The influence of Facebook has been growing throughout pop culture, and now it’s expanding even on the internet. Instead of just being able to ‘like’ things on Facebook, you’ll now start to see a Like button on many other websites as well. Sometimes these will appear only if you’re signed in. If you’re not signed in and you want to ‘like’ something, you’ll be asked to sign in. Then a news story will be shared with your friends just like ‘becoming a fan’ in the past. You’ll also start to see more suggestions from Facebook for things you may ‘Like’, based on pages you’ve liked in the past or information available to Everyone in your profile. This information will vary for each user, based on the privacy settings of your account.
The new changes are resulting in Facebook acting more like the Google toolbar, which tracks websites you visit and tailors ads to what the toolbar thinks you’re interested in. (This only happens when you’re signed in to Facebook. If you don’t want Facebook to know what you’re up to, don’t visit other sites while logged in, and log out when you’re done.) The best way to keep your profile secure is still to limit who can see your information. Anything you leave set to ‘Everyone’ is readily viewable to the entire internet and all of Facebooks new features, whether you like them or not. Also, anything you own ‘jointly’ with another person or group on Facebook can only be controlled by your privacy settings. If you tag another person in your photo – you only control what people can see on Your page, not theirs. Facebook didn’t make any changes to your personal profile privacy settings, but if you feel uncomfortable with what may be viewable to the general public, you can make those changes yourself at any time. You still have the ability to customize every piece of your profile right down to individuals.
Facebook says there will be a ‘friends, tags, and connections’ portion of the privacy settings where you’ll be able to control which things will appear on your profile that you ‘Like’, but so far, my privacy settings page looks the same as it did in the past. If yours does too, don’t worry. With millions and millions of users, it may take a few days to roll out the changes to everyone. The important thing in this privacy section is remembering you can only control what’s viewable on your profile, not others. Hiding a group on your profile won’t hide your membership if someone else visits the group.
Some sites have partnered with Facebook to give you an even more unique experience, attempting to conform settings to what you’ve configured for your Facebook profile. So far, the list of sites that are considered partners is pretty small, but if this is a success you can expect to see it more and more. But again – it only matters when you’re signed in to Facebook. You always have the option to ‘opt-out’ or click ‘No Thanks’ on the blue bar that pops up on partner sites.