September 6, 2007

Facebook opens to Public Search - Save your Privacy

One of the great features of Facebook was privacy. You could be assured that what was in Facebook remained in Facebook. However, that illusion might be ending soon.
Facebook launched a “public listing search” which allows anyone to search for a specific person. The company says that the information being revealed through these listings is minimal and much less than the information available to someone logged into the Facebook network. Here is what I found when I logged in Facebook:In a month from now, these public listings are going to be find their way into search engine indexes. “We are giving users approximately one month to set their privacy options before we allow search engines to index these public search listings,” the company spokeswoman wrote in an email.

This development is going to strike fear in the hearts of teenagers, with 29,404 users in Jordan network today, when they find their information being available in search engines who just want to connect with their friends in close networks, don't necessary want to be found publicly.

According to Scott Karp from Publishing2.0, the problem for business users (which you can add to the other facebook problems for businesses), is that there’s not a lot of utility in having a public profile if the details are locked behind a garden wall that prospective business contacts are forced to scale in order to gain access.

Think broadly however, this is another small step in the overall erosion of personal privacy. I don't like the direction where all this is headed. We are slowly leaving digital litter all over the web, and some day it is going to cause problems.

What do you think?

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