Want to keep your pins under wraps? Pinterest debuts secret boards

You might think that checking out your girlfriend’s Pinterest board is the best way to find gift ideas for her for the holidays, but now you might have to reconsider that plan. Pinterest announced Thursday that it will be debuting “secret boards,” where users can pin items that are private and viewable only to the people they share those boards with.

Pinterest, a social network that is focused around users pinning beautiful and inspirational photos to boards, has been a runaway success, notable for appealing not just to early-adopter tech geeks in San Francisco, but mainly women all across the United States. CEO Ben Silbermann, who spoke at GigaOM’s RoadMap conference Monday, said the company didn’t set out to build a social network for mainstream America, rather they worked to make a site that revolves around the individual user first.

Pinterest boards secret boards screenshot“When we built Pinterest, we didn’t build it with a specific demographic in mind,” Silbermann said Monday. “We built it for ourselves.”

It’s easy to imagine that Pinterest “secret boards” will have a variety of use cases — pinning photos of potential presents for friends and family, pinning photos of a guilty pleasure (wedding photos when you aren’t engaged, anyone?), collecting photos for your stealth startup, or even pinning photos to a shared secret board for private communication within a group. But the company said it’s rolling them out in time for the holidays, which seems like the most common use case.

Users can go to the top of the page, create a secret board and choose who to share that board with. Current boards cannot be switched to private, since they’ve likely already had public repins. The company has also adjusted its privacy policy to reflect this new addition, which is available on the company’s mobile apps.

Unlike sites such as Instagram or Facebook that are all about building a community among users, Pinterest is much more focused on the individual, Silbermann said Monday, which seems to fit perfectly with “secret boards.”

“Pinterest is a little more self-focused,” he said. “There are other people who are there, but it’s less about saying things and seeing how the community will react to them.”

Pinterest secret boards screenshots and phones