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Facebook privacy tweaks allow targeted status updates

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
14 December 2009

One of the less-publicised new features that rolled-out to all Facebook users this week, along with the much-talked-about new privacy settings is the ability to target your status updates to certain groups of people. Simply clicking on the little padlock icon that now shows up beneath the status update box brings up a plethora of options for how that (or all) updates are seen.

status-updates-1

The “everyone” tab is getting quite a lot of coverage, as this theoretically means that anybody viewing your profile – even if they aren’t your friend, or even logged in to Facebook – will see that status update. But the “customise” tab lets you specify who sees an update, right down to specifying a custom list of individual people who will see it.

A less honest person than me would see the opportunities that this presents… For instance, you could create a handy list of all your work colleagues and clients, and post an update along the lines of “Working hard for my favourite clients… I really love my job”, and then create another update seen only to their friends and families that says the exact opposite.

The potential mischief that could be created using this new feature seems pretty endless, though I’m pretty sure there will also be a massive influx of hilarious stories from people who have used this feature incorrectly or by mistake… And if, like me, you’re a fan of that kind of funniness, you can find loads of it on the Facebook Fail blog…

Whether or not the potentially fun uses of this new feature will out-weigh the potential privacy concerns is another matter, but for the time being it’ll be interesting to speculate (while looking through your friend’s status updates) which people are using this targeting, and which are not. All may not be as it seems…

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