Posting something dumb and embarrassing for the whole world to gawk at is basically a rite of passage on Facebook. Since 2009, the social network made public tomfoolery extraordinarily easy by defaulting its share settings to “everyone,” despite evidence that its users wanted otherwise.
That is now changing. Beginning today, Facebook is making the default post setting “friends” instead of everyone and anyone. “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,” writes Facebook in a blog post. “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.”
In that vein, Facebook is also rolling out a new “privacy checkup” diagnostic tool that walks social networking neophytes through their share settings. It’s designed to “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.”
Facebook is also redesigning its audience selector feature, to make who you’re sharing with less confusing and more obvious.
This is no minor tweak: It’s a 180-degree shift that flies in the face of a longstanding share-all ethos that spawned countless “how to protect your privacy on Facebook” articles all over the blogosphere, several on this website alone. Facebook is basically saying, “You guys were right. We were wrong.”
Which, after all, is better late than never.