Facebook Privacy: Cloaking Your Profile

May 20, 2008

Facebook LogoCan anybody and their taxi drivers view your Facebook profile? Do you really want them to?

Facebook has made it possible for you to individually set the privacy levels for almost all areas (or “boxes”) on your profile page via its profile privacy page. There, you can adjust privacy settings for the profile as a whole, for your basic and personal info, status updates, photos and videos tagged of you, your list of friends, your wall, and your work and education information. You can set these individually to be viewed only by your friends, by your friends and network(s), or by friends of friends. You can even customize these settings by picking one or more of these options. See screenshot below (click for a larger view).

Facebook Profile Privacy page

I thought my profile was limited to just my friends. Much to my dismay and while checking my profile privacy page for this post, I discovered that my profile wasn’t limited to only my friends. In fact, when I joined the Washington, DC network so that I could have Facebook Chat, my privacy settings were changed (without my knowledge) so that EVERYONE in the Washington, DC settings could view my profile! Aiiigggggh! The screenshot above shows that “Only Friends” and everyone in the “Washington, DC” network can see my profile stuff. I’m changing my settings so that only my friends can see my profile and the boxes on it.

Anyway …

Many folks may want to make sure their profiles are viewable only by their own friends. Some folks are more, ahem, open or seeking or adventuresome and may want to open up their profile. Either way, you may want to check your profile privacy page and make sure the settings there are what you want (or expect!) them to be. In my case, I’m glad I checked — I didn’t know 8,000,000 people in Washington, DC could view my profile. (And in fact, just about anybody can change or add their network to Washington, DC even if they’re not living there.)

This is part of an on-going series of posts on Facebook privacy.  See related posts on photo albums, profile page, and search options.


5 Responses to “Facebook Privacy: Cloaking Your Profile”

  1. Alison Says:

    I fell into the same trap a few months ago with Wales (the network I belong to). Now Wales is a country, not just a city! Enter dismay, etc. Thought I’d been careful.

    Other thing, close off your profile for public listings; for search engines such as Google to pick up. This is only something that I’d picked up via wider tech blog at the time when this was opened up.

    Pictures – you going to cover this in more depth? Have restricted some pictures so only university friends can see. Some of them are perhaps too compromising for more work orientated contacts.

    Good on you for covering this though. Am sure people out there will find it useful. :)

  2. Jenny Says:

    Augh. This is why I limited my Facebook profile to have almost no information and when I signed up a few weeks ago, I scoured the settings to ensure that everything was set to friends only. Man. They should include a pop-up box or something to warn ya when they think they’re gonna change your privacy settings for *anything*… especially with the issues about blogging/MySpace and work coming up in the media more and more. Thanks for alerting us, Josh!

  3. Julie Says:

    THANK YOU! Just checked our profile and the settings indeed were changed!

  4. […] is part of an on-going series of posts on Facebook privacy.  See related posts on photo albums, profile page, and search options. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Suit Over Princess Pix […]

  5. Carolann Says:

    I am unable to set this feature as I do not have an option to ‘customize’; is this a known bug?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: