facebook made a pretty big deal about the changes it was making to its privacy settings last week. the ceo made an announcement about it. I posted on it a few times. so how is it?
well, the rollout had no sooner started than the sniping began. yes, it is simpler. however, users are losing control of some information rather than gaining.
Rather than jam the good the bad and the ugly into a single post, I’m going to hit a few at a time. starting on a positive note –
selective status posting
after setting one’s privacy options, users will see a new padlock icon beside the familiar share button.
clicking the down arrow will display options for who will see your update. “everyone” means what it says – your update will be visible to anyone, even non-facebook users. personal information labeled everyone will be searchable on google and other search engines. (note: see below for how to change your searchability)
mousing over the icon will show the default settings for all your status updates. if you have never made any adjustments to your privacy settings in the past, you will most likely see “everyone” set as your default. as you can see here, you can still make exceptions to the broader categories by using friend lists (don’t know about the power of friend lists? read here).
facebook has, up until now, has been a black box to google and other search engines. with the new changes, facebook has essentially turned on the lights, allowing search engine access to all the internal traffic (updates, wall posts, etc) on the site. you can still do something about this, however. let’s look at the searchability settings page (go to settings, then privacy settings, then search)
see the little checkbox? if it’s checked off, you’re searchable. I honestly can’t remember whether the default was yes or no. going by facebook’s recommendations in other areas, I would say until you change it, a lot of your facebook activity will be searchable. just sayin’.
but what about within facebook itself? part of the fun of facebook for me and I hope a few others is finding and being found by old connections. turning off or limiting that findability in facebook seems like it would diminish a valuable part of the service. however, I understand that there are times when you might not want to be found by a particularly stalkerish person or two…here the options:
you can set it so only those people whom you have friend can find you. there’s no custom setting here to prevent some subgroup of friends from finding you in a search, but that seems extreme anyway. remember if there are just a few individuals you don’t want seeing your stuff, you should block those users.
that’s it for today. coming up: griping about privacy settings that are no longer available, like blocking access to you friend lists, pages and types of wall posts. stay tuned, and jump in below if you love or hate the new settings!