Now this is new! If you have a Facebook account, searching for your name in Google will turn up not only a link to your Facebook page, but includes a list of your friends, as well! And that’s even if your privacy settings on Facebook are set to disallow public access, such as the “only My Networks and Friends can see my profile and personal info” settings.
Now, it’s true that if someone who isn’t your Facebook friend is on the Facebook site, and searches for you, they will be offered a link to see who all your Facebook friends are, even if you have your privacy settings set to disallow public viewing of your profile.
But now people don’t even have to go to the site. In fact, by Googling you, they eliminate several steps they would have to take on Facebook to find you and see who some of your friends are. On Facebook, they first have to log into Facebook, then they have to search for the name, then they see a listing like this:
and then they have to click on the “view friends” link, before ever seeing the name of even a single one of your friends.
Now, take a look of the new results for Googling my name:
Now look at my personal privacy settings on Facebook:
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So, why are the Google results showing a list of my Facebook friends?
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One might expect that Google results might show friends if the settings were like this:
..but they aren’t.
So what’s the deal?
Speaking of deals, is this a deal (perhaps unwritten) between Facebook and Google? Did Google intentionally tweak their search algorithm to include the Facebook “friends” information? Does Facebook know? Did they help them do it?
And how do you feel about it? Are you doing to do anything differently now that you know?
UPDATE: We have since learned that there is now a way to keep Google from doing this, via your “search privacy” settings in Facebook. So the answer to “are you going to do anything differently now that you know” can include this:
1. Log into your Facebook account.
2. Go to your “settings” page
3. Click on “manage” Privacy
4. Click on “Search”
5. Review and edit the options (which of course are all pre-checked):
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
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