Facebook Rolls Out New Functionality, Data Controls

Skype? Phone? Free lunches? Zuckerberg didn't 'splain

By RJ Middleton and Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, Oct 7, 2010  |  Updated 2:18 PM EDT
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PALO ALTO, CA - MAY 26: Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, holds a press conference at their headquarters, May 26, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg outlined Facebook's new privacy control methods. (Photo by Kim White/Getty Images)

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Facebook unveiled a series of new features designed to give users more control of their accounts and more easily communicate with their friends.

"What we’re actually talking about today is giving you more control," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at an an invitation-only event on its Palo Alto campus Wednesday.

The company outlined three major changes:

1) Download Your Information. This feature does just what it says: It lets users download all of their information -- personal data, pictures, videos, anything associated with your account. This way, you can see exactly what Facebook has on you. You can keep it if you choose to shut down your Facebook account, and you can post it elsewhere if you choose.

"We have at Facebook, what we like to call The Big Problem," Zuckerberg said. "One of the big challenges for us is making it safe and easy for people to take their information to other services.

"People own their information and they should be able to take it with them wherever they want and use it however they want, in a variety of social contexts. A lot of the time people just want to have a copy of all the information they’ve put in Facebook.

"This is a core thing for us. People need to be able to put their information into Facebook and then take it out."

2) New Dashboard. This allows users to more easily view and control of approved applications. So you can see exactly what information Farmville is accessing from your account and when applications accessed your information.

3) Groups: In real life, not all friends are created equal. Now, they don't have to be equal on Facebook, either. You can lump your friends in groups, and share different information with different groups.

"You have these different social circles and you want to interact with them in different ways," Zuckerberg said. "The reality is that for a lot of people 'just your friends' isn’t really private. And what a lot of people want to do is to be able to share among smaller groups within their friends.

"This isn’t just a problem with Facebook, but across all the applications in the ecosystem." 

Facebook Groups allows for shared space, group chat and e-mail lists for groups of friends.

You can get at the new features in Account Settings on your Facebook profile.

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