On Tuesday, Facebook announced several new features to help users more easily control their privacy settings. Most notably, a new "tag approval" system lets users reject or approve any photo in which they are ID'd before it appears on their profile page or in the newsfeed. Previously, users could tag friends in photos without their consent, forcing those friends to hastily "untag" unflattering or racy pictures. Given the growing success of Google+ — the search giant's fledging social network, which has been praised for its easy-to-use privacy controls — some are wondering if Facebook is trying to play catch-up. Is Mark Zuckerberg aping Google?
Nope. Facebook came up with this on its own: Our new photo-tagging controls are not a reaction to Google+, says Meredith Chin, Facebook's manager of product communications, as quoted by CNET. While I "really wish we could move that fast," we've been developing these new features for "the last several months" — and Google+ is just two months old.
"Facebook finally giving users more privacy control"
C'mon. Facebook is clearly feeling threatened by Google+: "Although Facebook executives have dismissed Google+ as a non-threat," says Colleen Taylor at GigaOm, "Facebook has certainly showed a renewed zest in shipping new products and features in the weeks since Google’s social network launched." The dueling social networks are now battling for customer loyalty and releasing great new features as fast as they can. That means "the real winners will be the millions of social media users across both platforms."
"Facebook pushes privacy with sweeping redesign"
And this is an obvious copycat case: Facebook's new features "sound a lot like" those that are already on Google+, says Matthew Lynley at Venture Beat. "Rather than sequester the privacy settings on a separate settings page away from the actual action on the site, Facebook is moving its privacy and sharing features straight to the main page." Wonder where they got that idea...
"Facebook’s new in-line privacy tools sound a lot like Google+"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
Subscribe to the Week