Social networking site Facebook introduced a new set of privacy controls on Wednesday in an attempt to quell criticism that it was lax about protecting users’ personal information.

The new controls are featured in a streamlined privacy panel that allows users much easier management of who can access their information.

"We believe in privacy. We believe in giving people control," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said at a press conference to announce the overhaul.

"But more and more, people want to share information. As long as they have good control over that, I think that’s where the world is going."

The new settings feature a single control that limits who can see the content posted by a Facebook user, and allow users to control who sees their list of friends and their personal pages — information that was previously available to all Facebook users.

"We’ve heard that people want a simple way to take control of their information," Mr. Zuckerberg said. "We looked at a video someone posted about how many steps it took to stop sharing their information, and we thought, 'Yeah, that’s too much.'"

Facebook is making it easier for users to opt out of instant participation on Facebook's partner sites. Zuckerberg said users can quickly and easily choose a setting that won't allow their information to be shared with third-party websites. The sharing of content will also apply to Facebook products launched in the future, he said.

Criticism of Facebook has been building since December, when the company introduced new settings that automatically shared more user information unless users took convoluted steps to opt out. In addition to the company’s official policies, several security snags that allowed friends to snoop on users’ Facebook chats and see which partner websites they had been surfing.