Facebook Simplifies Sharing your Personal Info
Even our local news channels have been reporting that Facebook has simplified their privacy policies. What they failed to notice is how Facebook is encouraging users to disclose even more information to “Everyone”.
The Facebook privacy news has also given credibility to the malicious phishing attempts that arrive in your Email with the subject “Facebook Account Update”. Some of my friends who would normally know better have fallen for these spam Emails thinking it’s part of the newly announced privacy policies.
Instead what Facebook users should see is the following pop up when they sign on.
Like me your first reaction may be hurray! Facebook has listened to us and will be increasing our privacy. Guess again. When you click to continue you’ll see a revamped version of their current privacy settings. Unless you’re paying attention much of the information you only want “Friends” to see will now be available to “Everyone”. In all the accounts I tested Facebook inconsistently changed the setting from “Friends” to either “Everyone” or “Friends of Friends”.
Unless you explicitly tell Facebook to use your old settings you’ll be opening up your personal information to the world.
If you’ve already gone though this process or not I recommend going to your Facebook Settings, click on Privacy and you should see the following window. One problem with this screen is the user interface. It doesn’t tell you that you still need to click on “Change Settings” and re-enter your password. I guess they consider this additional password as security but fail to realize if you come to this screen you’ve already indicated your desire to change your settings.
Unfortunately, It Gets Worse
Facebook has also been making some lucrative deals with search engine providers. One of the other new settings you’ll want to look at is “Search”. Do you want Google indexing the information you provide on Facebook making it available to the world? It may be ok if you’re having an affair with Tiger Woods but most of us probably won’t want this information so easily available.
I’m a pretty public person so my personal information are probably easy to find but I still changed these settings. Facebook to me is something I consider a little more personal and I don’t want to take any chances. I suspect many of you feel the same way.
If you missed my previous article on the companies who created Facebook Applications be sure to read “Who Gets Your Personal Information on Facebook”.