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Facebook Offers Users Privacy Controls

Users will now have the ability to share and restrict information based on specific friends or friend lists

networking privacy

Users will now have the ability to share and restrict information based on specific friends or friend lists, the company said.

A "Friends of Friends" privacy option will allow people to share information with people they are connected to through their friends.

The Palo Alto, Calif. company, started in 2004 as a networking for Harvard students, has spread to more than 67 million users.

Matt Cohler, Facebook's vice president of product management, said Tuesday the company was evolving beyond the simple privacy controls originally aimed at groups of college students. "We have a lot more users, a lot more types of users, a lot more relationships, we have a lot more types of relationships," Cohler said, Reuters reported.

Thus far, 25 percent of users control their privacy using Facebook's existing personal information settings, the company said in a statement.

Facebook ignited controversy last year when it allowed users to turn off a controversial feature called Beacon that monitors what Web sites they visit. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was criticized and later apologized for not responding sooner to privacy complaints. . Cohler said the company faces what he called a "classic Silicon Valley dilemma" between adding new features, making sure they are easier to use by the widest number of people, while also protecting members from unexpected personal revelations, Reuters reported.

In addition, the company confirmed recent reports it is working on a new instant messaging chat feature that runs inside Facebook, allowing users to hold spontaneous back-and- forth chat with their friends on the site, Reuters said.

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