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Facebook Graph Update Gets Creepier; Tweak Your Privacy Settings

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Why do we still have Facebook? Every week, it seems, it chips further away at our privacy. Shortly after getting to a tussle with the FTC over their new overly-expansive privacy policy, the company releases an updated Graph Search. Now you can quickly search through every post you, your friends, and even much of the public have ever written!

Yeah. Whether you call 'em "Timeline Posts," "status updates," or "editing someone's wall," they're now searchable, so long as the user's privacy settings haven't been amped up.

A feature that debuted earlier this year, the Graph Search is basically like Google for your friends. Search for "boxing" and you'll get a quick encyclopedia-like blurb, followed by "Friends Who Like Boxing" and friends' "Pictures Related to Boxing."

That's the way it has been all year. Tack on the ability to search for posts, and anything you've ever written, even that little quip back from 2004 that you left on a friend's wall, could come back to haunt you.

Fixing It

There are three main ways to fix the appearance of old posts. The first is to scroll all the way down on your Timeline and go piece-by-piece, deleting as you wish. Set aside a few hours if you take this route.

Otherwise, you have to tweak your privacy settings, and the new shortcut menu is relatively useless.

If you are only Facebook friends with true friends, you can take a shorter route and limit your old posts via the full privacy settings page. The third option is to "Limit Past Posts." This makes everything you've ever done non-public, though friends, and friends of those you've tagged in a post or photo, can still see the item.

Another method of post-by-post review, which is great for ongoing maintenance, is the Activity Log. You can find a link to that on your page, or in the full privacy settings page (see above).

Or, of course, you could go full nuclear and delete your entire account. The deactivate page is nested deep in the site's settings, and guilts you about quitting by showing pictures of friends, but your real friends will understand: you value your privacy.

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