Every CEO of a social network should be required to use the default privacy settings for all of their accounts on the service. - Anil Dash

Recently, a friend posted on a Facebook status about how concerned she was about privacy and who could see her posts. Unfortunately, over the past 4 years, Facebook has had over a dozen updates, “customizing” your privacy settings, more even without your content or sharing their updates with media. In fact, the latest update allows your “likes” and comments to be seen by friends of friends, even when other options are customized. Want to see for yourself? Go here and select, “Timeline Review.” I was surprised to learn that when I like a link it’s public information and I can’t change that setting. However, I tried to minimize my risk by selecting that my profile in unsearchable in search engines and only can be searched within Facebook by “friends.”

A little over a year ago, I detailed out Facebook’s latest security gaffe and the FTC’s ruling that Facebook would be monitored for 20 years and pay a steep fine. Just one week after their FTC settlement, Facebook had another privacy leak. Literally, I can’t make this stuff up. Will Facebook just continue to exercise their ability to change users’ settings whenever they’d like?

Case in point, the new “poke” app is not only being hailed as one of the greatest rip-offs seen in social media, but also a new way for Facebook to bungle your  settings. Randi Zuckerberg learned the hard waywhen one of her personal photos went public and was treated. Oh, the irony. Sadly, Randi’s privacy breach could have been prevented in privacy settings. Read on to learn more.

TheNextWeb published a post on Facebook’s new privacy customization  in late December.

“The changes — which were outlined in an ABC report earlier this month — are designed to give users easier access to and awareness of ways that they can control the privacy of their information on the site. A new privacy shortcut menu has been added to the main bar that runs across the site. There’s also a new ‘privacy settings and tools’ page that displays a simplified overview of privacy options  and lets users opt out of having content from their Timeline indexed by search engines.”

The article from TheNextWeb clearly details out the changes with helpful screenshots. Something that is missed, however, is that if you don’t often check your settings, you might be surprised by what has changed. Earlier in December, I checked my privacy settings and was shocked to see that everything was set to “Public.” I check weekly and had forgotten. I’m continuously amazed, that we allow Facebook to hold such power when they’ve proven themselves untrustworthy.

In late November, I had thought of deleting my profile but found out a deleted profile, still is cached and continues to be on-record for data. Someone on reddit suggested completely changing your facebook profile, (putting the wrong city, nickname, “likes,” and giving Facebook bad data.) Seemed like too much work just to mess with the algorithms. In other words, don’t just delete your profile, they’ll still retain all your data. (You can download the data Facebook archives by clicking here when signed in.)

We’re going to have to make a hard decision.  Do we ignore Facebook’s control on our data and privacy or do we leave the social platform? I’m often reminded anytime I click, “Agree” to terms and conditions that ANY program, ANY platform and ANY network could be the next Facebook. Even as a privacy fiend, I’m giving my data away far too easily.

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In 2013, you’ll see resources at the bottom of each post where I link to more than one news story. Although I embed links and give credit to sources, I believe we all should research what we read and learn all the facets of a story. To see what’s linked above, look below. 

Resources: 

TheNextWeb’s step-by-step guide to Facebook’s new settings: http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2012/12/20/facebook-starts-rolling-out-new-privacy-settings-making-it-easier-to-control-what-data-is-public/

Business Insider’s take on the “Poke” application:  http://www.businessinsider.com/snapchat-users-hate-facebook-poke-2012-12

GirlmeetsGeek’s 2011 step-by-step guided to privacy settings:  http://www.girlmeetsgeek.com/2011/12/12/dirty-data-will-facebook-ever-clean-up-its-privacy-violations/

Gizmodo’s article on Randi Zuckerberg:  http://gizmodo.com/5971918/watch-randi-zuckerberg-have-a-facebook-freakout-over-her-photo-going-viral