facebook privacyFacebook will be rolling out new privacy settings allowing all users to be discovered via Graph Search.  Graph search was put in place in January of this year and it’s intent was to create a new form of searching and finding information about ourselves, our friends and others.

The new search, however, seems to be too much work and queries are not producing satisfactory results. The reason is because in order for Graph Search to work properly, the user needs to ask clever questions to get better answers.  For the user to find what they’re looking for, more qualifiers need to be added to the search, like the specific audience or source they want to search.  This type of search is opposite of what search engines, like Google, require to get you the same results.  A Facebook search would need to say “highest ranked website about the NFL” where Google would get you the same, if not better, results just by typing “NFL.”

So, how will this new change affect Facebook users?  First, your privacy settings will change dramatically.  The “who can look up your timeline by name” (the privacy feature that allowed users to opt out of being discoverable with Graph Search) feature will be phased out.  For users that did have this privacy setting enabled, a message will soon pop up on top of your News Feed to notify users they will soon be viewable within Graph Search.  Unless you don’t have a profile or cover photo, there’s not really a way to be totally hidden or anonymous on Facebook.  However, there are ways to deflect unwanted messages or friend requests.

Going forward, users will want to check their Privacy settings carefully to protect themselves in lieu of the Graph Search changes.  Here are 3 suggestions to ensure your profile is secure from Graph Searches.

  1. Change your future post settings – the first major change will come with choosing who can see your future posts.  Just go to your privacy settings and edit “Who can see your future posts” to a choice listed or to a customized setting.  Keep in mind that leaving this setting as “public” will mean anyone can see what you post and your Facebook profile isn’t restricted to friends.
  2.  Restrict Friend Requests and Inbox Options – You can choose who can send a friend request and who can send messages to you.  In the Privacy Settings, users can choose if they receive friend requests from everyone or friends of friends.  You can also choose to only receive messages from friends in your “inbox.”  Messages from those that are not friends with you would be kept in the “other” box.
  3. Change Past Post Settings – If your Facebook profile has been set to public and you’re now restricting who can view your stuff to just your friends, you can now limit who can see your past posts.  In the “Privacy Settings”, just click “Limit Past Posts” and then agree to the prompt.  All of your past public posts will then be set to friends only.  Profile pictures and cover photos will remain public.

The news feed will be redesigned and a Privacy Shortcut will show on the left sidebar next to your name. You will also be able to check and see how your profile looks to specific friends or users outside of your network right from your timeline by clicking on the cog on the bottom right of your cover photo and select “View As.”  Here, you will be able to see what others see when they click on your page.

If your settings remain as “public,” your Facebook posts, photos and information will show up in other users Graph Search results.  Limiting who can see your Facebook information will also limit who’s searches results you show up in.

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