Staying Private on the New Facebook

How to guard your information on Facebook in light of the new search tool that lets strangers discover who you are, what you like and where you go.

Comments: 196

  1. Here's another solution that don't require a cup of tea or hot chocolate since it won't take long: delete your FB profile. That's what I did. Although the deletion process takes up to two weeks, I"m relieved I won't have to deal with this privacy issues. FB is slowly getting worse. I had my profile back in 2004 when the company was born. When I couldn't find any easy solutions to delete all my messages, some of them embarrassing, I got out of the whole thing while I still can. Someday, FB will make it impossible for users to delete their profiles. And nobody will be able to do anything about it.

  2. Here's the basic rule of thumb: Don't put anything on Facebook or anywhere else that you wouldn't want others to see and you'll be fine.

    Personally, I would never post a photo of me eating ricotta at midnight; in fact, I never post a photo of myself at all and I am very cautious about my opinions and anything else I write.

    If you understand that everyone in the world for the rest of time can instantly see what you post is a good enough motivator for me to be very, very cautious about what I upload to Facebook or anywhere else.

  3. Simple security tip: Never use Facebook. That's the only secure method.

  4. Very helpful though do not be surprised when Facebook changes their policies yet again 6 months down the road, and then again, and so on.

  5. This is useful information, Mr. Sengupta. Facebook purposely makes privacy settings difficult to get to.

    But the best way to not be found out on Facebook is to never open an account there in the first place.

    On all "free" Web 2.0 products such as Facebook, as well as all Google apps and services such as its famous search box, YOU ARE THE PRODUCT. These no-cost services are supported not only by visible advertising, but also by your browsing behaviors, which are relentlessly tracked and recorded without your awareness.

    It is these web browsing behaviors which are sold to other companies who want to know where you are going, what you are doing and which sites you are visiting on the web. This Faustian bargain is being made willingly by millions of web users every day. The Gen X, Gen Y, and the Millennial generation used to say they didn't care about such invasions of privacy, but some of them are changing their minds about this now.

    It is not a matter of if a major hack of the Facebook website occurs, exposing millions of people's private information to the hackers. It is only a matter of when it happens, and who does what with the information once they have it. I'm guessing it will be after a Facebook employee who forgets his or her work laptop in a Starbucks somewhere, and it falls into the wrong hands.

  6. Ms. Sengupta. It's a chick writing about technology. Go figure.

    (Oddly, eating ricotta with her fingers is what tipped me off...)

  7. You're assuming that the risks are not balanced by utility to the user.

    Getting into a car every day is also risky, yet the benefits of using a car (e.g., getting to work) outweigh the risks to me.

    I find Facebook to be invaluable for keeping in touch with family and friends, many of whom are scattered around different parts of the world. I also use it for online book clubs and discussion groups. There's no online equivalent with better privacy protections, so I make the best of it and try to lock down my privacy settings as much as possible.

  8. This problem also exists at Huffington Post; which I considered a very beneficial news source when they began and we were still selectively using fora of our choice at the The latter has changed their format several times. People who became overly aggressive can at least be eliminated from following you to facebook where and when you eliminated their being allowed entrance when you first begin posting at facebook. Which I did with severall people who make it a habit to troll and then borrow and bowdlerize from your posts, That type often cruises the web to see if they can discover your presence. They will imaginatively fictionize some hapless circumstance that happened to them; with the basic bottom line:"send money! I will pay you back when I return home"(after a putative purse snatcher grabbed purse or small piece of luggage containing tickets, money or checkbook, passport; and, the French gov't or whomever will not help them out,as the usual excuse, which forces them to remain for at least three days. I thought about this and then called K street in Washington,D.C. to find out if this was indeed true. These inventive fellow-posters prefer to work in little cliques like little high-school girls in a group. They are often invasive in other formats that have interests far beyond their own. But they suppose they may discover more suckers.

  9. Actually, a total refusal to use Facebook *isn't* sufficient to protect your privacy. You also have to tell (beg, plead with) all your friends, family and people like your kids' teachers and camp counselors never to upload photos of you or your kids or tag your name or theirs to anything.

    You can still be snapped and uploaded while in public, but at least (unless you're a celebrity) that probably won't identify you by name. (And if you're a celebrity, you've already decided to live with very little privacy.)

  10. You can control Facebook tagging, .

    Click on Privacy Settings; look to the left and click on Timeline and Tagging Settings. Look for the box: "How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?" Click on edit and check the options you prefer.

    For "Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?", I have mine set to "enabled"

    For "When you're tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren't already in it?" I've set to "Friends" (but you can set to "only me" or "custom"

    For "Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?" I've set to "no one"

  11. You can file a complaint with Facebook about tagging. I did just that over someone who tagged photos of my daughter without my permission. They responded in a very timely manner and were willing to help.

  12. You can't "tag" someone who isn't on Facebook, so I'm not sure I understand that particular part of this complaint. A tag is just a link to your profile. If you don’t have a profile, you can't be tagged.

  13. I find Facebook's privacy intrusions completely obnoxious, especially as they take away more and more of the options that attracted so many of us. It's no longer possible to expect to see the things you signed up for - friends' posts and the organizations that you've liked - without extensive machinations. The advertising and promoted posts make for a terrible model. I'd rather pay a nominal fee to see what I want to see, and not what Facebook wants me to see.

    That said, I think the worst thing about Facebook is not the privacy issue but the complacency issue. A user starts to think that liking an article is the same as being an activist; that you have an authentic relationship with people you only see on Facebook; and that looking at things made or written by other people is the same as taking original and creative action.

    I'm not throwing stones here. I'm a heavy Facebook user and increasingly wondering how to use it effectively in a way that doesn't usurp my entire life. I don't like to use the language of addiction but it seems accurate here, and withdrawal will be challenging.

  14. It just does not stop with these people, does it? I got off fb a couple of privacy letups ago, so, big deal, I don't get to "friend" someone I haven't seen since high school. If they were worth it, they would've kept in contact with me.

  15. Simple: close down facebook accounts. Protect your privacy and save your new free time to share with those you genuinely care about.

  16. But Susan, where does one go to close down an account? Several years ago I found a site where one could read out-of-print books but one needed to have a Facebook account so I innocently signed up. Thereafter I have never used Facebook but daily Friends requests arrive. I WANT OUT but how?

  17. What if those you care about live hundreds (or thousands) of miles away? I have a huge family and many good friends scattered around the world. I've also moved around several times myself in the last few years, leaving behind close friends in other states. Facebook is an absolute godsend for chatting and keeping in contact with people.

    I am very aware of the privacy issues with Facebook, and I still find it enormously valuable. Using simple common sense will prevent most problems in the privacy department.

  18. You forgot the simplest approach. Don't use Facebook.

  19. My Strategy is SIMPLE - delete the account.

  20. What Tom said first: Don't be on Facebook.

  21. What is my strategy for protecting my privacy on Facebook? How about never using the site!? Works for me!

  22. Question 5. Why not just stop using Facebook?

  23. That makes too much sense. Facebook is a total waste of time and serves absolutely no useful purpose.

  24. @ Kathryn Cox-

    To you, perhaps. Obviously, millions of other people do find it useful.

  25. Every year there is an issue with Facebook and privacy. How many times do we have to make our information private?

  26. I left Facebook last year, and I am not sure if I am going to "restore" my personal account any time soon. I remember that when I joined Facebook, maybe seven years ago, I was very excited by the prospect of keeping in touch with people around me, or even reconnecting with people from the past. While that notion is still prevalent, perhaps in a more hyperreal way, the notion of privacy has been threatened and even eroded by the new features and interfaces that Facebook introduced over the years. To the article I might also point out that the feature "live feed" accelerated the notion of the invasion of privacy, as we are forced to read others' posts, whether we like it or not.

    I found it a sign to leave the Facebook when I realized that I was "unsubscribing" to "friends'" posts more than reading them. If I have to ignore, even block people's posts, am I really friends with them? As the article rightfully points out at the end, the term "friend" is really misleading. Keeping in touch with people is a great thing to do, of course, but the notion of having to rely on a virtual networking site on the internet, just to keep oneself companied by the illusion of having hundreds, or even thousands of "friends," is something I find rather alarming.

  27. The best strategy is to curate constantly, review your (privacy) settings on an ongoing basis, and, to accept that anything you do online is "public." If you do not want it known, do not post it to begin with, because once you do, there is no guarantee that it will not be copied or re-posted, or, worse that the site will be hacked at some point in time.

  28. As a single man, I keep a semi-active FB account as a personal resume on the internet - much as I keep a LinkedIn account as a professional presence for any potential Google-er. BUT I DON'T POST ANYTHING PRIVATE ON FB, including my birthday, which is a key piece of info for ID thieves. This teapot wouldn't contain such a tempest if folks would just exercise common sense, but that's not so common nowadays (as witnessed by the bunch of buffoons we have voted into Congress - the enemy is us, make no mistake).

  29. As a single man, I keep a semi-active FB account as a personal resume on the internet - much as I keep a LinkedIn account as a professional presence for any potential Google-er. BUT I DON'T POST ANYTHING PRIVATE ON FB, including my birthday, which is a key piece of info for ID thieves. This teapot wouldn't contain such a tempest if folks would just exercise common sense, but that's not so common nowadays (as witnessed by the bunch of buffoons we have voted into Congress - the enemy is us, make no mistake).

  30. I deleted my Facebook account years ago due to nonsense like this. I have a "fake" account so that I can get certain offers, etc. But nothing else.

  31. My wife and I joined FB and lasted less than a week. We're from the "Old School" and found the gossip and behavior unbearable. A mini version of the "Housewives of Atlanta" where everyone has something to say yet no-one cares but them. It also appears the term "friends" has become meaningless, something you can turn on and off depending on your mood. I can only imagine how confused teenagers are today, trying to navigate relationships in such an environment.

  32. Wow...I'm not really old school (in my 30s), but I've never seen much in the way of gossip or bad behavior. Not that it's not out there, but if you choose your Facebook friends as carefully as you choose your in-person friends, you can avoid it.

  33. I'm actually remarkably impressed with my facebook friends. Most of them are fairly interesting and the ones who are overly dramatic usually aren't overly dramatic at anyone in particular (and there's only one or two out of...700). Maybe you need to be a little more picky about your real life friends.

  34. I doubt FB can boast about 1 billion users. Many are like you and some simply abandon the site, instead of deleting their accounts. I just decided never to have one since I keep my business as private as possible. From what I've seen and heard, it is much like the drama show you described and I view their members like ants crawling in and out of a mound, just blindly following the one in front of them.

  35. If people don't use Facebook at all, not sure why they're reading an article about Facebook privacy, let alone adding the largely unhelpful "don't do that".

    I have several reasons to keep using Facebook in spite of my general distaste with the company's cavalier approach to privacy. I live on another continent from one part of my family and on the other side of the US from another part. I work (freelance) with a group of people based all over the world. Facebook has provided some great tools (along with the frustrations) for us to keep in touch.

    I don't use Facebook to keep in touch with my immediate family (although Skype and Facebook are great when my husband is traveling) . There's nothing inauthentic about Facebook relationships; they're just different.

    If Facebook's pain outweighs its usefulness, I'll drop it. I'm sure they'll get greedy enough to get to that point, but they haven't yet

  36. I have never been a Facebook user, but I read these articles and comments to reinforce the wisdom of my initial decision never to use it! If the constant changing of privacy settings, isn't enough reason to avoid it, then nothing else is!

    The only way to avoid being "Zucked Over" is not to play the game!

  37. @ Jo Ann “...largely unhelpful don't do that.”

    I'm unemployed and looking for work, but I refuse to use social media because of privacy issues. Last week I saw a job posting on Craigslist that said: “To network for future opportunities, please visit:” followed by a hotlink to Linkedin (a password protected social media site). Evidently, I have to join Linkedin or this company won't consider me for a job.

    Once companies start requiring employees to use social media, these systems will no longer be voluntary. Social media is a menace that needs to go away.

  38. @ _W_- "Social media is a menace that needs to go away."

    That's extremely unlikely, and one crotchety refusenik is not going to bring down the whole system. If you're unemployed (which I've experienced myself in the past) and serious about getting a job, you need to use all the tools that are out there.

  39. I simply cannot help but wonder how people have the time to do all of this constant grazing and editing and posting and securitizing their electronic lives! I am no luddite, but I commute/work 11 hours a day, stop at a gym three times a week, am always catching up on daily chores (who is doing YOUR laundry?), and flop down at 10pm to watch a little TV and zonk out for another day at the races. Weekends are spent taking care of things put aside during the work week. It blows me away people have time for nonstop monitoring of their electronic lives. I guess everybody but me has a maid?

  40. Yet, here you are, monitoring an electronic newspaper article, and commenting electronically on how you don't have time to have an "electronic" life.

  41. I use the time others spend bragging about their time-management skills to check Facebook for five or ten minutes a day. Simple!

  42. I assume your 11-hour workday includes posting (electronic) comments on the New York Times...?

    I assure you, I don't have a maid, and do my own laundry, etc. I make the time to catch up with my friends and family online, because I enjoy it.

  43. Is there a social network where I can post information for "friends", that will help me keep in touch with people I want to keep in touch with, that doesn't turn around and then OWN and use and potentially abuse my personal information for their financial gain?

    Please advise.

  44. To my knowledge, there is no such network. And worse, there won't be until people are willing to pay for it with their money instead of their information.

  45. Yes, it's called "life"!

    With personal, face-to-face interactions with real live "friends"!

  46. There is a network: email. You can send pictures and messages to more than one person at a time you know.

  47. Don't use Facebook. The social networking model has been usurped by marketing and profit motives. It is possible to have a facebook-type site that has perfect complete privacy as the default. If Facebook was truly honorable they would take this approach.

  48. The profit motive isn't new, and it's not evil. I don't like everything Facebook does, but it's a company, and they've never pretended that making a profit wasn't one of their goals.

  49. Gasp. Marketing and profit-making motives, in America??

    I enjoy the services that Facebook, Gmail, etc. provide, and I think it's a pretty good deal that I don't have to pay out of pocket for them. I keep my privacy settings as tight as possible, but I use them in the full knowledge that they're looking to make a profit somehow. That doesn't make them inherently evil.

  50. I have to say- some of these posts are pretty silly. "If you want to be secure, don't use facebook?"

    Fine, but some of us enjoy using facebook and would like some tips to control our privacy. This was a very good article in this regard and the birthday tip was an interesting one especially. I appriciate this kind of advice.

    It's very, very easy to trash facebook, and you can probably get a lot of likes on the New York times website by doing so. That said

    1.) I don't know of a better way to stay in touch with close friends that you've moved hundreds or thousands of miles away from. With facebook you can read similar articles and have discussions based on them.

    2.) Facebook stores hi-res copies of photos indefinitely and gives you control over who can see them. That's a lot of server space per user, and you don't have to pay for it.

    3.) Facebook makes disseminating difficult news a lot easier. We have a friend through a large weekly social gathering based on a common interest. We don't live near them, or see them outside the class, but that's still a weekly contact. They recently had a family member (also in the class) diagnosed with a serious type of cancer. Because Facebook lets them give status updates of how treatment is going and triumphs and setbacks, the entire group is on the same page and is being very sensitive to their needs. That would have been tough to do discreetly in a pre-facebook world.

  51. Really, status updates of life's events could have been done through email, txts, or god forbid-phone calls to the group. What Fbook does is make it easier to update multiple people and in a way that is not one-on-one or face-to-face. So, easier at the cost of exposure...

  52. "Fbook does is make it easier to update multiple people and in a way that is not one-on-one or face-to-face."

    But what's the problem with that?

    If a friend of mine is struggling with a daunting challenge, I want to know about it. I think most people are the same. But I don't want them to have to go through the stress of calling or texting or emailing each individual person. With facebook it's "here's the deal, i'm going through this." Now everyone knows and can be a lot more helpful instead of in the dark.

    I don't think that's impersonal at all. There's people in your life, who ten years ago, you'd never tell this stuff to. They'd either be unaware or find out about it through gossip. This is a better way.

  53. Spot on, Tim.

  54. BTW there should be some control for a minimum age on these and similar websites.

    Videos on a web page should not start playing without the viewer agreeing to that.

  55. Facebook and other sites do set a minimum age for opening an account. (Though kids can and do lie about their age). They can close your account if you violate their terms and conditions.

  56. At a certain age you just no longer care -- no one is looking for you any more, and FB is a great way to keep in contact with real and virtual friends. It functions as an alternative to the mass media and is a terrific way to share images.

  57. When I joined facebook I set privacy settings for things like tagging my photo (prohibited) and who can see posts (friends, friends of friends etc). Of course that was years ago and umpteen privacy policy changes ago. So does that mean I need to do that allover again and every game they make changes? Very aggravating.

  58. Yup. It's a good idea to go in every couple of months and check. They like to change things without telling you and opt you in by default.
    It's a better idea to delete your account entirely.

  59. All of this talk about 'privacy settings' on Facebook is pure social-media propaganda. The only way to protect your privacy is to stop using their service altogether.

    The plain fact is that there are no State or Federal laws to insure that they will actually abide by any settings you select. And if there were, it would mean that Facebook would have to store and distribute your data only within the geographical limits of the various State or Federal law-making bodies. Their system does not have that ability.

    Until there are universal privacy laws, this company can and will do whatever it pleases. There is no reason for them to avoid selling, trading or giving away your data, your personal identity, and your Constitutional right under the 4th amendment against searches of your private papers.

  60. The greatest tools for protecting your privacy is self-control and sound judgment. Why would ANYONE post photos of themselves drunk? Or talk about doing drugs? Or go off on a violent rant about this politician or that American Idol winner? Just ask yourself, "How would I feel if my boss/grandmother/co-workers/etc. saw this?" Ninety percent of the time, that will keep you from posting things you shouldn't. And if you never post that junk, you will never have to spend hours cleaning up your timeline when you apply for a new job or go out on a blind date. People need to understand that Facebook is what you make it. You can CHOOSE what to share online and what not to. No app, browser extension or privacy settings will protect you as well as good judgment.

  61. As the article highlights, sometimes OTHER people post photos of you drunk. You have no control over other people. How long was that photo available to the public before you "untagged" yourself from it? This is why I recommend everyone check the option that requires approval from the individual tagged in a photo before their name becomes attached to it.

  62. @JM, if someone posted a photo of you drunk, you were either drunk in public or one or your friends violated your trust. Not Facebook's fault or problem in either case: these are embarrassments that occurred pre-internet, just not as easily or quickly. What part of "You are responsible for your own actions and behavior" do you not understand? Don't get drunk enough to produce an embarrassing photograph if you don't want one taken and possibly published! That has been the case at least since cameras were invented!

  63. Fbook counts on poor judgment, of course.

  64. Had to laugh when after reading this article and then the comments to see the ubiquitous link to share the article on Facebook.

    My experience with Facebook is that all this privacy invasion stuff is highly exaggerated. And if you can't figure out on your own how easy it is to adjust the settings on your account then maybe you've got bigger problems than who reads your Facebook posts.

  65. First, give as little information as is necessary to participate, and remember that the information you provide doesn't have to be 100% accurate.

  66. Did you all notice that if you click "recommend" on one of the comments, you are given the option to upload it guessed it - Facebook! We can't escape it!

  67. Facebook privacy is an oxymoron.

  68. Questions 1-4 are all the same. Why should I waste my time with Facebook. It has always been a tool for marketers and not for users. It has always made its own decisions about what IT thinks users want, but those decisions seem always to be marketing oriented.

    And worst of all, it is a giant waste of time as well as a gigantic risk.

    Wake up world. Facebook is NOT your friend. Assume that everything you post on it (and stuff your supposed "friends" post on it about you) can and will eventually wind up in the computers of marketers, hackers or the authorities.

    The ultimate way to protect yourself is to resign your membership.

  69. How do I resign my "membership"?

  70. I find it to be an extremely useful tool, both for keeping up with loved ones and for meeting people who share my interests for discussions.

    Plenty of people use it responsibly and have nothing to worry about from (e.g.) "the authorities". I'm talking with my friends about their day, not posting plans for my assassinations of foreign dignitaries...

  71. What is my strategy for privacy on facebook? How about just falling to my knees and begging them to do the right thing and stop suddenly compromising its users involuntarily? After reading this article I went to "What can other people see on my timeline", view "Public" and voila: the entire FB public can view every item in my my timeline since the beginning of my FB history! That is a privacy freakout I didn't see addressed in this article (although Question 1 pointed me in the right direction). I thought all this was addressed by FB during their last privacy invasion scare, around two years ago or such, but it looks like they've gone back to their bad old ways.

  72. Sounds like you never adjusted your privacy settings.

  73. This is the hobby that became a chore that turned into a threat. You can thank Zuckerberg and Facebook for that.

    I'm sure Facebook seemed a great idea to people when it first launched. After years of hearing that we should never reveal our true identities online unless we had to or knew all the security risks, along comes a site that turns the Web into a friendly forum. Re-discover old friends! Make new ones! Dig into hobbies and gaze at the multicolored tapestry of the world!

    Facebook is now merely letting us all in on the flip side to all this openness: the company wants to sell your information and identity to marketers. It's been slowly introducing this project for years now, like a cook slowly turning up the heat under the proverbial frog in the pot.

    Take a look again at the length of this NYT advisory on Facebook and the amount of work you have to do to protect your personal information. Isn't it weird and frightening that you have to all this work for a hobby or pastime? What will Facebook have to do for you to get it out of your life entirely?

    At this point, dear reader, you may not be able to. Oh, take a look at the end of this article: yes, there's that Facebook logo. You're being tracked even as you're reading about how to close the barn door, after thieves have waltzed in and stolen your horse.

  74. I have perfect Facebook security: I don't use it. Although I wonder if that's enough.

  75. It's not. Your friends and family can post pictures of you and talk about you in your absence. You'd never know as only FBers can search FB.

  76. Eventually down the road there will be a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit -certain there is someone or a few someones in the plaintiffs bar looking into the possibility

  77. I cancelled my Facebook account a few days after I got it when I started to get responses from people I didn't know to messages I sent to friends. I realized then that I would just use plain vanilla email to communicate. Seems FB isn't interested in abiding by it's own privacy rules. I'm not on FB and I haven't felt "deprived" at all!

  78. It kills me reading the NY Times comments every time a piece about social media is published. I'm not sure republicans in congress get as much ire as Mark Zuckerberg from the readership here.

    Honestly. I'm a long-term, hard-core fb user. I tailor my privacy settings to where I feel comfortable, I don't post drunk pictures (and monitor others' tags), and - yes, I'm really saying this - I MUCH prefer tailored ads and marketing.

  79. The curmudgeons do seem to be out in force today, don't they?

  80. Facebook provides an easy way to stay in touch with people whom I care about, but whom I can't see in person very often. This includes my childrens' college-bound friends and both friends and family who live far away.

    I had a FB account for a couple of years, which I used to keep in touch with quite a number of people whom I like, but with whom I temporarily didn't have a lot to talk about. I grew increasingly frustrated with FB's privacy policies and infringements, though, so I deleted the account completely.

    Two years later I returned. I realized that I missed knowing what was going on with these distant friends, and FB was far and away the best way to stay in touch. I set up a brand new account, but I try to be very circumspect regarding what I "like" and what I post.

    I also make a point of logging out of FB when I'm not actively checking it, I've "blacklisted" on all the other websites I use, and I only use FB from my computer, never from anyone's iPad or cell phone. (I use the noscript extension to Firefox to blacklist sites.) I'm not 100% certain, but I think this has minimized by "information exposure" to FB. In any event, the ads and events it offers me are very poorly targeted, so it must not know a great deal?

    FB does provide a useful service. Is it worth it? Maybe. But it will continue to take advantage of users until and unless Congress decides to catch up with Europe regarding electronic privacy laws.

  81. I hope you blacklisted, cause doesn't exist.

  82. Here's a little tip for those of you who still don't get it: THE ENTIRE INTERNET is a public place. Yes, there are encrypted, "safe" portals for doing banking and commerce, but otherwise you are as public an entity as you are on a public street. It's a public place; act accordingly or suffer the consequences. In fact, I have found FB to be a great filter for revealing which potential new friends don't have a clue, feel entitled, have judgement issues, etc. And anyone who thought a free social site wouldn't try and find ways to market the content is so foolish they will likely be a victim of some "old-school" crime soon enough. Grow up complainers! Facebook and the internet and the world don't owe you a darn thing! I'm beginning to think we 40-somethings are far more sophisticated users of the web than anyone who grew up with it. We were taught judgement and critical thinking; I don't know what they are teaching in school nowadays after reading so many entitled, ridiculous, asinine complaints in these posts.

  83. Sure. We're young enough to be comfortable with the technology, but old enough to remember when it wasn't there and to have some perspective.

  84. Must of my stuff is portrayed in Big*Brother's Double^Talk/Double*Speak; That is, my FB friends aren't my true friends', only gals with permission to search my body, not my soul. My ideas are hidden in an array of true/false statements; sort of binary index 4 dummies. I don't pay attention to marketing managers, Gov officials (Except my leader:POTUS#44), tombos',.....or anyone else. In short, I don't take it so seriously. I won't get a heart attack, a brain damage, stress,........over none of it. All I wish to know is: To Buy/Not to Buy..Calls, Puts, on the stock. Comprende?

  85. Articles on FB always seem to draw a lot of negative comments. If you distrust FB, but like having a means to carry on a conversation and share files electronically, then you might be interested in trying ThreadThat dot com. It is free and was developed to facilitate threaded conversations (like the ones you have on FB) using end-to-end encryption without the hassle of figuring out how to implement encryption. The only personal info you give to ThreadThat is an email address. You own your content and can permanently delete anything you post at any time. Account deletion is complete, instant and irreversible.

  86. Good lord! It seems like I see one of these articles at least once a year, and this one offers the most difficult steps yet.

  87. I am always amazed how people blame other persons or entities for what are only their responsibility. Why would you '(be-) friend'someone you don't know?

    I made a mistake to accept someone I didn't only because they seemed to share a common interest in something I am passionate about. It quickly became evident that I was mistaken about this one's motives as they began literally (ie with words on a keyboard) abusing someone I admire on my FB page and on who's list of friends one can find my name. I learned how to 'unfriend' (aha! unfriend is NOT a recognized word according to spell check -thought not!) and to block them from being able to contact me. Lesson learned: I will not confirm a request from anyone I do not know again.'

    I've know never to put personal information on a web page because if I can locate something on the web, so too can someone else. Would I really want 56, 799 people knowing that I left the key under my doormat because I've gone to Algeria for six months? I hardly think so.

    It would appear that use of common sense is the key to utilizing sites like FB.

  88. It absolutely amazes me that people put their home address in their public information.

  89. Somehow, a FB account got opened in my name with one friend, whose computer account had been "zombied".

    How do I close this when I do not have any password to get in?

    Naturally, FB has no way to reach them, that I know of.

    Any suggestions?


  90. Same thing happened to me. You can never leave. FB will eventually deactivate the account, but when people search, it's still there. Then for the rest of your life you have to deal with people asking "why did you ignore my invite on FB?"

  91. Maybe some of us are missing an upside here.

    If people are concerned that even others can/will post images of their inappropriate behaviors such as public intoxication, road rage, and just general stupidity will these behaviors decline?

    Spring break is just around the corner, where is a Sociologist when you need one?

  92. I'm the FB generation, and work in technology and I just don't see any good reason to be on facebook. I have a dummy account that I use for work ("You have to check out the social marketing that XXX Corp. is doing!"), but the cost/reward of putting your real information up there is so ridiculously lopsided that I'm amazed how popular it's become. I wonder if people in the tech industry are more likely to be rejecters, and it's the people who don't understand how their data is leveraged who are the biggest fans.

  93. Exactly, although I'm a mid-Boomer who works in technology. An organization I volunteer for makes FB necessary.

    I am unfindable by my real name (likewise, here, my name is far from kate). I do my best to render tracking impossible.

  94. It knows when you are sleeping. It knows when you're awake. It knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness' sake. I hope it files a Chapter 7.

  95. Cute, but the country really does not need more businesses to go belly up.

  96. Close your account and then tell your broker to buy puts.

  97. What I find most fascinating about Facebook is that you really can't quit it yourself, from all I can tell. You can "deactivate" your account, but that leaves everything, literally everything., open for review by clever cyber-detectives, justified by Facebook as a way to re-activate it later when you'll be desperate to rejoin, I guess. If you really want to "leave" Facebook, you must write a letter to FB, asking to be deleted and telling them the reasons--yes, write a letter; think of the irony of that in this "smart phone world" of juvenilia. If there is a more self-controlled way to truly leave Facebook, I'd like to hear of it.

  98. No, you don't need to write a letter to delete your Facebook account. Just go to Facebook Help Center, search for 'delete my account', and voila, step-by-step instruction on how to delete your account is shown; 14 days later, your account will be deleted.

  99. @Keith. Your post is well-taken, but I still find it 6 of one and half a dozen of another. The "new" delete process is fairly difficult to find, requires the completion of a "form" and then a fairly lengthy wait. I find this condescending and onerous. One should be able to "delete" one's account as easily as "liking" something.

  100. If you have that many "friends" that you have to use Facebook to reach them all, they are not friends! E-mail is just fine for those who are really and truly friends. I had a Facebook account for about a week, then quickly got rid of it. It's like going on an intimate cruise with 3,000 of your "closest and dearest" friends.

  101. Oh, I don't know about that. How many people send out Christmas cards in the postal mail these days? These are my Christmas card friends, and I like being in touch with them even though we may not see each other in person for years at a time.

  102. I am so sorry everyone, am I not understanding something? To me it's as simple as this: don't post anything you would not want publicly seen by the world at large. Why is this so complicated?

  103. because other people can post photos with you, tag you, and if their settings are for sharing publicly, then anyone can find it via a search.

    and you can't change the sharing settings on a post made by someone else.

  104. @ r.

    you can untag yourself from someone else's picture. you can make it so other people can't tag you at all. So that picture is not "searchable" if it is obscene or offending in any way, you can have facebook remove it from their profile.

  105. You can untag yourself from pictures posted by other people, and the new fb search tool makes it easier to find and untag those photos.

    I can't stop friends from posting group photos I happen to be in, but I don't let people - even close friends- tag me in photos.

  106. I have "friends" on facebook, that if I saw walking down the street, I'd throw myself into a shrub to avoid them.

  107. Then why are you friends with them? Remove them and make your life better.

  108. Remove them, then. There's no law against it.

  109. Increasingly, these articles are clearly written for the Boomer generation who are understandably new to Facebook. Millennials, for whom Facebook was created, long ago either figured out all this stuff or just gave up on Internet privacy as a clung-to relic of a bygone era.

    A more useful article for us 20/30-somethings might be one targeted toward Boomers explaining the etiquette of interacting with your sons and daughters on Facebook. The kiss of death for a Fb post is a rambling parental comment, and it's driving the 18-25 year old crowd to limit our parents' access to our Profiles (yes, we know how to do that).

    NYT, please inform our parents that Liking and Commenting on *everything* is unacceptably embarrassing. We don't want to tell our parents: it'd be too embarrassing -- for them.

  110. Yet another representative of a generation unjustifiably obsessed with itself.

  111. As a boomer parent I second the motion. We have a daughter away at college, and I enjoy using FB to follow what she and her friends are up to. It keeps me briefed on basic news in her circles of activity. It allows me to get a sense of what people are talking & thinking about. But yes indeed I consider this a privileged form of access, to be maintained only if comments are kept rare and sparing. Brevity rules. No public expressions of outrage or concern when one stumbles across something naughty, etc etc.

    There are places on the Internet for prolix voicing of opinion. Such as the Comments sections at!

  112. As if anyone cares (or doesn't know already) what teens may be up to.

  113. The ONLY way to keep a secret is to tell no one at all. The ONLY way to protect yourself from internet "social" media is to OPT OUT or not sign up with Facebook in the first place.

  114. My advice is to assume everything you write on Facebook or post anywhere on the internet can be read by anyone including your boss. Don't put stuff up that you consider "private".

    Even if you use a name that is not your real one it is quite likely that someone could learn your real identity somehow. Just don't think of the internet as a place of privacy. If you want privacy use regular mail or the phone. (Not email)

  115. great advice. I tell people this on a regular basis

  116. This article was helpful to me, thanks. That facebook makes it so difficult - and in places impossible - not only for you to retain privacy but to avoid being exploited speaks volumes about Zuckerberg.

    I think the story of facebook mirrors a country that starts out with an idealistic leader who's got an exploitative streak. As he gets older he increases his power over and makes more money out of his subjects until the country is unrecognisable.

    He has more than enough wealth but the power has gone to his head and he can't stop. He becomes increasingly exploitative and the power starts slipping away. His subjects start to get restless...

  117. I hate facebook. They are pushing people off their site with these privacy hi jinks, this is why pole opt for simpler, anonymous sites like zoning rest. Pew found that many adults have deactivated their facebooks for weeks at a time

  118. It has become common for users to voluntarily replace the assigned facebook ID at the end of the link, with one's name. Such as,
    This has the benefit of making it easier for one's friends to quickly locate his profile. However, it also makes it easy for others to find that user's profile without using the search feature. Of course, placing a few numbers (maybe a birthday) into the facebook link would help protect such a user's privacy.

  119. how private is this? I did not "friend " my granddaughter (I think it is an uncomfortable mix, being in w/ her real friends and age mates) but I did pop in and see what she was up to. I tried to send her a message, but was told by FB that it would cost 1.00 .

  120. Sending a message never cost anything. Odd.

  121. The problem is that you're not "friends" with her. If you were, you could send her a message for free without any problems. She may have her privacy settings set so that strangers can't send her a message.

    Facebook is trying out a promotion where you can send a message to someone you're not "friends" with by paying $1. I believe it's aimed at job-seekers, for employment networking purposes.

  122. Sending a message to someone you're not friends with has a charge because that's how FB deters spammers from inundating users with messages. It's not strange at all and was actually covered by the news media when the charge was implemented.

  123. How can one end one's participation in and exit from Facebook? Never use it and don't want to be associated with it. Delete all of Facebook's "friends" request but where is the delete button? Stupid question I know but none of my acquaintances have an answer to this question either!

  124. You are absurd. "Facebook privacy", like "jumbo shrimp" and "military intelligence", is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

  125. Remember: If an Internet service you use is free, then you're the product being sold.

  126. And as long as you're aware of this (and do everything to maximize your privacy settings), you can enjoy the benefits of a free service.

  127. Another validation for saying NO to using Facebook.

  128. Internet Adages: If the product is free, YOU are the product.

    Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it; I use FB myself. Just means have a clue what you're getting into. Don't post or "like" anything you wouldn't want your neighbors--or your employer--to know.

  129. CALPIRG warns that the new tool could increase Phishing scams. Armed with the personal information, lists of friends, hometown and college details, provided by Graph Search - criminals will be able to tailor malicious emails to specific users. With the personal introduction, users will be more likely to open the email or click on a link, falling victim to malicious software, phishing scams, and even identity theft.

    Here are the four recommended actions users can take today to protect themselves:
    1. Set your default preferences to share with friends only.
    2. Review your past “Likes” & photos, and un-like any they would find embarrassing or inappropriate today.
    3. Go through your friends and make lists. Facebook allows users to create different list of friends with different levels of access to their profile.
    4. Once consumers have cleaned up their profiles, it is important that they continue to keep an eye on their online profiles.

    The rules have changed since Facebook was first used among friends in college, and so must our online behavior. New technology can undermine consumer privacy, which means we need to be careful online and mindful of how or online actions makes us look in the real world.

    Read more at:

  130. There is a shortcut to this. You could just select, "delete account" and sleep soundly.

  131. Why has noone noted the irony of the Facebook icon on each of the these comments? Or the fact that you can not be a preferred commenter on this website unless you log in through FBook? As with other sites, the NYT is Facebook dependent. There seems to be a gross conflict of interest here.

  132. The two accounts are separate. Logging in through Facebook is merely an option; you can create a free account directly with the NYTimes and log in that way, avoiding Facebook altogether, and that way your comments stay confined to the NYTimes. (The FB icon merely lets you post a letter or reply to your timeline if you want.)

  133. I don't get it! The hazards of fb were obvious from the beginning.
    Hardly anyone I know uses fb - because of the security risks we all anticipated from the start. If we have anything to tell several people, we send an e-mail - with the recipients' names on the BCC line.
    So stop whining, dummies! Get out of fb and do everyone a service !

  134. Isn't it funny and ironic that the top of this page asks me to Log In with Facebook, and below that has a section called Popular on Facebook Now.

  135. The common sense approach is... If you do not agree with the terms and conditions of the service, do not use it. If you really want privacy, do not use the service or just read and do not post. It's not that hard people.
    A I middle age woman, I would be amazed to discover that there lurk folks who really want to see pictures of my dogs. People can like my pictures of a snowstorm. They can read that my child graduated from college.
    I find it baffling that anyone would post anything on facebook that they would not want to see on the first page of the newspaper.

  136. I can imagine a time in the future when FB will start charging a fee to have stricter privacy controls on one's account, because users clearly want more privacy and why not charge for it? That will be day when I will completely close my account (if that's even possible).

  137. I quit Facebook after a few weeks for a couple reasons: When I was contacted by people I hadn't seen in 30 years, I remembered why I hadn't seen them in 30 years. One guy lived in Clearwater, FL and when I asked if he knew that Scientology's HQ is down there, he said that he not only knew, he said many of my other 30-years-gone friends, whom he named, were also living there and were members in good standing. And then we had the day that 11 of my nieces and nephews found I was on Facebook, and since I am the novelty adult who never married, they all befriended me. Why would I want a 13 year old baton twirler reading what her adult uncle has to say about the things that matter to him? And vice versa. (Ew, that Peggy, she is just so stuck up at school.)

  138. Stop complaining haters. It's FREE. Without fb I would never have found long lost friends and lovers!! Used intelligently (key word) it's extremely fun and useful.

  139. It's NOT free. It comes at the cost of something priceless, privacy.

    Not just the privacy of the jokers who use it, either, but the privacy of *everyone.* My 84-year-old grandfather (who doesn't even use a computer -- grandma reads email for him) had his photo snapped at a med school reunion, uploaded to some enthusiastic alum's FB page and tagged with his name, all without his *knowledge,* much less consent.

    He wasn't doing anything embarrassing, but that's not the point. He was outraged when I told him about it. I had to help him deal with the pain in the neck of getting the alum to untag his name, and the alum refused to delete the photo, claiming it was a group photo and my grandpa didn't have the "right" to ask him to take down the photos of others!

    How about Congress enacting a federal law requiring FB to make users obtain prior consents from anyone whose photo or name is to appear in the user's page? Don't hold your breath.

  140. I briefly joined FB a few years back to genuinely connect with family members, old co-workers, classmates and old friends who I actually liked and wanted to know what had transpired with them. Strangely, the majority of these cool and interesting people couldn't even be located ( i'm in my 30's).
    The only people I found on FB either smacked of desperation or looked like they were following the crowd. I felt embarrassed for them. People now just search for endless content to post/comment of FB. Nothing to do with friendship whatsoever. 100% gossip

  141. It's silly for 20-30 year old to be snarffy about their understanding of FB privacy... how many stories have there been about lives off the kids going off the rails sending pictures on their cell phones? A friend's older kids had unfortunate FB pages that their Catholic School Nuns found (They were plenty tech savvy). I think the discussion of privacy rights is needed- throwing up our hands and saying we don't have it is wrong headed- tech has given the gov the ability to track your every move? Do you have any rights and expectations to privacy?

  142. We can' thank you enough for reviving the word "befriend."
    As lovers of the English language, the inappropriate verbalization of nouns absolutely last-straws us!

  143. Excellent ironyzing.

  144. Okay, but what's so terribly bad about your personal information being publicly available? As Bruce put it, the internet IS a public place. I understand that you may not want a potential employer to see cursing, drug references, etc on your Facebook profile, but apart from that kind of thing I don't see any real problem here. It is hardly as if Facebook employees or users can be bothered to look at the personal information of millions of Facebook users - this kind of personal information, once made widely available by means of Facebook, is hardly a commodity! What does it matter if they do?

    It wouldn't surprise me if editorials like this (& the majority of ensuing comments) are looked back on in a few decades as a sort of anxiety that swept the users of social media when they really came to the forefront. I doubt it will last!

  145. I don't want anything to do with Facebook,but many companies force me to deal with it.Trying to make my account totally invisible to everyone.

  146. It's really quite simple: Don't put anything on Facebook that you wouldn't advertise to your local prosecutor's office. You have no privacy on facebook.

  147. it is not that simple. Others you 'friend' can post about you and post photos of you and that's not stuff easily controlled by you.

  148. And set your privacy controls so that no one can tag you in posts/photos or post on your timeline.

  149. I see a future problem for all the people who refuse to use FB.

    Two candidates for a job have equal qualifications. One has a FB account that the employer checks and sees some embarrassing stuff (maybe drunk pics at a party) but nothing too bad.

    The other has no FB, so the employer can't find anything.

    The employer thinks "I can't find anything on the second guy. Is he hiding something? Maybe not but I'd better stick to hiring the guy I know something personally about."

    If this becomes established practice in the future, people who refuse to use FB will be at an unfair advantage in getting a job.

    Of course, this problem could be easily fixed by Congress outlawing use of social media in making hiring decisions. Anyone think they'll actually do this? Didn't think so.

  150. Anyone with any common sense already has their privacy settings on. *Especially* if they're looking for work.

    I'm very active on Facebook, but if a potential employer searches for me, all they'll see is my name. None of my posts or personal information are public. With any luck, they'll assume I have good sense and know how to use modern technology.

  151. Why would anybody want to work for an employer who is so shallow and ignorant? How would he have arrived at a conclusion before Facebook? How was hiring done in the past? It seems to me to have been quite successful over the years.........

  152. The problem is easily solved though. Set up a LinkedIn account with minimal career data, and professional contacts who can vouch for your abilities and character. And keep a good credit rating.

  153. If you want privacy the do not use any social media.

  154. Some basics to help protect your privacy and your friends': There's a little lock icon at the top of your FB page which gives you quick access to your privacy settings. Look at "who can see my stuff" and make sure it's set to friends so only FB friends will see status updates and photos that you post on your timeline. Look at "what do other people see on my timeline" to see what it looks like to the public or to a particular friend. Under "see more settings," there's a question "do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?" Unless you're waiting for that long lost childhood friend to find you on FB, turning this off is a very good step to protect your privacy. Besides, old friends who have an email address for you may still be able to find you if you connected that email address to your FB account. If you're concerned that your settings have been set to public or friends of friends, you can limit the audience for past posts to friends in a blanket way using "limit the audience for past posts" rather than going through them one by one in your activity log as this article suggests which would be very time consuming.

    Remember that whenever you like another FB post, or comment on a post, the privacy settings of the post that you liked or commented on are what governs who can see your comment or your like. Assume that it will be public.

  155. I have a very embarrassing in-law who has become an outlaw in my estimation. Because we have mutual relatives, I wanted her to feel welcome. It turned out to be a mistake. She did the very opposite of exercise discretion, revealing personal information to people whom she has barely met; whether it be about a child or a grandchild, a mutual friend or mere acquaintance. Or, a friend from the past. For instance her ex-husband resides in same vicinity as one of my brothers. She has inadvertently made herself unwelcome in several houses at one fell swoop. It may be good to remember that different cultures have different mores or different degrees of privacy for that matter.

  156. Roughly one seventh of the world’s population has a Facebook account. It is NOT a fad. It can be an amazing tool. Yes you should lock down your information carefully. This piece is very helpful at doing just that.

    As blogger Jim Wright recently stated:

    "Imagine if the Jews had such a tool in 1938. In a very real sense, social media enabled revolution, the Arab Spring, and drives it still. And that should serve as a heads up to both the rulers and the ruled. In this day and age, twitter and Facebook give you far more real power than the Second Amendment ever did...

    The simple truth of the matter is that social media is a powerful tool, it’s a way to experience the world in ways that we never could before. It’s allows us to experience differing viewpoints, meet other cultures on an equal basis, see things we would never see otherwise (OK, not all good), laugh and cry and sing along with other people’s joy and sorrow. "

    I think the Facebook haters fear the future, and perhaps suffer from Future Shock...

  157. I do not work for Google, so please don't assume I am posting this advice for any other reason than goodwill. Google has addressed one of Facebook's biggest drawbacks. As they mentioned in many of the above comments, on FB it is all or nothing when it comes to sharing your pics, info, etc., whereas Google Plus allows you to create "circles" of friends and family in whatever configuration you like, so you can post your hangover pics to your circle of close friends while keeping them hidden from your boss or your mom. This way your sickly sweet googoo pics of baby will only be foisted upon those who really care. There are many, many possibilities here, as well as Google's video chat circles where you can visit with friends from all over the world at the same time. It is the next big thing, Facebook has a billion accounts but how many active users? I suspect the numbers are dropping as G+ continues to grow.
    So if you are tired of the hassles of FB maybe you should at least check out what the other guys have to offer, I believe it really is a better, safer way of socializing on the web.

  158. " G+ continues to grow."

    Hmm, really? I don't know anybody on there. I was under the impression it was a rather unsuccessful fiasco.

  159. You can do all this on FB too, using lists. E.g., when planning my wedding, I didn't want to share wedding info with those who weren't invited, so I made a Wedding list and set that info and photos to only be shared with that list. It took about five minutes and worked perfectly.

  160. I tried to hide by only posting pics of my pets, but now they're complaining about being exposed to other people's pets.

  161. I have a better recommendation. Deactivate or delete your facebook account.

    The company's business objectives are at cross-purposes to the best interests of the users.

  162. The longer I live and the more I learn, the more wise I feel to have given up my MySpace and Facebook pages a long, long time ago. But PT Barnum was right when he supposedly said, "A fool is born every minute."

  163. Just like Hotel California, "You can check-out any time you like,
    But you can never leave."

  164. Let me answer your questions.

    #1 - I don't want to be found
    #2 - I don't want the world to know anything about me
    #3 - I do mind being tracked
    #4 - I want to befriend people I meet in person
    You didn't ask, but,
    #5 - I don't have a Facebook account because all of the above.

    Privacy problem solved.

  165. I have never had a Fbook acct. I signed up for a "clandestine" one once because I had to in order to look at an account pertinent to a business reason. As to the changing policies, yes, one must be ever vigilant. I had set my privacy settings to be completely inaccessible. When I went back after a while, after reading a pertinent article, everything had been changed to "public," by stealth.

    I deactivated it. Still, my email spam box is filled with Fbook emails telling me somebody is looking for me. I do not trust Fbook to deactivate anything. I am not a user but I bet Fbook includes [my acct] in its alleged number of "users," to attract ad money. And my dog's account. arf arf.

  166. You know those are phishing emails, not actually sent by Facebook, right?

    Deleting your FB account is both possible and easy. The most common reason many people don't do it is that it's irrevocable, and they haven't quite decided they'll never go back.

  167. I allowed Simplewash to access my account. One of the problematic posts it rooted out? Something about Dick Cheney (guess which word was highlighted). A truly problematic subject matter, but for completely different reasons.

  168. NEVER post your birthday -- a key piece of info for ID thieves. Or maybe put a fake one if you like the idea of people sending you nice birthday greetings once a year. And why fill in all the fields for your personal info? People who know you already know that stuff anyway. Just leave all that blank. Or you can always write in fake info just to foil the marketers and snoopers. Some people I know created a page for their dog and that's their FB identity.

  169. Use a fake name and a fake picture, and lock down your settings tight!

  170. I understand the need for privacy but generally not paranoid about it, and, like Tim, enjoy FB for lots of reasons: I'm amused by my friends' clever posts, like keeping up with far-flung family/friends, and also want to experience the broader social pulse by participating in important developments - like social media. You really are kind of a relic if you opt out. When people say they hate FB - and I ask why - they often say things like they don't like what people do there, or that "people get into their business." And I think to myself, "if you don't like FB, you don't like your friends." I learned long ago - a painful realization at the time - that you are the company you keep. All this said, thanks for the article - the privacy advice is good, and I've made some changes to my FB profile.

  171. All this is why I will never, ever, ever be on FB.

  172. Who opens an account on a social media platform then complains about loss of privacy?

  173. Just create a FB account with a fake name, location and job. Don't post any pictures that show faces. Don't tag anything. Don't publish anything particularly stupid. I have two accounts - one for my work responsibilities where I see the news my coworkers post. The other one (fake name) is where I see all my friends' news and I post whatever floats my boat that week. That accounts handles cartoons, political/religious/pop-entertainment discussions. That one handles progress updates with my old car hobbies and is where pictures of the morning weather or dinner or whatever gets posted. I find as time goes on, I use it less and less. I've only been on FB now for three months. FB seems to be mostly about my people talking about themselves. I'd rather just catch up on their news once in a while in person over lunch or dinner.

    I use multiple emails addresses for different tasks too. Work email is work only. I don't send jokes or junk from that account ever unlike some of my coworkers. Hobbies, personal messages, resumes, and spam addresses are all handled with separate accounts.

  174. "Stop using Facebook" makes for a pithy comment that seems popular here, but it's only a solution if you don't want to use Facebook. It's like solving the automobile safety problem by not driving.

    As this article points out, there are already several (although not enough) privacy protections built in to Facebook if users actually take the effort to learn about them.

    Jumping on Facebook without figuring out who's seeing what is like getting an expensive camera and always shooting on 'Auto.'

  175. Hey Facebook, there is some value in your service--and the fake account I can use to log into other websites without registering. But I might even be willing to pay a buck or two for you to preserve my privacy. This would be real $ as I don't think I've ever clicked on a single ad or bought anything based on facebook ads. I hate that you made my profile picture searchable for everyone. That's dangerous and why I changed it to a landscape.

  176. If you are a "private person" and want to remain a "private person" why do you have anything to do with Facebook? Too many people, in too many organizations already know too much about each and every one of us. Because we tell them. Yet we cannot wait to tell the world more about "us". A dichotomy which will never be solved, as we go on telling the world our shoe size, and what we like to eat, and our favorite colors.........

  177. I have shared this fine article on my Facebook.

  178. Very simple: If it's really not ok that anyone, someone, or potentially everyone in the universe, know it, do not post it on the internet. Period.

    If it's that "private," I'd suggest you not even send it in an email. I can't really see how people want "privacy" on Facebook. It's like being at a party. You should definitely decide which things about you you want people to see and hear, but you're wasting your time if you go to a party looking to do things in private. Some people–including me–rather enjoy a public forum. But we don't appear there in pictures we wouldn't want our boss, boyfriend or mom to see.

    It's possible that younger generations are more comfortable with the idea of living in public, and even embrace it in a a way, and therefore less concerned about these social privacy issues.

  179. Seriously, reading these comments baffles me. What on earth are you people doing out there in the world that horrifies you when someone else posts photos of it? Maybe time to rethink that bar-dancing routine where you wear nothing but a radish and a smile?

    I really don't get people's horror at being tagged in a photo, like, without permission, eek! Are you vampires? Spies? Cheating spouses? Is facebook the problem here? If you hate the photo, you can un-tag it. And this annoyance at being FB friends with people you –gasp–don't like! Nobody forces you to be FB friends with anyone. What harm does it do? You probably share an office, social functions, etc. with plenty of people you can't stand. What's with the indignance, as if you were wronged, cheated out of something or sold a bill of goods.

    Nobody forces anyone to sign up with FB, or, once having done that, interact with anyone at all. And, news flash, advertisers and such are culling information about you at every turn. People are taking pictures of you in the street. Your cable company knows what shows you watch, your electric company knows when you're home, and those pics with a radish in your bum pale in comparison to what your credit card company and bank know about you, your habits and your life.

  180. I am so stoked that I never joined....and never will.

  181. it does seem that it becomes a life's work to manage programs like facebook. invasive inroads are never-ending and require tedious reading, searching, clicking as a matter of course. it's like a bad smell next door: it's already there, we have to adjust. even if you stay away, someone else will put you in. the choice comes down to whether you'll have an emotional upset every time you have a bad encounter, or not.

  182. Human life and safe vaults protected by the best of electronics, pentagon and White House computers are invaded, I do not know how this Social site can be protected.

  183. "One of Facebook's cleverest heists is the word "friend."
    Be firm and apply your own definition to that word.
    Don't be guilted into sharing all with everyone.
    Be serious about protecting yourself as best you can.
    Thank you Mr. Sengupta!

  184. So much fear, so much whining and hand-wringing! I LOVE Facebook! Many of my family members and friends are far away, and there is a sense of intimacy in knowing the small particulars of their lives. I have been careful about how many friends I have - which I think keeps it more manageable (even though I look unpopular!)

    There are annoyances - the promoted posts, the ads, the memes, the silly posts. But, for me the advantages outweigh the nuisances. And it's been great for my neighborhood, too - we have a FB page that allows us to share information, without having to "friend" everyone else on the page. When I was ill, FB was a great way to let folks know my status, and also to get help when I needed it. People could just respond - or not - as they chose, and I didn't have to send a ton of emails.

  185. The world is ready for the next social networking website. Facebook users are sick of their constant infringements. Of course, "If you're not paying for it, you're what's being sold."

    I am convinced that if someone were to make an open source, $5 website with a "don't be evil" clause, users would stream off of Facebook like the sinking Titanic. I am also convinced that Wikipedia is the organization to do it. Look at all that they have accomplished while remaining ethical? Let' all evolve!

  186. Are we all so easily bought? Let some company start a similar service without tracking me for say, $100/year and I'm all for it.

  187. How can I control who sees what I like? It's beyond pointless to block people from seeing what I post on my wall, if they get a notification on their wall that I just liked that thing.

  188. I never joined Facebook, and never will. No worries for me about what they might do with my information.

  189. I have found that one of the simplest methods of assuring privacy on Facebook is to simply stay away from it. I was on it for a few months several years back. I finally got completely fed up with the constant blathering by seemingly 99% of the poster. (I was guilty at times too) I also find that those sites that use a FB system to allow comments are guaranteed to chase me away. There are those that will say that it's a good thing no doubt~

  190. Dan from Tokyo,
    Any ideas on how to erase an old FB account? I was told by FB that I am not a member, but I still get FB invitations to friend people from time to time.

    As far as keeping friends up with sensitive news, Tim, I for one would not appreciate my course of treatment for a dread disease being posted anywhere on line. In the "old days" we had means to keep loved ones and friends up to date in a sensitive and respectful way, and loved ones and friends knew how to react if they learned that someone was in treatment for cancer or some such. I think we called it "etiquette" or "good manners" or "judgment" or something like that.

  191. I agree with the writer. Can't understand why friends continually hit the like icon on all those fake "tear-your-heart-out" pixs and amazon ads. Every like results in some consumer research firm collecting more info about you. Then, they sell your profile to the highest bidder!

    Same with Google! Every search is added to your profile. I've started using for searches. Thus far, they don't store or sell your info.

  192. Thanks for the info, and thanks also to commenters' own advice. I am an FB user and for the most part, enjoy it. But it does scare me (and should) that what I post can be used in a manner that is either exploitive of personal information or used for commercial purposes unknown to me or without my permission, and by extension to what "friends" post on my page and what I post and "like" on their pages.

    Also, may I add, that your exposure is increased when you play FB games and must "recruit" others as "friends" whom you may not know personally. I know personally that some such players have thousands of "friends" in their FB app games. This goes also for things like birthday and relatives pages, event pages, etc.

  193. In general, I don't mind ads -- I've trained myself not to look at that area.
    I ALWAYS clear all the facebook cookies as soon as I close the facebook page. That way I do not stay logged in and other sites have more difficulty in finding me on facebook.

  194. "Facebook is a personal vault..." these first few words are so wrong it is really strange to read it in the NYT. I mean, this can't be irony, yet...

    You cannot call a vault something that is, by design, a public space, even worse since you don't realize how much publicity you can get by not looking more closely into its ever-changing settings.
    Seriously... a vault.
    Wake up Somini Sengupta, you are not writing Brave New World 2.0

  195. I had to do most of the things suggested in the article just this week, after I was tipped off that a potential temporary employer had looked at my FB page, found one of my posts a "turn-off" and decided I would not be a good hire for them. (I was doing a bit of venting after a bad day.) The post really wasn't that awful -- no names, no profanity used -- but at the time, my page was "public" so they were free to look at it and interpret it. And my words came back to bite me.

    I don't post to FB that often; when I do, I'm generally very careful about what I say, so was never worried about repercussions ... until now, that is. I've since reset my page to "friends" and deleted the offending post. And believe me, I will be even more PC if/when I do post to FB again.

    And re: companies combing FB pages to target their marketing efforts: That's exactly why I loathe the phrase " 'Like' us on FB" in every ad I see!

  196. I recently joined facebook. Don't really see what all the hubbuh about it is. Ok so it will remind me about my friend's upcoming birthday. It seems to me if you didn't want your boss or the people at church to know you wouldn't want to post it. Common sense but then that seeems to be in short supply today