Facebook has announced that it is implementing new privacy controls beginning today that will give its more than 350 million users more control over the privacy of what they post to their Facebook pages. As reported, Facebook will now give its users the ability to set up lists that, for instance, can place their "friends" into separate groups such as family, high school buddies, and work friends and to choose who to share content with each time they post something. As a result, people easily should be able to choose to share family photos with only family and close friends and other less wholesome postings with whomever they choose. Of course, Facebook also will give users the option of choosing to share a post with "Everyone."
From an employment standpoint, these privacy control changes could make it more difficult for those employers who like to use Facebook as a surveillance tool. For instance, the employee who requested bereavement leave while he actually was on a hunting trip should be able to choose to post comments or photos without sharing them with the boss or co-workers who happen to be Facebook "friends." On the other hand, someone who posts a comment that is disparaging of or detrimental to his employer will have a hard time arguing that the comment was not intended to be widely distributed if he chose to share it with "Everyone" when he posted it.
As with all things social media, only time will tell what impact these changes will have on what we post and what is available for us to see on Facebook.