You can manage the privacy of your status updates

Facebook are fucking with me. They might be fucking with you too.

I take care to go through all my facebook settings thoroughly every few months and check that nothing has changed that I didn't expect. I have a private page, visible to friends. Most of my posts are visible to a custom group (friends, except some selected individuals). My default settings apply the custom group visibility to anything that I post, and I change it manually for individual posts if I want to.

Or at least, the default settings used to apply.

As it turns out, ever since I switched to the new 'timeline' profile, facebook has been posting all of my status updates, links, etc as "public" instead of "custom":

As soon as I noticed this, I went to my privacy settings to see what had changed:

Nothing had changed. As you can see, the default setting was still friends, with some exceptions.

I closed that window and went back to the homepage to check I wasn't imagining things. The status update window still showed "public" as the default setting.

I wasn't until I went back to my privacy settings, and clicked "save changes" (even though I hadn't changed anything), that my default setting changed back to what it should have been all along:

Now this might seem like a petty complaint, but I don't think it is.

When people start slagging off facebook for being evil and tricking people into sharing things that they don't want to share, I defend it. I say that sharing is the price that you pay for a free service, and that it's the responsibility of the user to set the parameters that they're comfortable with. When people argue that it's all too complicated, I tell them to suck it up or just stop using facebook.

What has happened here isn't a failure on my part to go through the available settings and make sure I knew what I was getting myself in for. I did all that. As you can see, facebook was well aware of my custom sharing settings. They simply chose not to apply them.

Depending on how cynical you are, you could blame this on a bug with the profile changes; or a deliberate act designed to look like an innocent bug. Either way, it doesn't do facebook's credibility and trust levels much good.


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