Facebook’s new search tool can allow strangers (like police, employers, or marketers), along with “friends” on Facebook, to discover who you are, what you like and where you go. the New York Times says that “While Facebook insists it is up to you to decide how much you want others to see, you cannot entirely opt out of Facebook searches. So right now Facebook is quietly nudging each of its billion subscribers to take a look at privacy setting and policies to be sure they know what is happening.
“The nudge could not have been more timely, said Sarah Downey, a lawyer with the Boston company Abine, which markets tools to help users control their visibility online. “It is more important than ever to lock down your Facebook privacy settings now that everything you post will be even easier to find,” she said. That is to say, your settings will determine, to a large extent, who can find you when they search for women who buy dresses for toddlers or, more unsettling, women who jog a particular secluded trail.
“What can you do? Ask yourself four simple questions.
QUESTION 1 How would you like to be found?
“Go to “who can see my stuff” on the upper right side of your Facebook page. Click on “see more settings.” By default, search engines can link to your timeline. You can turn that off if you wish.
“Go to “activity log.” Here you can review all your posts, pictures, “likes” and status updates. If you are concerned about who can see what, look at the original privacy setting of the original post.
“In my case, I had been tagged eating a bowl of ricotta with my fingers at midnight near Arezzo. My friend who posted the picture enabled it to be seen by anyone, which means that it would show up in a stranger’s search for, I don’t know, people who eat ricotta with their fingers at midnight. I am tagged in other photos that are visible only to friends of the person who posted them.
“The point is, you want to look carefully at what the original settings are for those photos and “likes,” and decide whether you would like to be associated with them.“