Beware of Facebook’s New Privacy Settings

facebookFacebook has rolled out a new privacy policy and new privacy settings.  Facebook claims the changes give users more control over who they share their content with, but there is a deceptive downside to the changes you definitely need to be aware of.

For the most part I think the changes Facebook has made are good.  They eliminated location-based networks so now people won’t unwittingly share info with everyone in their city, state, or counry.  They now give users control over who every piece of information is shared with.  There is a separate privacy settings for each piece of profile information and contact information, and users can decide who can see each status update, photo, and so forth.  A user can make each of these things visible to everyone, friends of friends, or only friends.

The problem is with Facebook’s default settings.

Facebook wants everything you post to be public (shared with everyone).  So, that’s how they’ve set up their default/recommended settings.

Why?  Your data is valuable to Facebook.  They hear Twitter and it’s everything-is-public model breathing down it’s neck.  They see the exploding popularity of their own real-time search.  They see how how Bing and Google are falling all over themselves to index tweets.  They want in on that action.  The way to do that is to make public as many of the status updates, images, links, and notes as possible.

They have to respect people’s desire for privacy, so they have rolled out the new privacy controls.  But they also know most people are either busy or lazy and will often just go with the “default’ or “recommended” settings especially when there are dozens of privacy settings to try to understand.  So, they’ve chosen to recommend privacy settings where are in their best interest, so people will “choose” to make their status updates public to everyone.

If you use Facebook, I highly recommend you take 15 minutes to go through your privacy settings and make sure they are what you want them to be.

If you want to read more on the subject, here’s another excellent article.

What do you think of the Facebook’s new privacy settings and policy?  Did you take the time to customize your privacy settings?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

7 Responses to “Beware of Facebook’s New Privacy Settings”

  1. I did take the time to read all of my facebook privacy settings…and then I set them all to public.

    I agree with you on the reasons why facebook is doing this. From a business perspective, it makes complete sense.

    But while caution is certainly to be exercised, I think that the notion of "privacy" is sometimes valued too highly. For those of us who actually make some sort of living off of our online presence, or at least want to draw a wider audience to our blogs and websites, more restrictive privacy settings actually work against us.

    I struggle more against obscurity than invasion of my privacy.

    And as PT Barnum is famous for saying, "All publicity is good publicity." Even when you say something controversial or dumb, and the world sees it. Been there, done that. :-)

  2. Wish they would offer the reverse of personal privacy settings – privacy from seeing certain friends updates. E.g. I don’t want to see a friend’s photos.

  3. thanks for info on facdbook but how did you find out?

  4. In a notification from Facebook.

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