Facebook announced today that it is removing a popular feature that has been allowing its users to prevent their profile from showing up on searches. Meaning, your profile is no longer hidden. And neither are you.
In fact, most users don’t know that they had an option to hide from Facebook searches. Last December it announced some small privacy changes claiming that they would make it easier for its users to access and make changes to their privacy settings. Considering the fact that Facebook is constantly changing such settings this information probably went unknown by most.
The good news is that most users won’t notice a change this time either. Prior to last December users were able to change a setting that allowed someone to look up your personal timeline by searching your name. Last year, Facebook removed that setting for many users, even those who were not using it. They also claimed that they would be removing it for everyone in the near future. And now the time has come.
So, what can you do to protect yourself? Let’s start with heavily editing what you post on Facebook. It seems simple, but Facebook statuses run the gamut from amusing to highly inappropriate. Do you really want your boss to know that you went on a bender that lasted from Friday at 5:00 p.m. to Monday morning at 3:00 a..m.? Do you want your mother to know that your man is dynamite in the sack? (Sorry, mommy.) A really cool feature would be a self-editing button that says, “Do you really want to post that?”
Now, let’s talk about who you are “friending.” If you are a teacher should you really allow your students access to all your posts? Those pictures from that bachelorette party you attended last weekend? If you are a Doctor would you want your patients to have the ability to hunt you down on the weekend and ask just what doe that rash on Johnny’s arm mean? What about the colleagues you have to face every Monday morning? Do they need to know that you were out sailing on your yacht all weekend or had the most delightful dinner at The Stanton Social Club (complete with mandatory foodie pictures)?
All of the above makes sense. However, Facebook is a prime bragging battleground. The “bigger, faster, better, more!” generation is all about letting you know exactly how much they spent on that new sports car, where they are vacationing (another Facebook no-no. Do you really want everyone to know that you are out of town and your huge McMansion is ripe for the picking?), even which ritzy private schools their kids are attending.
Bottom line is that your privacy is no more at risk than it was a week ago. Someone who really wants to find you on Facebook will probably still be able to do so. Best to just watch what pictures you post, what you are writing, and who you are friending.
By: Mary Kay Love