It wouldn’t be a normal week on Facebook if we didn’t find at least one rumor being spread around everyone’s walls with urgings of “COPY AND PASTE TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS ASAP”. This week we surely were not disappointed!
Here is a variation of the latest rumor we are all urged to spread:
“If you don’t know, as of today, Facebook will automatically index ALL YOUR INFO on Google, which allows ANYONE AND EVERYONE to view it. To change this option, go to Settings –> Privacy Settings –> Privacy –> Search –> then UN-CLICK the box that says ‘Allow indexing’. Facebook kept this one quiet. Copy and pass it …on for all your friends ASAP”.
Part of this rumor is true, but parts are definitely false. Here is the real scoop:
Every single user was given two chances to review the policy and their own personal settings. If you declined to look things over the first time you logged in, you were not able to access your account the second time, until you had completed the necessary steps. That being said, everyone had fair and ample warning about what was going to happen.
The rumor above states that suddenly, supposedly as of “today”, Facebook is allowing “ALL OF YOUR” info to be indexed in search engines such as Google. This is NOT true.
Here is a screenshot I took last week, just in case it was needed (and sure enough it was!) of the policy form we all were supposed to read:
As you can see, point #2 states that “Information you choose to share with Everyone is available to everyone on the internet.” This should not shock anyone. If you choose to make your information public, that means the public has access to it. Google is the public.
It also should be pointed out that the statement clearly states that it is information you have chosen the setting “Everyone” that is being indexed – not ALL YOUR INFO as the rumor claims. If you have your privacy settings set to “Friends Only” or “Friends of Friends”, or “Only Me”, then your info is safe. IT WILL NOT be indexed by Google.
If anything, Facebook has actually gone above and beyond to secure your info with the new settings. Even if we choose to make any or all of our info available to “Everyone”, we can STILL choose to have Facebook secure it for us, and keep it out of the search engines, by using the steps shown in the rumor above!
The steps shown in the rumor above are valid, and a good idea, if you want to ensure everything is kept inside Facebook. Ticking or un-ticking that box won’t harm anything, but un-ticking it will give you an added layer of privacy protection.
If you are still unsure about what steps you should take to protect your account the way you wish it to be protected, visit Facebook’s Guide To Privacy page. It should also be noted that if you are under the age of 18, you will not be able to change any of your settings to “Everyone”.
However, to claim that “Facebook kept this one quiet” is, in my humble opinion, pure bull pucky. We were all given plenty of warning – we were unable to access accounts until we reviewed the info – and, if you have chosen any setting that states “Everyone”, expecting that anything less than everyone seeing it, is a little more than unreasonable.
UPDATE Dec 15: We’ve received some comments via email and on the Fan page that people are finding themselves in the search engines, and are assuming that this is part of the new changes. Chances are this is not the result of the changes.
Facebook has been providing your name in search results since 2007. This is how friends find each other, and one of the purposes of Facebook to begin with. If you do find your name in Google or any other search engine, it most likely links to your profile page. The only visible information shown will be your name, your profile photo, and a link to “Add As A Friend”; unless you have chosen to share your info with “Everyone”.
If you do not want even your profile page to appear in the search engines, un-tick the box as described above. Once someone then clicks your name in the engine, it should bring up something along the lines of “file not found”.
Google is constantly updating its search results, so your name will eventually drop off once it crawls Facebook and sees that your link is no longer there.