If your like millions of Facebook users you probably aren’t aware exactly who is seeing your photos, birthday, mobile phone number and other information you’ve choose to put on the site. Following business pressures and mounting concern over the complexities of its privacy settings, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced today that it would be providing a privacy checkup to each of its roughly 1.28 billion users.
Facebook protecting new users
Additionally, the Menlo Park, Calif. based company will change the default settings for new users. This will be done by initially setting their posts to only be seen by “friends”, and will explain that by reconfiguring this to “public” will allow anyone on the Internet with the know-how to view all of their information.
This is nothing short of a 180 degree turn for the company and will certainly shock millions as they see just what they have been sharing with the online world. Over the last ten years, the company has regularly encouraged users to share more information with others. No, that’s not enough, on a few occasions the company has forced its users to share more than they might like.
The rise of apps that protect privacy
Mr. Zuckerberg is no fool, and he’s seen first hand following the Snowden affair that Internet users, especially younger ones, value their privacy. Zuckerberg went so far as to purchase WhatsApp which is big on privacy and was rebuffed on a $3 billion offer for Snapchat an app that has grown increasingly popular due to its high regard for privacy.
“What we really want is to enable people to share what they want,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in an interview last month. “People read a lot of the stuff that we do as if we are trying to somehow get people to share more things, but all the core innovations are around giving people the tools they need to be comfortable.”
In addition to this move making people more comfortable, it may also protect Facebook from growing calls by regulators, especially in Europe, to work on protecting its users and may even see it dodge a few lawsuits.