Facebook Opens Profiles to Public

Popular social networking site Facebook has added a public-facing search function in a move which is likely to anger privacy advocates. The function will initially allow anyone who is not registered with the site to search for a specific person. More controversially, in a month's time, the feature will also allow people to track down Facebook members via search engines such as Google. The firm said that the information being revealed is minimal.

The public search listing will show the thumbnail picture thumbnail of a Facebook member from their profile page as well as links allowing people to interact with them. But, in order to add someone as a friend or send them a message, the person will have to be registered with Facebook. Users who want to restrict what information is available to the public or opt out of the feature altogether can change their privacy settings. They have a month to do so. Despite assurances from Facebook, critics have expressed disappointment at the move.

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News source: BBC News

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20 Comments

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rawd said,
Facebook is a waste of time

For those without friends or non existent social life, yes, facebook is a waste, I agree.

For others, it's the best social networking tool available today.

Zhivago said,

For those without friends or non existent social life, yes, facebook is a waste, I agree.

For others, it's the best social networking tool available today.

Actually, I tend to see it the other way around. Most of my (and my friends') socializing happens face to face, not through some web site. Somebody shoot me the day I choose to spend a Saturday night hanging out on Facebook rather than having a brew and shooting some pool with some buddies.

Privacy advocates? Give me a freaken break! If you decide to create a public profile of yourself online why shouldn't you expect it to be subjected to the public? What the hell would be the point?

A web site that thrives because of people volunteering their personal information upsetting its users over privacy?

Shock, horror!

phone numbers and email addresses being available on google by default? (or did i miss somethin?)

facebook was great, now its really ****ing me off. Since they added apps, its been driving me crazy. i wish i could just stop using it but EVERY SINGLE ONE of my friends has it, and it does make finding out about parties and stuff much easier if you're in university...

darkpuma said,
phone numbers and email addresses being available on google by default? (or did i miss somethin?)
Yes...you missed something.

is it really a big deal??

all thats going to be on google, is your picture, name, and which network you are part of :o

to see the full detail, people will still need to add you and you to accept them.. unless i am very much mistaken.

It doesn't really matter. Registration on facebook takes only a minute, anyone can do it any time, and search within facebook anyway. Plus, it's optional. Facebook's members can choose not to index their profile in search engines.

All they have to do, to make everyone happy, is make it OFF by default instead.

That way everyone who doesn't check the site often or pay attention to web news or emails (and beleive me that's a huge number of people) will be perfectly safe, and those that do pay attention who care about it can opt in to losing their privacy.

yakumo said,
All they have to do, to make everyone happy, is make it OFF by default instead.

That way everyone who doesn't check the site often or pay attention to web news or emails (and beleive me that's a huge number of people) will be perfectly safe, and those that do pay attention who care about it can opt in to losing their privacy.

How is anyone unsafe...its a name and an image? It's not like they get access to your profile.

By default this information is already serchable by people that have a facebook account and if you didnt want facebook members to search on your name you had to disable it yourself. It's pretty much no different. If people want to see your profile you still ultimatly have to let them by accepting their friend invite.

its a good news, facebook needed this to compete with myspaces and that was one of facebook pro or cons so they just give a choice to their users which its very nice.

This was posted several days ago? Anyway, to turn the security feature's on is pretty fiddly; you have to go via several pages to get it all accomplished which isn't good from a users point of view. It bothers me because it is needless information about me being released into the wild; there is probably enough of it concerning me already to worry about, I don't want FB making my life even more openly documented for all to see!

Privacy ftw; well I can dream!

Because you need to sign up, add your friend, then that friend has to accept the friendship before they can see your full profile. This in my mind is whats great about facebook, especially compared to myspace that people post personal details on left right and centre and leave them open to the world by default. Don't know why facebook seems to want to slowly turn itself into myspace.

Still its fairly easy to change to make it private but still...

DrCheese said,
Because you need to sign up, add your friend, then that friend has to accept the friendship before they can see your full profile. This in my mind is whats great about facebook, especially compared to myspace that people post personal details on left right and centre and leave them open to the world by default. Don't know why facebook seems to want to slowly turn itself into myspace.

Still its fairly easy to change to make it private but still...

You still need to sign up and accept the friendship before they can see said profile. As mentioned above, this change just gives the same result as someone searching for the profile on the site where all you get is a name and picture and as such I fail to see the problem. Its the same information people could search on already if you had the permissions set in that manner.

Why is it that whenever the public outcry from users over the previous Facebook shake-up dies down, they introduce a new one? First News/Mini Feed, then Applications, and now publicly accessible profiles.

It does seem like that. It's all easy to turn off and everything, but I still don't really see the reason the stuff needs to be available on search engines. I turned it off though