After years of constant criticism for not offering sufficient granular controls for managing privacy, the world's largest social network is finally delivering a more clear understanding of privacy for its users.
The initiative is called Privacy Basics, and provides a fully interactive website to educate users on the many ways to control access to content, manage site interactions and tweak what advertising reaches the News Feed.
The site, available here, opens with a clear "You're in charge," and has three key areas of explanation: What Others See About You, How Others Interact With You, and What You See.
Beyond controlling what appears in the News Feed, the big impact for marketing will be on how users control advertisements on site. The network emphasizes the importance of keeping all parties happy, especially given the growth in cross-device usage:
We've heard from some of you that it can be difficult to control the types of ads you see if you use multiple devices and browsers. In the past, if you opted out of certain kinds of advertising on your laptop, that choice may not have been applied for ads on your phone. We know that many people use more than one phone, tablet, or browser to access Facebook, so it should be easy for you to make a single choice that applies across all of your devices.
That's why Facebook respects the choices you make about the ads you see, across every device. You can opt out of seeing ads on Facebook based on the apps and sites you use through the Digital Advertising Alliance. You can also opt out using controls on iOS and Android. When you tell us you don't want to see these types of ads, your decision automatically applies to every device you use to access Facebook. Also, we're now making our ad preferences tool available in additional countries, beginning with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the UK.
While some advertisers may cringe at allowing users to opt out across all devices, the integration of granular ad control in each advertisement is definitely a user-first move that will actually increase satisfaction with the platform.
Users can fully opt out of ads from specific brands, which ultimately means that advertisers should deliver better ads to fewer people who care more and are more likely to be customers. Advertisers must be more savvy when targeting ads so that the ad's content and imagery fit the selected demographics.
Facebook users will also be able to select categories under ad preferences, so that they have control over the areas of interest to them. Again, this is great for the users (the majority of which have accepted advertising as part of the Facebook experience) as they receive more enjoyable advertising while also making the users more valuable to Facebook as they can show opted-in users by category.
The social network is also soliciting user feedback to proposed privacy changes in a bid to increase engagement on privacy and preempt further restrictive regulatory action by governments.