Facebook - beware!

Facebook - do you want all your personal details visible to everybody

Social networking is huge and growing every day.

Facebook is now the second largest web site in the world in terms of traffic – second only to Google. And that’s made it an integral part of every online marketing campaign.

So it’s surprising and disturbing when they do something like they’ve just done.

You might have missed it. If you’ve been to Facebook this week, you’ll have seen a pop-up window advising some changes to their security. Helpful enough…

But then the pop-up took you to a series of screens where you’d have been given options to either accept the defaults or make elective changes. Bear in mind we live in a world where the internet often offers screens like that, and we’ve been trained over years to go click on the defaults and that’s that. Get me to where I’m going please…

This series of defaults from Facebook was rather different though. In this case, the defaults opened up your personal information to being visible by anybody, anywhere, anytime.

This is all in the context of Facebook growing on the basis of communities of friends electing to connect with each other and share their stuff. The default position was share with my friends only.

At a stroke, by making the default position that everything’s available to anybody, that’s all changed. How do you feel about your email address and phone number being visible to anybody?

So, if you’ve been to Facebook this week and clicked through the defaults, we suggest you go back. On your Facebook Home Page, top right, there’s a link to ‘Settings’. In turn that shows a dropdown to ‘Privacy Settings’. That leads you to five headings that control your individual privacy settings.

We recommend you go through each of these five screens in turn to make sure you’re happy with what everybody on the planet can see, and what you’d like to restrict to your friends.