Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Facebook Privacy Changes - What You Should Know

Facebook Privacy Changes - What You Should Know

ABC News reported a story here about new changes to Facebook's Privacy Policies. Essentially, there are five important changes to be aware of. The first is

Facebook Search Settings

Your search settings have the the option to 'index your profile' by public search engines. facebook has now turned this feature on. Despite our explicitly turning this feature off.

You will need to go to Settings\Privacy\Search and uncheck the index option.

- Unless you want the search engines to index your profile?

Password Protection

Facebook has also added a protection for changing your privacy settings. Under the new facebook privacy policy settings, you are now required to enter your password whenever you want to change your privacy settings.

Publicly Available Information (PAI) Changes

Facebook has also changed publicly available information (PAI), with little or no recourse for the user to modify.

The information stored under the facebook PAI monicker includes your profile picture, friends list, fan pages, gender, geographic region, and networks. There is almost no recourse to protect any of this information.

Friends List

Your facebook friends list is technically under the PAI umbrella, and you can still control who sees it, the controls for your friends list are found on your Facebook profile page and are not in your facebook privacy settings.

To restrict who can see your friends list, click on the pencil icon next to your friends widget (just under your profile picture) and uncheck the box that says "Show my friends on my profile."

Hyper Control

While Facebook is removing some control over publicly available information, they are granting more control over other parts of your Facebook profile. You can now restrict who sees your shared content on a post by post basis.

Don't want certain friends to see your latest update? No problem.

Need to keep those photos of you at the bar away from your co-workers? You can do that too.

Facebook's new privacy settings are a mixed bag of better and simpler controls over some information, while loosening the restrictions on others.

Of course, if you don't want some of that information to appear, you can always delete it from Facebook

Facebook's new controls are not perfect, but they will spark users to examine what they are sharing on Facebook.