Facebook Apologizes for their Privacy screw-up… kind of!

I just got an email from my system with a screen shot of a message she just got on Facebook. The message stated:

Worried about search engines? Your information is safe.

There have been misleading rumors recently about Facebook indexing all your information on Google. That 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. They will still only see a basic set of information.

Facebook Search Engine Privacy Message

Facebook Search Engine Privacy Message

NOT a rumor…

What Facebook is calling a rumor is documented by hundreds of posts around the web. About 2 weeks ago, Facebook’s “new and improved” privacy settings were announced. When you click next you get a screen to update your privacy settings (see image below). Many of the defaults on this page are to open your profile information to “everyone“, which includes search engines – and Google.

Facebook's "better" privacy means less privacy!

Facebook's "better" privacy means less privacy!

Link to Google Goggles?

I am just speculating, but I see a link between this and the recently released Google Goggles. Goggles is an Android application which aims to turn Google into the first search-by-sight search engine. I wrote about how brilliant the timeline is a few days ago. The idea here is that Google Goggles can use face recognition algorithms to find the person in a picture, although that was disabled for privacy concerns – obviously. And who’s got over 15 Billion photos of you and I? Facebook does!

That said, I think the link is clear. Facebook tricking its 300 million users into opening their profiles to “everyone” allows Google to index all those faces and makes the people who fall for this trick searchable by a simple photo run through Goggles. Scary!

Facebook’s understanding of the word “privacy”
contradicts dictionary definitions…

It’s clear that Facebook’s understanding of privacy is whatever serves their agenda the best. This time it was opening a many profiles as possible to the public – including search engines. There are even comic cartoons making fun of that. Hence, we’re sharing this one – thanks to GeekCulture.com.

Facebook privacy cartoon

Facebook privacy cartoon

Bottom line…

To sum up, Facebook tricking everyone into opening their profiles to the public seems to be linked to Google Goggles search-by-sight engine. To further prove it’s a trick, the founder and owner of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg even fell for his own trick and opened his private photos to everyone!

What do you think about the recent track of events? Did you fall for Facebook’s trick? And finally, are you still a believer that privacy still exists? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com M.Bamieh

    They didn't even mention what basic information. That basic information is actually your picture. friends and fan pages as well … so they actually expanded the amount of basic information.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    I firmly believe the term privacy is overrated and that it is gone with the wind!

  • cyber dragon

    i just clicked old settings, and my privacy settings remained as i had put them !

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2010/02/10-tips-to-ensure-that-youre-not-a-social-media-sucker.html 10 Tips to Ensure That You’re NOT A Social Media Sucker! | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] to be private, all you need to do is just keep it inside of your head! Don’t trust Facebook’s privacy settings or even your personal blog! As long as your private everything is offline, no one will access it. [...]

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    [...] of random individuals’ who somehow have forgotten everything they have ever been taught about privacy, restraint, decency and honesty. The result is an information overload, where it is increasingly [...]

  • http://www.lamebook.com William

    Your information is not safe. Message from everyone else who isn't on facebook… 'we seeee yooou'
    Have a nice rest of your life.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2010/03/is-google-falling-into-the-privacy-invasion-pit.html Is Google Falling into the Privacy Invasion Pit?

    [...] now, we are more than used to hearing about Facebook’s carelessness towards our privacy and Twitter’s scams and hacks. However, when privacy campaigners, such as Alex Deane of Big [...]

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