Looks like Facebook is finally getting serious with user privacy on the network. The world’s most popular social network, in a latest blog post, has announced that it is changing the default privacy setting for new status updates from Public to Friends. From now on new users will now see that their first post is set to the Friends option.
Besides it is introducing a new and expanded Privacy Checkup for people already on Facebook. Facebook states that:
“While some people want to post to everyone, others have told us that they are more comfortable sharing with a smaller group, like just their friends. We recognize that it is much worse for someone to accidentally share with everyone when they actually meant to share just with friends, compared with the reverse.
So, going forward, when new people join Facebook, the default audience of their first post will be set to Friends. Previously, for most people, it was set to Public.”
From now on first time posters will see a reminder to choose an audience for their first post, and if they don’t make a choice, it will be set to Friends. However, users can change who they are posting to at any time, and can change the privacy of their past posts too.
For existing users, over the next few weeks Facebook will bring out a new and expanded privacy checkup tool, which will take people through a few steps to review things like who they’re posting to, which apps they use, and the privacy of key pieces of information on their profile. In short Facebook will educate you and provide options to make your privacy strong on the network and in a way better the experience.
Privacy, for the first time, moves from Facebook’s hands to the hands of the user.
The move is a rational one but it has taken Facebook five years to implement or rather understand the importance of user privacy on a network. While Facebook fan boys might be proud of the move but this will lead to a new problem for the social network. Verge points out that,
“Giving users the option between sharing publicly and with their friends list is like giving someone the choice between yelling from the top of a mountain and yelling in their town square. Both audiences are quite general — especially considering that for many people, their Facebook friends list is a list of everyone they’ve met since they joined the site. But perhaps not for many of Facebook’s newest users.”
One thing is evident – Facebook is working hard to improve the user experience on the platform, even though it still leads as a social network. It can’t afford users leaving for newer platforms for problems like privacy.