Facebook privacy changes

Posted on May 24, 2010


facebook privacy changes


Facebook is once again in the news because of their latest privacy changes. In December ’09, Facebook made all profile information public by default. They’re continuing to open up your Facebook information.

A summary of the changes:

1. Everything you list on your profile is now public.

This includes: city you live in, photos, friends and causes. Bottom line, if you list this information on your profile, it’s public. You have no choice to make it private. Once you create this information, it’s forever in Facebook’s database, for advertisers’ use to target messages to you.

2. Your Facebook information shared with Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft.

If you are logged into Facebook and you visit these sites, they’ll be able to personalize your view, based on this information.

SOLUTION: Make sure you are logged out of Facebook, before visiting any other websites.

3. Third party applications automatically added to your Facebook Profile.

If you visit certain sites while you are logged into Facebook, applications for these sites will be automatically added to your profile. You will not get any messages saying this has been done, nor can you opt out of this happening on Facebook.

Examples of such sites are: TechCrunch, Washington Post, CNET, New York Magazine.

SOLUTION: Log out of Facebook before visiting ANY other sites. This is a pain, but the only way to insure your information won’t be shared. You should also check what applications you have on your profile. You can do this by clicking on:
Account –> Application Settings –> click “X” to remove an application.

You can also block the applications, but you have to know which ones to block first. What a pain, especially since Facebook will probably be adding more websites to the list.

To block an application:

–Go to the Applications’s About page (search for application via Search or Application Dashboard).
–Click on the link that says “block this application.” The link is on the left side.

4. Facebook Like button for other websites.

Facebook has introduced the “like” button, which can be added to other websites. If you click on this button, it will automatically appear in your Facebook status updates. Not so bad, right? But what if you don’t want the whole world to know about what things you like or dislike?

SOLUTION: Think before clicking on a Facebook “like” button. Do you really want everyone to know about this?

Stay tuned for more however. As of 5/24/10, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that his company has heard the public outcry over the latest changes. He promises that Facebook will make it easier for users to control their private information and also allow users to opt-out of sharing information with advertisers.