Facebook, what about the tree of trust?

Now that both Google and Bing have access to Facebook status updates, should you be concerned about the privacy of your posts?  Of course you should… you need to control how the information you share is being rebroadcast or accessed by others. You probably don’t want to see your private information randomly appearing in a stranger’s search results.

Remember the therapy scene in Old School, where the marriage counselor says:  “This is a safe place, a place where we can feel free sharing our feelings… a nest in a tree of trust and understanding… we can say anything.”  Then after the information is exposed (on major search engines, in your case), your reaction is going to be similar to Will Ferrell’s:  “What? I thought we were in the trust tree, in the nest.  Are we not?”

While it’s an interesting concept (indexing status updates on Facebook), it’s contradictory to the purpose of a closed circuit social network.  Since Google currently only has access to the public Facebook Pages – which are vehicles for marketing rather than personal content, it doesn’t appear pose an immediate personal threat.  Bing on the other hand, does have full access to this personal data, since Microsoft has an investment in Facebook and provides the site’s search functionality.

Fortunately there are methods to restrict search engine access to certain information.  It’s highly recommended to take some time and review your Facebook > Account > Account Settings and Privacy Settings.  There are many options to restrict all of your information including photos, posts, comments, etc to only friends.  Take full control of your social media usage.  Understand your options and use settings that you are comfortable with.

What are your thoughts on search engines displaying status updates?  Is this a positive trend?

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