December 12, 2012

Facebook Vacation

I've confirmed that today's Facebook's privacy changes allow strangers to see everything in your timeline if they search for you by name.

I was annoyed but putting up with the reality that people could tag me in photos or posts without my consent and it was up to me to delete the tags.  Essentially, this meant I had extra work -- I had to regularly login and confirm that everything where I was tagged was something I wanted everyone to know about me.  If I didn't regularly login, someone could tag me and it could stay up, visible on my timeline for my entire network until I finally got around to taking it down.

But, before today, I was one of the (apparently very few) users who hid their entire Timeline from search. As of today, that feature is now gone.  So, I had to go through my entire timeline and "hide" the things I did not want viewable by strangers in connection with my name.  Mind you, I'd already done this by "hiding" my entire timeline.  Again, like publication of tags of my facebook profile without my consent, the publication of the timeline to anyone who searched for me by name caused me extra work.

I'm guessing the day is soon coming when facebook will cater solely to people who do not share my privacy concerns.  At that point, even if I'm willing to do all the work, the features I want just may not be available.

So, I'm taking the rest of the year as a facebook holiday to evaluate my options for (a) how much I actually miss facebook; and (b) if I miss it enough, how to address this issue in 2013.


Richard Hom said...

This does seem like a pain in the ass. I do log in often enough to delete anything I would not want the world to know. But it is like a job and I it should not be.

Arvay said...

My rule of thumb is to pretend that the so-called privacy settings don't exist, and only post what I am comfortable with the whole world knowing. But you're right in that it is shocking and annoying to be tagged by others. Fortunately, I have few enough "friends" that this happens only rarely, and in situations that I don't like, even rarer still.

bt said...


I generally agree with your approach re: only post what I'm comfortable with the whole world knowing. I'm not uncomfortable about the content of anything I post.

But what I am uncomfortable about is people being able to search about me and "learn" all sorts of personal info.

The identity theft reality alone is very concerning.

Cathy said...

I just treat Facebook like Twitter with a different interface. I tweet under my own name, so I'm searchable that way anyway.

I'm also chintzy about what personal info I let Facebook publish about me. It's usually details I end up blabbing about on Twitter anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. I agree with the quote in the article, "It feels almost as though Facebook is trying to acclimate users -- even recalcitrant ones -- to a world of personal transparency,” Calo said.

[No Nickname] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bt said...

@Cathy -- the friend graph and phototagging and posttagging on facebook make it a fundamentally different collection of information than twitter, for me. The majority of my facebook network are not in my twitter network and vice versa.

@Jen -- I agree.

bt said...

I also suspect I am more sensitive to this issue re: searchability than many folks due to the uniqueness of my real name.

Unlike Jen Smith or Grace Lee, who will pop up with a long list of potential matches. There are, as far as I know, only me and one other person in the world with my first and last name combination.

Anonymous said...

Re: name uniqueness. I've definitely been counting on that. I went to college with at least 7 other women with my name.

p.s. I still spent several hours the other day hiding almost everything from my timeline.