Is FaceBook Your Friend?

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You have lots of “friends” on FaceBook, but is FaceBook your friend? I think not. The social networking giant recently changed privacy options. In my opinion, they did a great job of letting you know that these options had been changed. What you might not have realized is that they set everyone’s options in such a way that your entire profile is now open for viewing to the World Wide Web.

So, if you do not want certain people to know your info (birthdate, place of employment, personal email) then you are in trouble.

If you are trying to hide certain activities from anyone except certain friends, then you are currently exposed.

If you are sharing anything in a status update that is FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, then be aware that millions of other eyes are also looking…or they can.

Thanks, FaceBook, for being our “friend”. You COULD have set all of our privacy settings to only include our “friends”, and then if we wanted to be exposed to the universe we could set it that way. Why didn’t you do that?

I have 610 “friends” on FaceBook. Thankfully most of them post very seldom. Still, I miss a lot of the posts that come through. I typically view the “Live Feed”. I miss the old one where it would self-refresh. I do try to go through my list occasionally and unfriend those whom I know but are on the periphery or who never post. Interestingly sometimes those folks ask to be my friend within a week or so again. That tells me they like my posts. (Or they just want their “friend” number higher. Shallow, but common!)

So how does one go about making sure that only their “friends” are seeing their pictures, posts, and info? It’s very simple.

In the top right hand corner of your FaceBook screen click on SETTINGS, and then Privacy Settings.

Notice one of those settings is Privacy and next to it is the place to click next: Manage.

Click on Profile Information. Make sure that each one says “Only Friends”. If this is your first rodeo, then they all say “everyone”. This is where FaceBook abused your friendship and allowed the universe to observe your life.

If you want more restricted access for your readers you can “customize” and select which actual friends can access your information.

Before you leave, pay attention to PHOTO ALBUMS, where you have to set privacy for each album. This is kind of tricky because it is hidden from you unless you click on it. That means pictures of your kids and grandkids and best friends and secret friends can be seen by the world.

That should take care of things. While reading some comments on something a friend wrote on FaceBook recently I saw a familiar name. I actually thought I was their friend – but couldn’t recall any status updates from them. I went to their page and saw their information, pictures, status updates … and then noticed the familiar “add as a friend” button up top. I wasn’t their friend, and they couldn’t know it, but I was looking around in their stuff. Guilt overwhelmed me and I left quickly. And then decided that maybe there were a lot of people like this. So there you go… my pennance for peeking.

One final observation. Some things should not be posted anywhere. Even if your friends are the only one seeing them.

UPDATE! This from friend Wendy Cayliss: If you don’t know as of today, Facebook will automatically index all your information on Google, which allows everyone to view! If you want to change this option (which I assume you will) go to settings, then Privacy settings, Then Search and then UN-TICK the box that says ‘Allow indexing’. (I also selected FRIENDS ONLY in the box above that). Thanks Wendy for pointing this out.

FaceBook, this was really a bad move all the way around.

Thanks for reading,

JD

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