More than four years after introducing photo tagging, Facebook will finally offer the ability to block embarrassing tags from your profile. Which is a good thing, because now anyone can tag you.
"One of the top requests we've heard is for the ability to approve these tags before they show up on your profile," Facebook said in announcing the new photo blocking feature. You'll have to go out of your way to activate blocking. Once you do, a handy "pending posts" section will appear at the top of your profile, showing unapproved content, including photos of yourself that other people have tagged. Such posts used to appear on your profile immediately, requiring eternal vigilance to swiftly delete them. Facebook is also taking other steps to make privacy easier, in some cases moving controls forward from the bured "Privacy Settings" menus right onto your profile. You can, for example, adjust the privacy for your favorite music in the same place where you list your favorite music, and you can set the privacy for a status update in a menu right next to the "post" button.
These are commendable changes, even if they appear to have been inspired by the rapid growth of rival social network Google Plus, where a clear privacy system is the hallmark feature. The controls are especially welcome because Facebook announced today that strangers will be allowed to tag you in pictures and other content. But then any privacy enhancement from Facebook is bound to be two steps forward, one step back. That's how they roll.