The world's largest social networking site, Facebook, has decided to scrap Facebook's regional networks and the privacy settings that accompanied them, instead opting for a more general approach to privacy that will enable users to select individual privacy controls for each piece of content they create.
Following this move, thousands of Facebook users from India, who had opted for the "India" network when joining the social networking site, will have to revise their settings.
"We're adding something that many of you have asked for - the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload," wrote Mark Zuckerberg in a December 1 blog post.
"In addition, we'll also be fulfilling a request made by many of you to make the privacy settings page simpler by combining some settings." When the roll-out is complete, the 350 million people using Facebook will be able to change their privacy settings on a "post-by-post" basis.
Facebook began testing the new privacy settings with a limited test group in July, focusing on giving users more control over their settings while at the same time making the changes simple for them to understand.
Almost 50 per cent of all the 350 million-odd Facebook's active users are members of regional networks, "so this is an important issue for us", said Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg in an open letter to users.
Incidentally, the first version of Facebook was launched five years ago. Its current privacy model revolves around "networks" - communities for your school, your company or your region.
This worked well when Facebook was mostly used by students, since it made sense for a student to share content with their fellow students. Over time, networks were added for companies and regions as well. Today, Facebook has networks for entire countries, like India and China.