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Facebook updates privacy settings for groups

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

By Martyn Landi

Facebook is updating the privacy settings for Groups on the social network, in a move the firm says will better clarify how the feature works.

The social networking platform said it was reclassifying the types of Groups that could be on Facebook from public, closed or secret to just public or private.

The firm said the change was to "better match people's expectations and help provide more clarity", but would still include options allowing users to decide how visible any Groups they manage are.

Facebook also confirmed that all of the Groups on its site would be subject to its proactive detection technology and would be monitored by the firm to "find and remove bad actors and bad content".

"As Mark Zuckerberg laid out earlier this year, social networks can serve as the digital equivalent of a town square or a living room. We know people have needs for both public spaces where you can share with a wide audience and private ones where you can share more intimately," Facebook Groups product manager Jordan Davis said.

"For Facebook Groups, people have historically been able to choose between being public, closed or secret settings for their group. To better match people's expectations and help provide more clarity, we're rolling out a new simplified privacy model for Groups - public and private.

"We're making this change because we've heard from people that they want more clarity about the privacy settings for their Groups.

"Having two privacy settings - public and private - will help make it clearer about who can find the Group and see the members and posts that are part of it. We've also heard that most people prefer to use the terms 'public' and 'private' to describe the privacy settings of Groups they belong to.

"Over the last year, we worked closely with global privacy experts and advocates who are working to raise awareness of how to better manage your information online. These experts provided us with key insights to help ensure that these new privacy settings are clearer and simpler to use."

Mr Davis said that Groups which had previously been "closed" would now be private but visible in search results, while previously "secret" Groups would now be private and hidden from searches.

Earlier this year, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg declared that "the future is private" as he announced plans to redesign several areas of the business in order to make communication between users more secure.

That followed several years of scandal for the firm, which has been the subject of a number of data privacy breaches.

The company has the subject of a number of investigations and inquiries and recently agreed to pay a £4 billion settlement to the US Federal Trade Commission over data protection lapses around the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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