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How to Protect Your Privacy from Facebook’s Latest Invasion

facebookIt seems like every month there is another Facebook foray into our private data. Obviously, as a social network, it does it’s best to connect us to our friends and make money, but sometimes the way it does this can leave us feeling violated.

The latest privacy invasion from the company comes in the form of the Graph Search. It essentially allows us to search our friends by information about them, rather than just by name.

For example, imagine you’re having a movie party and you want to screen all three Lord of the Rings films. The Graph Search now allows you to search your friends’ favourite movies, to see which of your friends has liked the Lord of the Rings, and invite them.

But what if they live far away, or even in another country? Well, you can add a location search term too. There are a whole bunch of criteria you can now search by.

Just like how Google lets you search the internet for various different keywords, Facebook now lets you search your friends in a similar way to help you connect. The downside is that if your privacy settings aren’t perfect, you might find that other people are able to find you when you don’t want them to.

Think back to our party (I’m excited, are you? Please dress as a dwarf.) What if I had met someone at a Lord of the Rings convention, but had forgotten their name? I can now search my local area for people who like the Lord of the Rings and invite them to our party.

Which is great, unless you’re one of the people brought up on that list and you don’t want people to know that you like elves and orcs. Previously, people would have to randomly find your account and then examine your “likes” to discover that information. Not anymore.

There’s no way to opt-out of the new Graph Search, either. To avoid being overly-searched, you have to change what you share using Facebook’s existing sharing settings.

Click the globe icon next to any piece of your information (next to your likes, favourite music, films, books etc.) and you can choose whether you want your information public, shown only to friends, just for yourself or custom grouping.

You can also do this with individual items, so you can quite easily hide your love of Justin Bieber, while still displaying your impeccable taste in Indie music. Perfect.

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2 Responses to How to Protect Your Privacy from Facebook’s Latest Invasion

  1. Panos says:

    Hi there Norman,

    I have a question regarding facebook comments:

    Sometimes it seems that people on facebook are replying to comments that simply are not there! These has happened to me quite a few times..Is it possible that users can “protect” their comments from other people and allow only e.g. their friends to view them? Or is it just that a comment has been removed? Have you come upon something similar?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Norman Norman says:

      Hi Panos – There is no way to directly respond to a comment, closest thing is to post another comment. It is possible that the original status update is set to private or blocked for a special list set up by the user. Once someone comments on a public update or profile, it becomes public as well. Also changes to your basic info for example can be hidden from your timeline but will still show up in your friends News Feed

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