Facebook Privacy

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Facebook recently changed its privacy settings, and it has some people concerned. A lot of the experts are advising people to pay close attention to the settings they select. One of the problems is Facebook’s encouragement to show more things to “Everyone.” They say that this is to make it easier for your friends to find what you are sharing and to be able to learn more about you. See http://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php for their explanation. The problem with this is that it is not just your friends who get to learn more about you.

Facebook has typically been a fairly tightly secured vault for your private information. When it opened up its code for developers to make apps, this security was somewhat diminished. Even if you had your privacy settings locked down, a friend could install an app that could glean all your private information. With these new settings, you may be the one spilling the beans yourself.

When posting anything to the internet, it is important to keep in mind how public it all really is. While many sites offer a strong level of security, it is easy to forget that it just needs to get out once to be permanently online. Once something is public it is nearly impossible to retract. This should be on the top of everyone’s mind as they adjust these settings. Especially those inclined to post content that is “Not Safe For Work (NSFW).” Your “private” pictures could very well become public.

What is particularly disturbing is that Facebook makes it even easier to slip up on this. It encourages you to use the new settings, which mean “Everyone” rather than your dusty “old” settings. I for one stuck with all of my original settings. Check out what Mashable had to say about the changes. When you are done there, take a look at TechCrunch. While nobody is advocating running around like Chicken Little, it is strongly encouraged by most parties that you pay attention to what you are allowing Everyone to see.

If you have nothing to hide, never fear. Just know that you will never get back to the privacy you once enjoyed once you open the floodgates. If you are the paranoid type, and in this case it is not so extreme, just be careful. I am sure this won’t be the last time this issue hits the fan. Until then, be safe.

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  • http://lawmedia.pepperdine.edu/solis/ David

    Here is a comment I left on Facebook today, I thought I’d share it after some interesting revelations this morning:


    I let people search, but I think the “freakout” (that I and others complained about) was the result of a faulty preview where we could see the latest status post even if it was set “Only Friends”.

    I think they’ve fixed that now. But yes, you can turn off the indexing and you can set your status message defaults to “Only Friends”.

    Of course, if a friend of yours doesn’t care about privacy or doesn’t take the time to dial it down all your comments on their status messages might be public.

    Thus, be careful what you write as a comment on other people’s posts (because you are depending on their privacy settings).