Facebook privacy settings: one overlooked tool that may set your mind at rest


Lots of people are understandably concerned about Facebook's recent changes to privacy settings, and what's now indexed by search engines and publicly available. In fact, quite a few of my Facebook friends have posted this as their status today:

Check this out: If you don't know, as of today, Facebook will automatically index all your info on Google, which allows everyone to view it. To change this option, go to Settings --> Privacy Settings --> Search --> then UN-CLICK the box that says 'Allow indexing'.

I won't go into all the details but here's a summary of the situation on Mashable along with warnings from the ACLU and security experts. In short, Facebook is encouraging users to share their information with "Everyone," in an effort to make more content searchable, and therefore more valuable.

Me, I'm not so worried, but I've chosen to live a fair amount of my life in public. I'm not advising you on whether or not you should or shouldn't. But here's one thing many people may not know about that will give you some solid information on which to base your decision:

While you're logged in to Facebook, go to Settings - Privacy Settings - Search. Look in the upper right hand corner. See that button that says "Preview My Profile"? Click on it.

That shows you how your profile looks to somehow who is not a Facebook friend of yours but finds you via search, based on your current privacy settings. You can also see how your profile looks to individual friends by typing in their name. If you're fine with what you see being public, then you've got nothing to worry about.

If you think you're sharing too much, then it's time to modify your privacy settings. The video embedded in that Mashable article, produced by security firm Sophos, shows you a good primer on how to do that.

These changes have been called everything from a brilliant business move to an evil plot. It's up to you to decide for yourself, and this tool will help you do it based on facts.


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