The New York Times featured an article this week by Sarah Perez on the “bold and controversial” privacy changes made by Facebook since December. The article warned Facebook users to check their privacy settings on the popular social network, even if they opted to keep their personalized settings when prompted by Facebook to do so. The article feared many would simply agree to Facebook’s recommended settings without understanding the agreement; users may have inadvertently given Facebook the right to publicize their private information on Google and other search engines.
Perez spoke of a critical privacy change related to status updates.
She noted that the default setting for permission to view status updates is “Everyone”, not just referring to those on Facebook, but possibly everyone on the Internet depending on your search settings. She also mentioned Facebook’s new default settings for your “personal information”—including your interests, activities and favorites—and suggested that many would rather keep those exclusive to “Only Friends” rather than the default “Everyone” or even “Friends of Friends.” To make changes to your privacy settings on Facebook, go to your Profile page, drag the cursor over the Settings menu (top-right), click Privacy Settings, then click Profile Information.
Perez also recommended FB users review their “Search Settings,” which refers to what you allow Google and other search engines to index in your profile. Anything in the list you’ve checked “Allow” will permit search engines to access any information you’ve marked as visible by “Everyone.” To edit these preferences, go to your Profile page, drag the cursor over the Settings menu and click Privacy Settings. Then click Search from the list of choices and close the pop-up that appears there.
Check your settings.