Facebook Plans 'Privacy Checkup' for Every Account

May 22, 2014 04:20 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma


The criticism that Facebook's privacy settings are too confusing seems to have gotten through to the world's biggest social network, which announced Thursday that each account would soon get a "privacy checkup."

Besides a review of each user's settings, Facebook will change initial privacy settings for new users so their posts can only be seen by friends, instead of automatically making them public, The New York Times reported.  

The privacy checkup seems to be in the form of the blue dinosaur pop-up box that some users noticed last month.

"They have gotten enough privacy black eyes at this point that I tend to believe that they realized they have to take care of consumers a lot better," Pam Dixon, executive director of the nonprofit World Privacy Forum, said of Facebook, as quoted by the Times.

For the new feature, a blue dinosaur will pop up with a message: "We just wanted to make sure you're sharing with the right people." The privacy review will take the user through settings for their status updates; applications that access their Facebook data; and settings for personal information like hometown, employer and birth date.

In the past decade, Facebook has rather infamously pushed its users to share statuses, photos and other information in public, and its privacy settings have become increasingly confusing. The site also recently introduced a nosy new feature that lets users request missing information on each other's profiles through an "Ask" button.

Mark Zuckerberg seems to be responding to the popularity of apps that protect user privacy such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Whisper.

"What we really want is to enable people to share what they want," Zuckerberg said in an interview last month, as quoted by the Times. "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 a recently introduced feature called "Nearby Friends," Facebook made sure that the location-sharing app was entirely optional, gave just the user's general whereabouts and worked only if both friends agreed to share their location.  

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