Attention: Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings

You knew it was coming. After this week’s announcement about Facebook’s designs on your digital footprints and social graph, there’s a new privacy option that defaults to Wide-Open. BTDT.

Here’s what you need to do:

(1) Login to your Facebook account. Go to Account -> Privacy Settings.

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(2) Select Applications and Websites -> Instant Personalization
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(3) Deselect

Allow select partners to instantly personalize their features with my public information when I first arrive on their websites

(4) You’ll get a pop-up window asking if you really want to do this. The “select” checkmark will remain enabled until you select “confirm”:

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(4) Note the caveat — this is insufficient to protect your personal information:

Please keep in mind that if you opt out, your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you block the application

What Does This Mean?
Facebook is presenting an easy and seductive way for other websites to tap into the huge network (400 million) that is Facebook. But do you really want a website — right now only yelp.comdocs.com, and pandora.com (but that’s just the beginning) — to have access to your Facebook date (and vice versa)?

From Facebook:

We’re working with select partners to enable a personal and social experience the moment you arrive on their websites. When you’re logged in to Facebook, these sites can personalize your experience using your public Facebook information.

This initiative is related to (but separate from) the “social plugins” functionality also announced this week. Social plugins make it easy for third-party websites to include Facebook’s Like button and comment functionality on their websites — with the information passing back to your Facebook account. So … if you Like or comment on a page on a third-party website, that action will be added to your public profile and also displayed to anyone (or any search engine) that visits the Facebook-enhanced website. Of course, if you never “vote” or comment using these tools, the information will not automagically be added to your Facebook profile.

There are other tools that websites can use to make it easy to “like” an article or make comments. If you visit a site that offers this interaction only using Facebook tools, my recommendation is to send them an email advising that you want to make the decision on how to interact with their website — that you want choices.

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2 thoughts on “Attention: Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings

  1. Pingback: On Trust and Privacy: Why I No Longer Trust Google | WiredPen

  2. Re. Facebook – now the Washington Post integration raises issues; lack of concern for user privacy seems an evident & uncomfortable trend at Facebook. Having reached the level of 400 million users plus suggests a commensurate level of responsibility to those users! FYI http://bit.ly/bNlKFH

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