In a move that has seriously concerned privacy advocates, the latest Facebook privacy update has removed the ability to exclude several key profile details from search results, making them visible for anyone to see and given third-party app developers the ability to access your friends list.
According to the Facebook Help Centre, “Your name, gender, username, user ID (account number), profile picture, cover photo and networks (if you choose to add these) are available to anyone since they are essential to helping you connect with your friends and family” and “In addition, anything you choose to share with a public audience (designated by Public in your audience selector) is considered public information”.
What do the changes really mean?
Anyone can access your profile by searching for your name and view all of the basic information listed above. Furthermore, they can view any status update you have posted as ‘Public’.
Changing your global audience selector from ‘Public’ to ‘Friends’ is easy.
Start by logging into Facebook. From your wall, click on the padlock symbol in the top right-hand-corner of the screen and click on ‘Who can see my stuff?’ from the drop-down menu and select ‘Friends’. Alternatively, if you are already logged into Facebook, click here.
Should you wish to look further into your privacy settings, click on the triangle to the right of the padlock, then click on ‘Settings’ on the dropdown menu that appears. On the page you are taken to, there is a menu on the left hand side which lists many options which you can modify, third from the top is ‘Privacy’, click this. From here you can change several options, to make your updates private, click the ‘Edit’ button on the right-hand-side of the ‘Who can see my stuff?’ section. You are now editing the ‘Who can see my future posts’ module. In the middle you will see a drop-down box. It may have ‘Public’ next to it (what is displayed depends on your current settings). Click on the drop-down box and select ‘Friends’. Finish by clicking on ‘Close’ located in the top-right-hand-corner.
You have now successfully updated your privacy settings so that your future posts won’t show up in your profile page to anyone who isn’t your friend.