Facebook Privacy – How Safe Are You?

The idea of choosing the degree of privacy on Facebook was a welcome feature as it allowed you to choose who could view your profile, posts or add you as a friend. As a user, you could use the sliding scale to choose your visibility, for instance to everyone or to only me. Regarded as one of the social networks with the most granular controls, Facebook always laid claims that whatever was private remained private until the user chose otherwise.

facebook privacy

However, this may no longer be the case as some people state that Private Account is dead. This is being felt at a time when the Social Network has seen its original sharing decline by 21%. Truth is people have gotten tired of their privacy not being private after all and their accounts, posts and profile still being accessible by the public. To restore the lost trust, Facebook chose to give its users control over their privacy.But the final death knell has been struck.

In October, Facebook launched its latest upgrade that was meant to improve the sharing and experience. Users were now able to search the entire network via internal search engine. Public posts could be viewed by anyone on the network while private posts were privy to only friends and friends of your friends. But the private setting feature was entirely removed meaning that you had no control on who could see your posts.


Compared to other social networks, Facebook is relies mostly on network effects and it’s popular not because it is a top pick for celebrities and other public figures but because almost everyone is on it. The first noticeable change that affected privacy happened when the network did away with the highest privacy tier. Although you could still choose to hide your individual /private posts from the public, your Facebook Account was still public and anyone could see it.
This was certainly the start of the death of privacy in Facebook. Locking down the privacy settings ensures that only your friends or friends of your friends on the network can see your posts or add you as a friend. You could also keep your private information minimal by opening an account and only adding the minimum basics:your real name, email address and phone number. This is what is simply referred to as blanket block. But, with zero control over your privacy, how safe are you?

Do you know that its now possible for your account to found by simply searching your name? This is made possible by the ability to search the networks’s internal search engine with no restrictions. It doesn’t matter how unique your username is, whether you’ve never posted any content, or have no profile picture, or have no friends in common. Fact is you can be found by a person who simply types your name on the search engine.

What’s more worrying is that though your account may read private, clicking on your profile will offer a stranger lots of information concerning you. Who your friends are, what you have posted in the past or recently, who you follow, or the groups you’ve joined. The only consolation is that strangers can’t add you as a friend. However, they can still follow you and will be notified of any posts in the future. They can follow you because this feature falls under Followers and not Privacy.

Privacy in Facebook means that only your friends can look you up via your telephone number or email address.However, this isn’t the case as strangers can still find you because your private information isn’t so private after-all. The company feeds your personal details into its matching algorithm which is connected to the database. Strangers who upload addresses will therefore be able to find and follow you.

Facebook is said to use the little information on you to fill-up columns such as “Suggested Friends.” You will be shocked to find real people you have interacted with already on the column. These may include a previous work colleague, an author you once worked with, relatives and more. You may also come across distant-connections such as your step-father , cousin to your step-mother, and many others.

Facebook says that it aims at making the site user-friendly and always delivering on their promises. However, even the internet-savvy users still end-up providing their private details to the public unknowingly. This is mainly attributed to the site’s structure. For instance, the hide your friend option is neither in the Private settings or the general setting feature. You need to navigate to your profile page to access it.

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About Jennifer Reed