New users will no longer bear the burden of sharing their online identities with every Facebook user. The new policy update provides a “friends only” option.

Facebook has changed its user privacy rules for new users, allowing them to have greater control over what personal data they share with others on the 1-billion user network.

The former new user privacy policy was established to force users to share statuses, phone numbers, and even their birthdays with not just friends and personal networks, but even other public users who weren’t part of their networks. It seems that this tactic was designed to help Facebook further compete with social media network Twitter, a site whose setup prides itself on the sharing of social media content publicly. Facebook has boomed since its early days, and it’s possible that the Zuckerberg company feels a bit more comfortable with maintaining its user base. It’s easy to see why Facebook would relax its privacy policies now rather than earlier.

Facebook’s revision of its own privacy policies comes not too long after the company announced more privacy policy enhancements at the company’s F8 developer conference. It was there that Facebook told its developers that users would now be allowed to decide what information they wanted to share (such as birthday, but not phone number, gender, but not birthday, etc.) without being forced to share every piece of information with developer apps. “If users aren’t comfortable with user privacy policies,” Zuckerberg said, “they’re less likely to use your app.” In addition to stronger user privacy controls, which is bound to be a huge plus for the social networking site, Facebook also announced the creation of a new anonymous log-in that won’t require users to log into Facebook each time they view something online.

Facebook’s user privacy policy enhancements will benefit its 1-billion user base to be sure, but the company may be doing this for a larger crowd: the world. The Mark Zuckerberg company recently purchased drone manufacturer company Ascenta and is teaming up with other companies to bring internet service worldwide to unreached, potential Facebook users. Its rival, Google, purchased drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace around the same time and bid for the company as a result of hearing about Facebook’s bid in the contest. Google has decided to pursue a different course of action from Facebook and will utilize its Project Loon initiative to bring internet to worldwide citizens. Google+ social network founder Vic Gundotra left Google earlier this Spring, and Google+ will no longer compete with Facebook in the social media space.

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