Batten down the hatches, clean up your profile, and tighten up that belt, the unwashed hordes are coming for your information and they’ll be at your doorstep before you know it. This Thursday, Palo Alto-based Facebook announced they would be retiring the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” privacy setting for good, which means that anyone who’s interested in finding out more about you will have a front row seat to your social media profile, even if sign up to sell tickets to the show.
Early last year Facebook removed the feature outright for all users, sending out a notice that if they wanted their timeline and its content to remain private from here on out they would need to specify the level of privacy manually in the Privacy section of the options. Personally I’ve been unsearchable by anyone I don’t explicitly know since the day this policy went into effect, but now even users like myself have been forcibly pooled into an indexable, searchable, browsable pool without any say as to what random people can find out with nothing more than a click of their mouse.
When confronted with the obvious question of “why”, the company responded by suggesting that instead of being upset they’re removing our privacy, we should instead “choose the audience of the individual things you share” more carefully.
In the end, technically it’s their website and they are free to do with it as they please. I’ve willingly contributed the information they have on me, and although there are many different socio-cultural reasons for maintaining a presence on the site, my profession also requires I maintain some sort of user base and profile with them. Much like cover letters and resumes go together in any professional interview, maintaining a straight face on a website like Facebook is now as much a requirement as an email account, or profile on LinkedIn.
Because of these constraints, protecting yourself from the index and keeping your data safe from those who might try to use websites like Facebook to locate you, your files, and the digital memories you care about most is more important than ever. Use a VPN service like BolehVPN to keep the lookie-loos at bay, and stay under the radar of advertisers, hackers, and malware distributors alike.