A New Website Finally Gets Your Facebook Privacy Under Control

Because Facebook privacy settings are still buried under piles of menus and buttons, the social network released an interactive new tool called Privacy Basics that simplifies the site's many privacy tools into one easy-to-understand instructional guide. Who sees your stuff? How do others interact with you? What do advertisers have access to? Facebook's new tips and tricks guide walks users through the answers to those questions and more.

The Privacy Basics site is a part of the new initiative to inform users how exactly their information on Facebook is being managed. Facebook is revamping its terms and conditions by cutting down its privacy policy from 9,000 words to a mere 2,700. The company's new guidelines are meant to be easily understood by real humans, not lawyers.

In a blog post about the updated terms, chief privacy officer Erin Egan broke down how Facebook uses its own users' data. Location, for example, is utilized for features like Nearby Friends. Battery life and signal strength data are also used to optimize mobile app performance, Erin claims. As far as advertising goes, Facebook still asserts that it helps advertisers target certain user demographics without actually divulging any information about its users. In terms of controlling what ads you see, the site is changing its policies so that ad preferences are carried across devices. If you decide that you don't like what you see on your phone, that ad type won't appear on Facebook's desktop site either.

The most interesting update from Erin's post wasn't about privacy at all. It was the announcement of a new "Buy" button that will allow customers to purchase items without leaving Facebook.

There's a lot happening under the hood at Facebook. The company is taking comments and suggestions until Nov. 20, when it plans to finalize its policy updates, so air your grievances now. Now that Facebook's made it simpler than ever — time to buckle down your online privacy!