Facebook unveils "groups," tightens user control

PALO ALTO, California (Reuters) - Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a series of tools to give users more control over their personal information and help them interact with smaller, select circles of friends.

The website, the world’s largest social networking service, has come under fire in past years for inadequate privacy controls. It will now let its half-billion-plus users access all their personal data and monitor which third-party applications have access to that.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg also told reporters that users will now be able to pool their friends in different groups or circles, and send messages to, or hold mass-chats online with, those groups.

That expands a feature already available on the website, which lets users create custom friend lists. But Zuckerberg said a mere 5 percent of Facebook’s users have availed themselves of that tool.

Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Steve Orlofsky