Catch a wake-up on Face­book’s no­clothes-on night­mare

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA& MARKETING - WILL ORE­MUS

WASH­ING­TON: For the past six months a se­lect group of Face­book users have had a chance to try out the site’s hyped Graph Search func­tion. For those un­fa­mil­iar with it, Graph Search is like a stan­dard search func­tion, only more com­pli­cated. But the bot­tom line is that it in­dexes ev­ery­one’s pub­lic posts, likes, pho­tos, in­ter­ests, etc, to make them as easy as pos­si­ble for ev­ery­one else – from friends to exes to cops to ad­ver­tis­ers to your boss – to find.

Face­book opened Graph Search to a limited au­di­ence this year, but it’s rolling it out to ev­ery­one over the next cou­ple of weeks, start­ing this week. So if you were wait­ing for the right time to go through your pri­vacy set­tings and hide the em­bar­rass­ing stuff be­fore the whole world sees it, you can stop wait­ing. The right time is now.

Some have called Graph Search a pri­vacy night­mare, be­cause it takes in­for­ma­tion that was dif­fi­cult to find and makes it easy to find. For in­stance, if you for some rea­son hit “like” on the page of rad­i­cal Is­lamic cleric An­war al-Awlaki three years ago, your name and face might now pop up when some­one at the FBI gets the bright idea on a slow day to search Face­book for “peo­ple who like An­war al-Awlaki”.

If Graph Search is a pri­vacy night­mare, it’s like the kind in which you find your­self out in pub- lic with no clothes on. The bad news is that what’s seen can’t be un­seen.

But the good news is that it won’t hap­pen if you’re al­ready dressed. That is, Graph Search won’t take any in­for­ma­tion that you had set to pri­vate (or “friends only”) and turn it pub­lic. So, if you don’t want strangers to see your pro­file’s naughty parts, you can go to your Face­book pri­vacy set­tings right now and cover them up.

There’s an easy way and a dif­fi­cult way to do this. The (rel­a­tively) easy way is to click “limit past posts”, which will turn all of your old posts to “friends only” in a sin­gle swoop. But if you want some things to stay pub­lic, or to be vis­i­ble to friends of friends, you’ll need to do it the hard way, which is to click “use ac­tiv­ity log” and go through all your old posts one by one. Oh, and you’ll also want to dou­ble-check the pri­vacy set­tings on your “About” page, which con­trols who can see the ba­sic in­for­ma­tion on your pro­file. Again, the basics:

Go to your pri­vacy set­tings and check who can see your fu­ture posts and past posts.

To hide in­di­vid­ual posts or likes, click “use ac­tiv­ity log” and scroll through your his­tory, edit­ing the pri­vacy set­tings for each one.

To check who can see your pro­file in­for­ma­tion, go to the About page on your pro­file and click the “edit” but­ton next to each cat­e­gory. – Slate

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