Facebook has introduced three stages of privacy settings to finally migrate away from its old network-based privacy model.

After months of criticism over the changes made to privacy settings by the social networking site, including in the previous weeks when users have begun to volunteer to quit the site, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally announced the simplified changes last night.

In a blog posting on Facebook, Zuckerberg claimed that when it was originally started it had ‘almost no features' and ‘there were no status updates, photo albums or messages' and ‘there was no News Feed or Platform'. Users were able to see basic information about the user, and the rest of their information was only visible to people in their networks and to their friends by default.

This has led it to introduce various privacy settings over time, and the changes led to user concern about what was available to be seen by other users and what was available outside the website and on search engine results.

Zuckerberg said: “Since then, you have sent us lots of feedback. We've listened carefully in order to figure out the best next steps. We recognise that we made a lot of changes, so we really wanted to take the time to understand your feedback and make sure we address your concerns.

“The number one thing we've heard is that there just needs to be a simpler way to control your information. We've always offered a lot of controls, but if you find them too hard to use then you won't feel like you have control. Unless you feel in control, then you won't be comfortable sharing and our service will be less useful for you. We agree we need to improve this.”

The new changes focus on three areas: a single control for your content, more powerful controls for your basic information and an easy control to turn off all applications. The single control platform allows users to set who can see posted content - everyone, friends of friends or just a user's friends.

Zuckerberg said: “This control will also apply to settings in new products we launch going forward. So if you decide to share your content with friends only, then we will set future settings to friends only as well. This means you won't have to worry about new settings in the future. This single control makes it easier to set who can see all your content at once, but you can still use all of the same granular controls we've offered if you'd like.”

The second control reduces the amount of basic information that must be visible to everyone, and sees Facebook remove the connections privacy model. Zuckerberg said that now it will be giving users the ability to control who can see a user's friends and pages, and these fields will no longer have to be public.

He said: “The controls for this basic information can be found at the top of the privacy page in Basic Directory Information. We recommend that you make these settings open to everyone. Otherwise, people you know may not be able to find you and that will make the site less useful for you.”

The third introduction makes its simple to control whether applications and websites can access any of a user's information. This will make sure that no personal information is shared with applications or websites.

Zuckerberg said: “If you simply want to turn off instant personalisation, we've also made that easier. Already, partner sites can only see things you've made visible to everyone. But if you want to prevent them from even seeing that, you can now easily turn off instant personalisation completely.”

Zuckerberg closed by saying that Facebook will continue to listen and respond to user feedback, but after these changes it was now done migrating away from the old network-based privacy model.

He said: “There have been a lot of changes over the years as we've continued to innovate, and I appreciate that you have all stuck with us. Each time we make a change we try to learn from past lessons, and each time we make new mistakes too. We are far from perfect, but we always try our hardest to build the best service for you and for the world. So I just want to say thanks.

We'll be rolling out these changes to all of you over the next few weeks. You can always check out the
new privacy page, which explains how the settings will work. When you get the new controls, please play around and find the settings that feel best for you.”