Cleaning up on the Facebook tip

If you're in the social/search industry, you've been inundated with Facebook privacy posts. Skip this one. It's really for the friends and family members who stop by and read here after they see that I've more or less cleared out my Facebook profile.

If you haven't seen the New York Times' graphical representation of Facebook's privacy settings, go take some time and look at it. It's pretty. And scary. Take this example. By default, if I'm Facebook friends with John, and John is listening to something on Pandora and he decides to log into Facebook from Pandora, I get an ad on my Facebook page that says, "John thinks you'd really like this station on Pandora." Because Pandora is allowed to get information from my profile when John signs in.

Yeah, great.

I've had a fairly strict close friends and family only policy as far as Facebook is concerned. And now I'm getting ridiculous numbers of friend requests. Even with a low friend count – I think I just passed 200, after clearing out about 150 last year – I'm getting 8 to 10 requests a week, mostly from people I don't know.

So I'm giving in. I spent three hours –three hours! – changing my privacy settings, and since I'm still not sure what I'm sharing, I more or less cleared out my profile. Unless an invitation is obviously spam, I'm just going to accept friend requests. And I'm simply not going to share anything personal there. Yes, I'll keep those word games going, and I'll share links if I find anything cool, but you're not going to learn much about me via Facebook.

Feel free to email me, follow me on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn, or even pick up the phone. But until Facebook convinces me it's serious about my privacy, it can't have my information.



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