Facebook, Google Privacy Changes Announced

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on October 12, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Another day, another Facebook and Google privacy policy change.

Facebook is axing its privacy option that enables users to be unsearchable. Not to be outdone, Google plans to sell users' endorsements as a social marketing tool.

In a nutshell: Get ready for less privacy and more ads -- the best of both worlds! (Sigh.)

If you've hidden yourself from being searchable on Facebook, get ready to come out of hiding.

Facebook, which boasts 1.2 billion users, is removing the option to be unsearchable by name. But some critics, like Josh Constine at TechCrunch, think the move is wise for safety reasons.

Folks like Constine believe the "unsearchable" option lulled users into a false sense of security because people could still find you through a myriad of other ways -- tagged photos, Graph Search, mutual friends' "Friends" lists and even "Likes" on a mutual friend's News Feed post.

Still, the solution isn't much better. Rather than having a more universal setting, you'll have to manually restrict the visibility of each piece of your profile to stay hidden.

Google Privacy Change: Selling Social Endorsements

Under Google's new terms of service, starting Nov. 11, Google can include your name, photo, and comments in ads shown across the Internet, based on ratings, reviews and posts you've made on Google Plus and other Google services like YouTube, reports The New York Times.

Translation: When you follow a restaurant on Google+ or give four stars to an album on a Google service, your name, photo, and endorsement can show up in an ad for the restaurant or album.

Facebook already does this through its "Sponsored Stories" ads. That means when you post "My tush has never felt softer" on Charmin's Facebook page, Charmin could pay Facebook to broadcast your glowing recommendation to all of your "friends."

Essentially, you're a product endorser -- without getting paid. How awesome is that?!

Google realized how awesome that scheme is (for companies...) and is finally joining the bandwagon.

Unlike Facebook, however, Google will give its users the chance to opt out and limit their visibility in the new endorsements through its settings page. People under the age of 18 will automatically be excluded, reports The Times.

Long story short, either opt out or stop writing rave reviews of Michael Bolton's "Can I Touch You... There?"

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard