Those signing up from now on will, by default, have their photos, statuses and posts shared only with friends. Until now, the posts were programmed so they could be seen by anyone on the internet unless the user took steps to change that.
A blue cartoon dinosaur will pop up in the feed of current users to remind them to check their privacy settings. The feature is designed to remind people how widely they share posts, what apps they use and other privacy issues.
The privacy check-up will be flagged up to the site’s 1.3 billion users.
Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the move is part of Facebook’s commitment to “loving the people we serve” and called it a “symbolic shift”.
He told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Menlo Park, California: “We think this is taking our responsibility seriously to make sure people have control over who they are sharing with.
“Over time, we think that is going to serve everyone who is using Facebook better and help us achieve our long-term goals.”