Other updates will include a tool that enables individuals to review all the publicly available pictures identifying them on Facebook and suggestions on how to request that an embarrassing or unflattering photograph be removed. Facebook also plans to plant a privacy education page at the top of its users' news feeds within the next month or so to help them better manage their online identities.
This marks the most extensive overhaul of Facebook's privacy controls in about 15 months.
The new controls are an implicit acknowledgement by Facebook that the nearly 9-year-old service hasn't always done the best job providing its users with easily accessible ways to corral the information and photos being posted on the website.
Facebook's critics suspect the social network deliberately obfuscated its privacy controls as part of a scheme to expose as much personal information as possible to help the company attract more advertisers.