The collective shudder of Facebook users around the world could be felt when this update went live, followed by various scare stories of private messages from 2007-2010 appearing in users’ Timelines – which Facebook strenuously denied.
“A small number of users raised concerns after what they mistakenly believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline. Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users’ profile pages. Facebook is satisfied that there has been no breach of user privacy.” – Facebook.
Of course they are. Given the drastic changes Facebook made to privacy previously, users lack of faith in Facebook’s motives and technology and the Facebook Timeline view making content easier to find than ever and much more visible (that was the point of it), the scare stories spread rapidly. So what can you do to ensure your posts are private?
First of all, restrict access to who can read your wall posts; if you followed our previous post on privacy settings, you’ll be familiar with the user privacy controls. Find the down arrow in the top-right of your Facebook page, select Timeline and Tagging section, then Privacy Settings, Edit settings. The section labelled “Who can see what others post in your timeline?” you can easily change it to “friends” or create a custom setting such as “Close Friends” or “Just me”. For the ultra-conservative among you, you can restrict visibility of the entire timeline to just “Friends.”
The Writing on the Wall
You can delete old posts or limit who can see individual wall posts, either by browsing your Timeline or by going through your activity log – access either view through your Profile page. You can delete or change the privacy setting for each post; there’s a settings icon in the top right corner of each post with a drop-down menu for privacy. AJS