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Facebook Changes Default Privacy Settings

TMCnet Feature

May 28, 2014

Facebook Changes Default Privacy Settings

By Oliver VanDervoort
Contributing Writer

During its more than 10 year run on the Web, it seems as though Facebook (News - Alert) has made a habit out of annoying its users and acting slowly once the source of the annoyance is pointed out. Despite that fact, it should be said that Facebook does tend to act eventually when an annoyance is pointed out. The latest change in Facebook policy is the default privacy setting for users when they first sign up.

For years, the default setting for who can see Facebook posts has been “public.” The social media site has finally changed that so that only “friends” can see posts unless the user specifically decides they want anyone who is on the site to see them. The website has also implemented something called the “Privacy Checkup” where users can review and confirm their privacy settings. This checkup is geared to keep users from accidentally showing their messages and personal information to a larger audience than they ever intended.

Facebook Privacy Product Manager Mike Nowak admitted that, “A lot of us have had the experience of sharing something and unexpectedly having it be more broadly visible [than we desired].” Nowak compared this to when people accidentally hit “reply all” in an email chain. The manager says Facebook believes “oversharing is worse than undersharing.”

This is actually a bit of a change from the stated policy of the social media site in the last few years. In 2009, the social media giant began defaulting new users’ posts to a publicly visible setting. The default settings were part of the organization’s desire to have a more open and connected Internet. The company claimed that people shouldn’t have anything to hide. It turns out that even those who weren’t nervous about their privacy, should have been at least a little bit.

Now that Facebook has changed the default settings so that everyone has a little more privacy, they could actually see another rise in popularity. People who had been using the site less could come back, now that they know their privacy is being actively protected by the company.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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