Facebook and the Never Ending Quest for Privacy

October 15, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                    return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Facebook has changed its privacy policy yet again. It was only a matter of time after the platform rolled out its Graph Search feature; nevertheless, a large percentage of the platform’s users are concerned about how they may be impacted.

As of last week all Facebook profiles are searchable. Previously they could be set so they did not show up in search. That capability has been removed for all except minor users in order to augment graph search’s ability and accuracy.

Importantly, graph search will continue to honor the privacy settings we configure for our timeline posts. And any person we have blocked will still be unable to see our profiles.

Facebook privacy shortcutsFor those who wish to retain as much privacy as possible, the best defense is to be more vigilant than before regarding profile settings. We must set them as we desire, and then check them often. Facebook’s continuous changes commonly cause a shift in those settings. Sometimes they are reset when we share others’ posts that were originally shared publicly.

Facebook post privacy settingsTo be safe, we must get into the habit of looking at the privacy setting of every status update we share before hitting the post button. The setting can be changed after we share, too. But it is best to look beforehand. It takes but a couple of seconds for an unintended reader to save our information if he/she so desires. We lose control over our post if that happens.

How do you feel about your personal Facebook profile being searchable? Will it affect your behavior on the platform? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Facebook Is At It Again!

3/25/2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Facebook changes was a topic I discussed two months ago. I began that post by jokingly saying the only thing constant about the platform is change.  True to form, Facebook has announced another round of…you guessed it: changes!  The internet has been abuzz about this news for the past week, speculating about the potential benefits and adjustments platform users may need to make.  Let’s take a look at the big three changes that are coming our way:

GRAPH SEARCH

Facebook graph search

Many of us are still awaiting the full roll out of Facebook’s new graph search.  Those who do have the new feature are watching it take shape and refine its abilities to formulate valuable search results as it learns more about the information we share.  From a business perspective we are still waiting to see how profoundly graph search will impact us.  And we continue to prepare by serving up as much optimized information as we can, as well as by continuing to post good value and foster lively engagement.  These activities will allow the feature to access comprehensive details about our companies for good search result visibility.

NEWS FEED

Facebook new news feed

The next big change rolling out affects Facebook’s news feed.  The platform has styled it more like a newsletter.  The new feed will present stories in chronological order, with our favorites getting the top spots.  It will be customizable via clickable links in the right side column.  While the default view will be “all friends,” we will be able to use those links to focus on specific postings we desire to see.  One of them is “following,” which will customize the feed to show stories from pages we have liked and groups we have joined.

Facebook’s redesigned news feed will feature much larger, more eye catching visuals.  Pictures and videos will present much bigger, as will the thumbnails that show when we converse or share links. These changes will bring the desktop appearance into line with how the news feed looks on mobile devices.

An interesting thought to ponder is how the new news feed will impact our businesses.  Obviously, the larger graphics – including those contained in our ads – will be helpful.  And now, when people “like” our pages a small graphic of our cover photos as well as our profile pictures will appear in their and their friends’ news feeds.  But since the default will be “all friends,” will our other posts be denied access unless users deliberately click on the “following” choice for their feeds?  This remains to be seen.  I doubt Facebook will do anything to negatively impact our businesses, since they could risk losing our patronage AND our ad dollars.  Things may be a bit bumpy until the changes settle in.  But I’m sure plenty of tweaks will be made to ensure our businesses will be seen. In the mean time, it makes sense to continue doing the things we are doing to boost our chances of being found: having complete, optimized “about” sections with links to our websites and other social sites; lots of appealing visual posts; original and shared posts that contain excellent value for our followers; fostering and supporting good engagement on our pages.

NEW TIMELINE FORMAT

Facebook new Timeline format screen shot

Facebook has FINALLY listened to its disgruntled user masses, and is returning to a single column timeline for our profile pages.  This is a change that has been desired ever since the timeline format was introduced.  Hopefully it will translate well onto our business pages as well.  The actual timeline will now be on the right side of our profiles.  The left column will contain an abbreviated look at our “about” information.  Under the “about” section will be our friends, followed below by our pictures.  If we use any specific apps, like Instagram, those would come next.  The application icons that currently appear below our cover pictures will be replaced by simple text links.  Overall, this looks to be a much cleaner, easier to use interface.

BONUS

Facebook new business cover picture rules

Facebook has JUST changed the rules for business cover pictures.  Previously, they could not contain contact information, calls to action, or direct ad copy such as promotional info.  Now the only rule that still applies is the one put in place last January, limiting text on our cover photos to a maximum 20% of the surface area.  This is a surprising move considering Facebook’s contention that they do not want our cover pictures to appear “spammy.”  Perhaps their thinking is that advertising copy will be severely curtailed anyway by that 20% text limitation.

On the topic of Facebook’s 20% text rule, many of us have been struggling to be sure our business cover pictures are in compliance. Until now we haven’t been able to do much more than take educated guesses. Happily, a new tool to take the guesswork out of the process is currently in beta. The Facebook Cover-Photo Compliance Tool allows us to upload our cover pics, which will then appear with a grid over them. Clicking the grid squares over text areas will tell us what percentage of our cover pictures contains text. Do note, though, that the tool is currently incapable of uploading cover photos for business pages that have limitations of any kind; e.g., age or location.

Four additional changes in just under three months.  Facebook is on the move!  What do you think of the platform’s newest roll outs?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!