Facebook set the default sharing setting to private for new members.
Facebook on Thursday reversed a 5-year-old decision to make the default sharing setting for new members public.
From now on, those who join the social network will find their postings automatically set to "friends." First-time posters will see a reminder to choose an audience for their first post. If they don't pick one, it will go to "friends." Facebook made the change, it says, to protect users from oversharing. "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 company wrote in a blog post.
The decision comes as Facebook over the last year has moved to become more of a player in real-time conversations with hashtags and a trending topics list. Facilitating such conversations require more users to make public posts to reach critical mass. Facebook hasn't released figures about its ratio of public-to-private posts, but Consumer Reports' research in 2012 found 28% of Facebook users make all their posts public. A rep for the company says it is responding to feedback from users.
Facebook made "public" the default for new users in 2009. "Friends" is the default for users aged 13 to 17.
The company also plans to roll out a new Privacy Checkup tool which will remind users about their privacy options: