Facebook once again makes a change that puts everyone’s seemingly private and friend-only intended posts at risk to be seen by anyone. Slowly, like a frog in a pot of boiling water, Facebook is achieving their goal that the social networking aspect of Facebook is lifted and it’s a wide open forum. I still firmly believe that the entire concept of friends and social isolation is not what Zuckerberg wants. No cliques, no isolation, nothing hidden from anyone then you don’t feel left out. Regardless of the reason, business or personal, Facebook has made a change that has blown open the door to your privacy, if you have not paid attention to your security settings.
Up until now the Facebook search has been extremely poor, you could only search your friend’s and even then the search was borderline useless in my opinion. The new search capability of Facebook now allows everyone to search all 2 TRILLION public posts, including all of your posts that are public.
Before if you had any public posts someone had to know about or directly search your name and go to your Facebook page to see your posts. Now they will appear in a search return. That embarrassing post of you after a few too many that was accidentally posted as public and rarely seen could now pop up in a ‘drunk pics’ search.
Here are the steps to remove past posts and setup your Facebook page to ensure your future posts will not be visible by anyone.
Removing Past Posts
I don’t know for sure but I would assume that personal Facebook pages post one of two ways, All Friends Only or All Public. I am sure there are people that select what posts that they want public on a post by post basis but very limited.
If you have not done this previously you can remove all your past posts in one of two ways. The first way is go through all your thousands of posts and choose which ones to make private, one by one. Good luck with that.
The easier way is to limit every past post to friends only, even if they were selected deliberately as public.
Go into your Facebook Privacy Settings and Tools and under the section Who can see my stuff? there’s a link called Limit Past Posts. Click this link and it will take every past post and limit it to friends. This will pop a warning that you are about to do that, because Facebook doesn’t like friends only communications, click through it to complete the process.
To make sure your posts going forward are to friends only you go into your Privacy Shortcuts, Expand Who can see my stuff? and then select Friends under Who can see my future posts?.
You can get more granular by blocking individuals from seeing certain things within your friends group, like an employer or co-worker you stupidly befriended or an annoying family member. These are not permanent settings, what you post something new you can click the little arrow in the right corner and select the audience for the post before you publish it.
Facebook is moving toward a global trending archive 100% dependent on public posts from the users. Facebook can now be used to get breaking news, trending topics, and latest updates on events without getting them from another source first. The more time you spend in Facebook the more ads you see, the more revenue Facebook gets. Adding a global search is a good business model and as a user I welcome it.
However, I will do what I can as long as I can to keep what I post between by friends out of the public’s eye and off any public search. I predict a time will come this openness to content get looser and loose until Facebook is more like Twitter that everything is public unless it’s a one to one DM or email.
Knowing how to protect what you want to stay between your social network will keep your potentially embarrassing events out of a strangers search.
End of Line.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.