Earlier today I started getting status updates from friends that read
If you don’t know, as of today, Facebook will automatically index all your publicly available info on Google, which allows everyone to view it. To change this option, go to Settings –> Privacy Settings –> Search –> then UN-CLICK the box that says ‘Allow indexing’. Facebook kept this one quiet. Copy and paste onto your status for all on your news feed.
Facebook’s chain letter detection kicked in (not sure if that was an automatic or manual process) to deter future exact duplicates of that status update. This made people all the more suspicious about why Facebook would be blocking their attempts to warn about Facebook privacy.
If you did wander over to the Facebook privacy page you’d see the following message from Facebook.
Worried about privacy? Your information is safe.
There have been misleading rumors recently about Facebook indexing all your information on Google. This is not true. Facebook created public search listings in 2007 to enable people to search for your name and see a link to your Facebook profile.
Security hoaxes have been around forever. Misconceptions about genuine security threats are tough to deal with. While Facebook has made some debatable privacy changes lately, I believe Facebook is right that the search settings are hardly new. What really matters is the security settings you place on you data.
When someone asks you to share information with everyone you know, as this dire warning did, unless its the Gospel of Jesus, I think your crap detector should be sounding the alarm. If the source is not a computer security expert stop and ask if it makes sense. If the source IS a computer security expert stop and ask if it makes sense and then make sure your wallet hasn’t been stolen by the security expert.
Search engines index Facebook status, but only the status that has the Everyone permission. If you’re going to freak out, do it by reviewing your privacy settings. You know, the privacy settings Facebook had you review this week. Everyone means everyone on the internet.