Facebook introduces pre-approved tagging to photos; adds new privacy features

facebook pre-approvalIt’s always been the case that anyone could tag a photo of you in the midst of whatever mayhem and debauchery you may have partook in at various points in your life. You’d still be able to remove the tag, but if you weren’t quick, not before friends, family, or even co-workers could have seen it.

Now, Facebook has announced you can change the settings on your profile so that all tags must be approved by you.

On Tuesday, Kate O’Neill, product manager for Facebook, said that the change is due to user requests. According to her, the pre-approval of photo tags has been the most requested change. The pre-approval process will also apply to tags in any written posts. You’ll also be able to pre-approve what others tag on your own photos and posts.

The changes will take effect starting Thursday.

Friends will still be able to upload photos of you, but you’ll have more control over whether your name will be attached to the images. The idea is that when it comes to search, it will be more difficult for people to find those embarrassing photos.

O’Neill also said that Facebook is working to make the process simpler for users to make changes to their privacy controls.  “We are making it easier for people to share what they want, every time (they) post,” she said.

Some of the changes allow for privacy controls to be included within profile pages, next to the information they share — previously, most of these controls were hidden away in the “account settings” page. In order to clear some confusion, posts can also be made visible to the “public” instead of to “everyone.” Facebook will also make the “view profile as” more prominent, so that users will be encouraged to explore how specific users can see their profile.

Many of these changes seem to be in response to criticisms that claim the company pushes its users towards disclosing interests and information to the public. The site’s privacy settings have also been troublesome for users in figuring out what settings apply to which part of their profiles.

Also in response to some of Google+’s features, Facebook will also be making it easier to share posts with specific groups of people. By way of a dropdown menu next to each post you make, you’ll be able to select “public,” “friends,” or a “custom” audience.

Another new feature will allow you to tag anyone on Facebook, even if you’re not friends with them. They still have to approve your request to tag before the photo appears on their profile.