Facebook changes are coming fast and furious again, and with them, the swirling clouds of critique, argument, and the never-ending outcries about privacy.
No doubt, the changes are big ones and this is a good time to take time to look at what is really happening and decide how you want to play along.
Concern #1: The Facebook subscribe button means anyone can see my posts.
Or, in your privacy controls:
Concern #2: The Facebook news ticker is stalking me.
You’ve likely seen, heard or read posts about privacy concerns with the news ticker (the scrolling bar of updates that appears in the right sidebar along your newsfeed). Some common complaints I’ve heard are that the ticker displays content from individuals you’re not friends with, and publishes photos/posts you’re tagged in to the tickers of people you’re not friends with, allowing them to see or comment.
I decided to take a closer look at all of this within my own news feed and ticker…
Example One: I can see, and am given the option to comment/share an image that belongs to someone I’m not friends with, because they have tagged my friend.
(All names, and the actual photo have been covered to protect privacy.)
In my news feed, I see that my friend was tagged in a non-friend’s photo, with another of my non-friends. Note that in this version of the post, I am not given the option to like, comment or share:
Was this an isolated glitch, or is Facebook putting more emphasis on real-time sharing in the Ticker?
Let’s take a look at a different example of a tagged photo in the ticker…
Example Two: If a friend tags me in their post/picture, it will appear in the ticker of all of my friends and all of their friends.
(I used fewer cover-ups in this one because it’s for a good cause and I don’t think Gini will mind.)
Oh my goodness! The outrage! Why is Facebook violating our privacy like this?
While I can’t state definitively how any of the individuals above have chosen to set their privacy settings, I think it’s safe to assume that they have their content set to display to “friends of friends.”
Before the ticker, the “friends of friends” setting might have still seemed relatively private because, due to Facebook algorithms placing the most relevant content in the news feed, the content was not likely to actually hit the feed of all of those friends of friends. (Odd though…consider if you have 100 friends, and each of them have 100 friends, you have given Facebook permission to display that content to 10,000 people.)
With the news ticker, though, content is published as it happens, to all of those individuals.While the news ticker might be publishing all of your Facebook activity for more eyeballs, it still only displays information you’ve made available, via your privacy settings.
Don’t like what you see? Adjust your privacy settings.
- As pictured above, with every post, you have the option to select (and customize) the exact audience with whom you are willing to share it, or, from your Privacy Settings page, you can set default privacy settings for your content (especially helpful if you use a mobile device that doesn’t allow the privacy customization per post).
- Additionally, as I mentioned in my last post, Facebook has added new privacy controls for the content in which you are tagged. (More on that below, too.)
- As always, you still have the option to select customized visibility of each of your photos or albums.
Concern #3: How is all of this going to show up in my Facebook Timeline?
Timeline organizes all of the content that you’ve ever shared into a convenient web page. There’s a place for status updates, photos, music – and, it’s all organized chronologically…that is, a full, historical record of your existence on Facebook (or, as the timeline indicates, your life, starting with day you were born) can now be accessed with a scroll and a click. (It was all there before, too, but now it’s easier to access.)
If you haven’t already switched to Timeline and don’t want to wait for the public rollout, you can get it by following these steps.
But, maybe you’re someone who was fairly public with your posts years ago and as your network grew, started locking things down. Those posts from back in the day will appear just as public as the day they were first created. You can, however, change the privacy settings of past posts individually (or, delete them entirely). If this seems too daunting, visit the privacy settings for “Limit the Audience for Past Posts” and click “Manage Past Post Visibility” to change the audience of all past posts from “public” to “friends.”
- Timeline Review (will be called Profile Review until you’ve switched to the new layout) to approve any photo or post you are tagged in before it appears on your wall.
- Tag Review to approve any tag by a non-friend before it shows up on your wall or feed.
This post is the second in a series of information on Facebook changes that will continue for as long as I still find them necessary. Stay tuned or subscribe if you’d like to see future posts.