Facebook has made drastic changes to its privacy controls that will give its 1.3bn users more control over their information and default new users posts to be more private.
The change comes as privacy concerns are rising among internet users and private sharing services such as Snapchat and WhatsApp are becoming increasingly popular with younger generations of users.
“We recognise that it is much worse for someone accidentally to share with everyone when they actually meant to share just with friends, compared with the reverse,” Facebook said in a statement following the social network’s annual shareholder meeting.
The announcement came after auction site Ebay suffered one of the largest data breaches in history on Wednesday, causing the site to urge its 128m users to change their passwords.
Facebook’s decision was seen as dramatic for a company that has long encouraged its users to be ever more public with the sharing of their personal information.
Facebook said that the status updates that new users post would now be viewable only to friends by default, instead of viewable by the general public as had previously been the case.
Facebook users will continue to be able to customise their settings so that status updates can be seen by as big or small an audience as they want.
Facebook also announced an “expanded privacy checkup tool” that will be rolled out to existing users over the next few weeks, to take them through a number of steps in order to remind them who they’re posting to and who can see various bits of personal information on their profiles.
In February, Facebook announced its plans to acquire WhatsApp, and its 500m monthly active users, in a deal worth $19bn (£11.26bn).