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Dec. 14 2009 - 10:11 pm | 718 views | 1 recommendation | 5 comments

Two new Facebook privacy issues: If you act now, you can photo-stalk your ex and save yourself from Google indexing

Two new Facebook privacy issues have made their way onto my radar. I took advantage of one glitch to stalk peruse off-limits photo albums. Though most Facebook users have been made aware of the fact that the new privacy settings default to be quite open, many have not realized that this applies to their photo albums too.

That means, if you act fast, you can probably check out the photo albums of the ex who has defriended you or put you on limited profile.  A *friend* of mine confirms this is possible…

This applies if the person made the privacy transition and has not yet realized that Facebook has automatically set their photos to the “Let basically everyone in the world see these!” setting.

To fix this problem, you have to go into “Application Settings” and then into the settings for your “Photos.”

facebook photo settings

That’s confusing, right? Right! Facebook has really f***ed up this whole making-privacy-control-easier thing.

The second problem in the new privacy settings is that Facebook is letting search engines index content from the site. Yeah, you’re going to want to turn that off.

To do that, you DO head to privacy settings. Then choose “Search.” There you’ll find a new little option: “Public Search Results: Allow search engines to access your publicly available info and any information visible to Everyone.”

Google index Facebook copy

Like me, you’ll probably want to uncheck “Allow Indexing.”

These new settings are so confusing that even the company’s CEO seems to be confused by them. Unlike Ryan Tate at Gawker, I don’t think the company is evil. I just think their developers may be a few photos short of an album.

Facebook, you’re like an abusive partner, making it harder and harder for me to love you. Unlike tech writer Dan Gillmor, I’m not ready to leave you yet.


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  1. collapse expand

    The main issue is facebook thinks that because you are willing to share your information with 100s of “friends” you must be open to sharing them with “everyone” also. People like me who use facebook to share information with mostly friends and relatives that live in different states are totally against sharing information with “everyone”. It worries me that the company thinks this is even a good option for some individual users. “Everyone” sharing is good for companies and public figures but should not be an option for private individuals.

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    About Me

    I am a writer, reporter, editor and blogger. I'm an editor at Above The Law, where I blog about lawyers, judges, law firms and the legal industry. Here at True/Slant, I write about our changing notions of privacy.

    If you have story ideas or tips, e-mail me at kashhill@trueslant.com. I've hung out in quite a few newsrooms over the last few years. Currently, I can be found in Breaking Media's Nolita office. In the past, I've been found in midtown Manhattan at The Week Magazine, in Hong Kong at the International Herald Tribune, and in D.C. at the National Press Foundation and the Washington Examiner.

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      Over at Above The Law, I write about lawyers, law firms, judges and the legal industry.

      We especially like “colorful news.” (Yes, that’s a euphemism for gossip.)

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      While most of my writing occurs online at Above The Law and True/Slant, I do occasionally venture into the world of print.  These are some of the magazines and newspapers that I’ve written for:

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      washingtonian issue for tsThe latest (and longest) “real ink” project: the cover story for Washingtonian Magazine’s December issue.

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