Facebook has always had a questionable reputation when it comes to protecting users’ privacy. While the company prides itself in offering a variety of secure settings, you need to be aware that what you share on Facebook could be seen by anyone. And, now, so can you. Or, at least you’ll be easy to find by anyone searching for your name. This is due to the fact that Facebook is turning off the feature that allows users to remove their profile from the search. Not only can this be an invasion of your privacy, but it could lead to identity theft issues.
Why the Change?
Facebook decided to do away with the option of hiding yourself from the site’s search feature because they claim that only a small percentage of people use this option. What exactly is a small percentage to a company that sees literally billions of users each day? It could be thousands, if not millions, of users that wanted to protect their privacy.
How This Affects Identity Theft
The more a person can learn about you, the easier it is to steal your identity. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as your hobbies, your mailing address, or even your cell phone number. All the pieces add up. Once a person finds you on Facebook, the damage could be done quickly. Without the proper privacy settings in place, someone could find out a lot of information that would prove useful in identity theft.
Facebook executives say not to worry about people being able to find you through the site’s search feature. If someone finds you, you can always block them. The problem is that these people may not try to communicate with you at all. They may just lurk around your page until they find the information they need.
How to Really Protect Your Identity on Facebook
Consider your Facebook page like Fort Knox. The privacy settings need to be locked down to the max. You don’t want people to be able to share your posts, pictures, or anything else. You also don’t want friends of friends to see your posts. When someone does stumble upon your page, they should see very little information. Play around with the settings and log out and then try to view your profile. Once the profile comes up with just your name, you’ve properly secured your profile.
Facebook is supposed to be a place to share and meet new people, but some people just want to connect with old and current friends and they should be able to do so. Unfortunately, that’s not how Facebook sees it.