Privacy tends to be an oxymoron when it comes to the internet these days. Just when you thought the World Wide Web couldn’t become any more unrestricted, leave it to the minds at Google to prove us all wrong. The latest development on behalf of everyone’s favorite search engine may have some Facebook frequenters rushing to their privacy settings. According to webmonkey.com, Google will soon begin indexing the comments that Facebook users type on the walls of associates and colleagues, and will offer those annotations in its search results.
Can you say yikes? Better yet, can you type it?
It is common knowledge that Facebook is pretty gargantuan when it comes to social media. Recently making headlines with news of an upcoming radical redesign, the popular website has also launched the Facebook Social Plugin. Not only can Facebook users comment on the respective pages of their friends and loved ones, they can also leave a remark on the pages of several other websites by utilizing the Plugin. Rather convenient due to the fact that it eliminates the need to create user accounts on some sites, this plugin will now also show up in Google’s search results. Essentially, whatever you type on the internet can now be looked up.
So, what does this mean exactly? Well, for starters, it may be wise not to chat about that hangover you may have had before coming to work the next day. Or perhaps it would be smart not to mention that you’ve developed an addiction to planking in public places. These wonderful private gems of your life could now turn up next to your name in the results of the Google search engine.
It seems that privacy is now as scarce as a MySpace page. To that end, it would be wise to begin monitoring what you share with others. How do you do that? Never fear! There are indeed some ways to maintain confidentiality without having to join the Witness Protection Program.
The Suwannee Democrat recently did a piece on smart surfing online, and recommends getting a separate account for your personal email. There are some people that honestly rely on Facebook for all of their communication. It may be 2011, but that doesn’t mean that all things revolve around social media. It is still a good idea to have a private email address for your own personal use. It’s also wise to change your passwords periodically to avoid being hacked.
Take it from this writer. I know from experience.
Also, for those that have traded in the warmth of human comfort for the compulsion of social media (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it may be ideal to utilize, customize, and privatize your Facebook settings. After all, everyone doesn’t need to know everything going on in your life. People talk. If you want to stop leaving comments on other webpages via Facebook, click “Edit Settings” for Apps & Websites in the Privacy Settings tab of your profile page. Then click “Edit Settings” for “Apps you use” and be sure to click on the “x” next to any websites that you want to withdraw your profile from.
According to cnet.com, it may also be smart to use an anonymous identity. It couldn’t hurt, could it? Some websites that use the Facebook Social Plugin may still enable users to create accounts as opposed to leaving a remark that directly links them back to their respective Facebook pages. Simply log out out of your profile, and create an anonymous username to voice your opinions and share your thoughts on whatever website you wish to comment on.
Furthermore, webmonkey.com states that if you would prefer to stop the Googlebot from invading your website, simply use the robots.txt file. According to Google, the file is like an electronic “No Trespassing” sign. However, in order to use it, you’ll have to have access to the root of your domain.
So, while privacy certainly seems to be fading, there are ways to still maintain it. Known for its reliability, Google’s search engine is utilized by a lot of folks. However, with this new development now affecting secrecy, some individuals may feel that the engine undoubtedly needs a tune-up.
– Jaylen Christie