Saturday, October 12, 2013

Facebook and Google Privacy Changes, What You Need To Know!

Earlier this week both Facebook and Google made several changes that will great impact your online ID and privacy. Google by way of a terms of service (TOS) change, and Facebook by means of removing a feature that once allowed users to block who can search their name when using Facebook's search bar.

Google's Shared Endorsements Can Use Your Name And Photos

Through an update to the search giants TOS Google can now share your photos and name if at some point in the past you gave a product or service a +1 on Google plus. The company revealed the changes to its Terms of Service on Friday highlighting the changes. The most important one is that Google clarified how your profile name and photo might appear in "Google products," including display ads. For customers that aren't currently 'opted out' of Google the old Google +1 Personalization settings you will now by default be opted into Shared Endorsements. Which means Google will have full use of your name, profile photo, and a personal endorsement that may appear in Google ads.

For users wishing to opt out you can do so through the Shared Endorsements settings on your Google profile. Google has also pointed users to its Ad Settings tool, for more granular control over what ads you see.

Facebook Search No Longer Blocks Search By Name

Facebook has confirmed it will be removing the "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" feature which was once used to block a users name from the site's search results. As a result any user can now be searched for using Facebook's search bar. In the blog post announcing the move Facebook also mentions the need for users wanting to keep personal details private need to keep an eye on post visibility settings. The new graph search will make more posts more visible making post privacy setting more important to users rather than search visibility.

In the coming weeks, people who are sharing posts publicly on Facebook will soon see a notice reminding them that those posts can be seen by anyone, including people they may not know. The notice reminds people how to change the audience for each post.

To quickly control who can find posts you shared in the past, visit the privacy settings page. With one click, you can limit the audience of posts you’ve shared in the past. This means any posts that were previously shared with Friends of Friends or Public will now be shared just to Friends.

Should These Changes Concern Me?

Anytime your personal privacy is involved you should be greatly concerned. The information collected and now shared via social media sites can be used against you in numerous ways. Either from people looking to do you personal harm, hackers looking to gain access to personal information to send privatized attacks or gain access to your identity or personal accounts, or just businesses looking to exploit the information they receive.

By and large these companies are over stepping their usage of your personal information for their own gains. As evidence of the recent lawsuit Facebook settled for the company's Sponsored Stories, to the tune of $20 million. Google amongst others have been on the end of a growing amount of Federal Trade Commission scrutiny. Clearly someone is taking notice out there and you should too!

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