New Facebook Search – Time to Check Your Privacy Settings?

Way back in January, we posted about Facebook’s announcement of a coming new search engine they were calling Graph Search.

Well, it’s finally here.

Click here to see Facebook’s official Introduction to Graph Search. It’s a nice-looking overview, and if for some reason the new search isn’t active on your Facebook page yet, you can click the Try Graph Search button at the bottom of the page to activate it.

Privacy Shortcut menu on Facebook

But before you go play around with Facebook’s new Graph Search engine, you might first want to review your own Facebook presence and change some of your privacy settings.

Why? Because the new Facebook search indexes your public posts, your likes, your photos, all your interests and other data you’ve shared on Facebook – and it makes all your information as easy as possible for everyone else on Facebook to find.

So, if you don’t want your boss, your ex-wife, your neighbor, or anyone else – even if they are not your friends – to have access to all your Facebook information, you should take some time to review your Facebook account and your privacy settings. Here’s how to do it:

Reviewing & Changing Your Facebook Privacy Settings

  1. Sign in to Facebook.
  2. ClicFacebook Privacy Shortcut iconk the lock icon at the top of your page (show to the right) to open your Privacy Shortcuts menu (shown above).
  3. Click Who can see my stuff? to open some privacy options.
  4. Click the first option if you want to change who can see your future posts (Friends, Close Friends, Public, etc.).
  5. Click the next Privacy Shortcut option (Use Activity Log) if you want to go back and review the visibility of all of your past Facebook activity (old posts, comments, photos, likes, etc.). This is where you can make individual changes and delete items you don’t want to show up in future searches. Click the pencil icon to “unlike” previous likes (of photos, posts, businesses, etc.) or to delete posts and photos, or change the timeline status of previous posts. Click the people icon next to any post for which you want to change the audience, for example, from Public to Friends. On the left side of this Activity Log page you can also click Photos to manage who can see photos you’ve uploaded or been tagged in. If you don’t want people to find photos of you that your friends have tagged, you can untag yourself.
  6. The next option in your Privacy Shortcuts is called View As. Click that link if you want to see what other people see on your timeline. You can see what your Facebook page looks like to the Public (people you don’t know) or specific people.
  7. To change who can see what on your page, click the Update Info button on your Cover image (you can also click the About link). You can then go section by section down your page to specify who gets to see this information. Below your personal information, you’ll see sections like Music, Movies, Books, etc. Click the pencil icon to hide any of these sections or to change your privacy settings for the section. Your choices here will affect what of yours comes up in other people’s Graph Searches, like People who like Comic Books.
  8. If you want to quickly limit who can see all of your past posts, rather than change the settings one by one on the Activity Log page, click the gear icon in the upper right and choose Privacy Settings from the menu. On this Privacy Settings and Tools page, click the Limit Past Posts link if you want to change all the past content that you’ve shared to the Friends setting. Your Activity Log lets do this for individual posts, which gives you more control, but it takes more time. This option lets you do it all in one click (really two, since they warn you and make you click again).

Facebook has some handy videos and other information explaining some of these search privacy issues.

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