For new users, Facebook now puts privacy first

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Facebook has made some changes to privacy, and this time, they’ll be most important for the 5 million citizens of Earth who don’t already have Facebook accounts.

Starting today, new users signing up for new accounts will get the low-down on online privacy from the very start. Facebook has made the information more prominent and more detailed, with specific information on the topics most relevant to individual privacy.

In a post on the subject, Facebook says the new signup flow is the result of requests from and work with regulatory agencies, including the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s Office, which oversees Facebook’s activity outside Canada and the United States.

In addition to showing users how to adjust their default privacy settings, the new signup flow will also ask new users to select how information gets shared on their Timeline from the start.

Users will be educated about who and what can access their data, including Open Graph sites and apps and Facebook games; and they’ll get a primer on sharing and tagging, those quagmires of inadvertent embarrassment online. Users will also get information on how ads are targeted on Facebook.

Here’s a sneak peek at the new signup process:

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Facebook’s been through the ringer when it comes to consumer privacy, especially in Europe. This time last year, the social network was facing big fines in Ireland for retaining user data long after accounts and content were deleted. And a couple months ago, German authorities said the network’s facial-recognition features for photo tagging we breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law.

Facebook officially settled its FTC privacy suit in the U.S. in August.

On the other hand, as Facebook grows as a company and as an online community, it’s taking more initiative to ensure better user privacy controls. A year ago, the company did a corporate reorg that brought two high-ranking privacy experts onboard. New privacy education and streamlined controls were created as a direct result.

And back in September, the company rolled out an easy-to-use plugin for seeing activity and controlling audiences on Facebook.

Top image courtesy of Sergey Peterman, Shutterstock


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