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Pinterest adds secret boards for the holidays

Pinterest is testing out a new feature for the holidays: secret boards. In a blog post published Thursday, the company announced it will gradually roll out a test that lets users create up to three secret boards.

Until now, Pinterest has been a completely public social network—both pinboards and individual pins could be seen by anyone and everyone on the Internet, and users couldn't hide their actions. But now a select group of users—and soon, it appears, everybody—can create up to three “secret boards,” which seem to have a different connotation from “private” boards.

For those of you who aren’t up to date with the latest in social networking, Pinterest is a niche social network that lets users share content via virtual “pinboards,” or image walls. Users can “pin” various images from around the web to their different pinboards, using either a Pinterest website button or a bookmarklet downloaded to their bookmarks bar. Users can add comments to pins, and can also re-pin pins they see on other users’ pinboards.

According to Pinterest, secret boards are designed around the holidays. The company envisions users using these boards to “keep track of holiday gifts, plan a special event, or work on a project [they] aren’t yet ready to share with the rest of the world.” So these boards aren’t really designed to be private tributes to pictures of Justin Bieber (or whatever you happen to want to pin, but are too embarrassed to do publicly), though you can of course use them for that.

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Pinterest users can now create invitation-only boards.

You can also invite co-conspirators to pin with you on your secret boards. This might be useful if you’re planning a surprise party with a friend, or if you’re trying to figure out what to get your parents for Christmas, or something along those lines. Pinterest says that each user may create up to three secret boards, but I assume that you’re able to pin on an unlimited number of secret boards, once you’ve invited.

To create a secret board, you need only to log into Pinterest and click “Add+” in the upper right corner. Then, tap “Create a Board,” and make sure the “Secret” toggle is switched from “Off” to “On” (by default, it will be set to Off).

To invite people to pin on your secret board, use the email address on the board creation screen. You can also add co-pinners later, by going to the “Edit” section of your secret board.

You can also create secret boards on Pinterest’s iOS and Android apps, which must be the updated version to support the new boards.

At the moment, existing public pinboards cannot be made secret, because people may have re-pinned items from your boards, Pinterest says. The company has also updated its privacy policy to reflect the new secret boards.

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