Earlier this month Facebook rolled out Graph Search for all English-speaking users in the United States (it will gradually become available to other users in the coming weeks). Graph search allows users to use “natural language” search terms to search within Facebook. This means you can now search for things like “movies my friends like” or “photos of ‘John Smith’ before 2006.” We presume one reason for the change is that Facebook hopes this will motivate all of us to spend more time on the platform, but it also means our posts and photos are more easily searchable. Now’s a good time to check your privacy settings.
Here are three things to check:
1. Profile Visibility. Thanks to graph search, your profile might now show up in search results based on any number of details you’ve included about yourself in your “About” section. Do you like the band U2 or the restaurant Red Robin? Are you a fan of crafts beers or NASCAR? Have you recently visited Maui or Mumbai? All of these details can show up in searches. To see what details about yourself you’ve shared, go to your “About” section and check the “Edit” button in each box and select whom you want to share the information with. Once you’ve scrolled past your basic information (employment, education, etc.) you can go through each section, e.g. Music, Games or Likes, click on the pencil icon in each section to “Edit privacy” and then decide who you want to share your various Likes with.
2. Photo Settings. Everyone has had at least one unflattering photo pop up on Facebook. If your friends happen to use tags, it makes even more likely that a photo you’d prefer to not be available for the world to see will show up. Before Graph Search the only way people could see your photos was to go to your page and look through the photos section. But now they can be searched by location and time unless you adjust your security settings.
To check your photo settings:
• Click on your profile and then “Activity Log.” Then go to “Photos of You” in the “Photos” section. You should see a chronological stream of photos you’ve taken and photos you’ve been tagged in. On the top bar look at the “Shared with” option to see if the photos are being shared with “Public,” “Friends,” or “Friends of Friends.” If you choose “Public” you’ll be able to see every photo you’ve been tagged in as well as Instagram photos. You’ll need to go through each photo and untag yourself (you can’t remove photos that your friends have posted) so you’ll no longer be searchable. You can also choose “Tag Review” under your own Activity Log so see any tags your friends have put on any other content.
3. Future Posts. Each time you post something, Facebook gives you the option to share with with “Public,” “Friends,” “Friends of Friends,” etc. You can also use Facebook’s shortcut so that by default every post is only viewable by Friends (or whatever option you choose); you will still have the option to share individual posts with Public, etc. To change the default, go to the padlock icon on the upper righthand corner of your profile and choose “Who can see my stuff.” The first section asks “Who can see your future posts.” The default is “Public.” If you want only Friends or Friends of Friends, etc. to see your posts, make the selection here.
How do you keep up with Facebook’s changes to privacy settings? Do you keep your profile locked down or open for the world to see? We’re curious…..