Facebook makes privacy settings more central to new user sign-up flow

Facebook has introduced additional privacy controls and education to the sign-up flow for new users, the company announced today in a note on the site.

In-line privacy controls will allow new users to decide who can see their information from the moment they add it, rather than sharing things publicly by default and having to go back and change it. Facebook has also added tips throughout the process to explain what different settings mean and how some aspects of a user’s account, like the profile picture, are always public. The additional “privacy tour” walks new users through photo tagging, apps and other privacy-sensitive features.

These changes are important for Facebook to build trust among new users. When users feel confident that they can control who sees which posts and parts of their profile, they are more likely to share. The more users share, the more feedback they’re likely to receive from friends, and those Likes and comments are positive reinforcement that make users want to return to Facebook more often. When users share more, Facebook is also able to gather data that can make News Feed, ads and other aspects of Facebook more personalized and relevant.

Last year Facebook overhauled how existing users control their privacy on the site, bringing settings in-line with the content on their profiles and News Feed rather than on a dedicated privacy settings page. Users are now able to retroactively change the privacy setting of past posts and activity, as well as require pre-approval whenever they’re tagged in a photo, checkin or other type of post.