Finding out the first few posts to Facebook have been published before the world's eyes can spook new users back behind the shrinking shelter of anonymity, but Facebook is tweaking its feature set to protect the privacy of brand new recruits. It also is offering free privacy checkups for existing users.

By default, the accounts of new Facebook users are set to publish posts to friends only. So now, there should be less frantic rushes for new users to unearth and stake old posts in the heart after finding out how Facebook's privacy setting work, explains Facebook, sort of, in a blog post.

"So, going forward, when new people join Facebook, the default audience of their first post will be set to Friends," states Facebook. "Previously, for most people, it was set to Public. First-time posters will also see a reminder to choose an audience for their first post, and if they don't make a choice, it will be set to Friends. People can change who they are posting to at any time, and can also change the privacy of their past posts, too."

Existing users unsure if their privacy settings are in poor health can let Facebook give their accounts an examination, thanks to the Privacy Checkup tools the social networking site is rolling out -- users can also search out old posts with the help of a separate update Facebook recently deployed.

The first phase of the examination looks at audiences and enables users to set the visibility of the content they share, while the second part of the checkup presents individuals with a listing of their Facebook apps.

Finally, the Privacy Checkup tool looks over the user's profile and shows who can see what. Users, for example, can set items such as location to "private" to keep away exes or to public to connect with others in their cities.

"We want to do all we can to put power and control in people's hands," states Facebook. "This new tool is designed to help people make sure they are sharing with just the audience they want. Everything about how privacy works on Facebook remains the same."

Users who've been burned in responses to critical posts from people not on their friends list may struggle to get over the resulting apprehensiveness and timidity, but Facebook's latest update stands to facilitate more sharing. With users sure of the audience for their posts, that apprehensiveness will fade in some. The result, Facebook hopes, is more sharing.

"While some people want to post to everyone, others have told us that they are more comfortable sharing with a smaller group, like just their friends," states Facebook. "We recognize that it is much worse for someone to accidentally share with everyone when they actually meant to share just with friends, compared with the reverse."

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