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Facebook changes privacy settings following public pressure

Facebook has responded to public feedback by changing its default privacy setting for all new users to ensure that people cannot accidentally over-share content.

Prior to sending their first post, a new user will be asked to choose an audience and if no decision is made, the default will be set to 'Friends'. However, this change will not affect the site's 1.28 billion existing users, who will be prompted to complete a "privacy check-up" when they next log in to the site.

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A statement from Facebook said, "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."

The default privacy setting was first set as 'Public' in 2009, leading to concerns from the public and widespread criticism from privacy campaigners.

This eventually led to a settlement being made with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, where Facebook agreed to independent reviews of its privacy practices.

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Facebook does appear to be making a concentrated effort to persuade users about its commitments to privacy, such as by introducing a privacy mascot, dubbed 'Zuckersaurus,' which takes the shape of a blue dinosaur.

This was followed up at the company's f8 conference earlier this month, when CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new service that allows users to log in to sites anonymously.