ANNOYING: Facebook opts you into broadcasting your location through your friends

Security & Privacy

You know that you are sharing thing on Facebook. But if you privacy settings are “friends of friends” or “everyone”, your friends may be broadcasting your information into their friends’ feeds without even knowing it.

This means that if you start using Facebook Places and your friends comment on a location you check into, it could end up in your friend’s friends’ “Top News” feed.

Theoretically, your trip to Hooters three weeks could appear in a friend of a friend’s feed. And it could ruin any chance you might with an attractive friend of friend who saw your visit—and her friend’s comments cheering you on—come up in her Facebook Top News. Or your mom could comment on a picture from your birthday party and unintentionally share it with everyone in her feed—including all the cousins who weren’t invited.

And the worst part is that every time Facebook adds a new feature—like Facebook Places—it automatically opts you into broadcasting your activity through your friends.

This is not a huge privacy issue because Facebook is only sharing your info with the people you intended them to, “friends of friends”. But it is annoying. Sharing should be intentional.

The introduction of Facebook Places means that it isn’t just your words and media that are being broadcast. Now your physical location could be “newsworthy” to the friends of your friends.

How to stop your friends from broadcasting your information

Go to “Privacy Settings”. Find “Applications and Websites” and click on “Edit Your Settings”. Click on “Info accessible through your friends” and unclick “Places I check into” or anything else you’d rather only be shared intentionally.

How to stop Facebook from automatically opting you into sharing new features through friends

On the “Application, Games and Websites page” click “Turn off all platform applications.” This will also opt-you out of any application on Facebook. It also makes it unnecessary for you to determine what kind of information you want to share through your friends.

If you turn platform applications or add an application to your page, Facebook will opt you back into sharing everything except “Interested in and looking for” and “Religious and political views”. At least Facebook realizes that there are some things about you that you don’t want your friends broadcasting.

That’s how you prevent your shared information from being broadcast. For more information about Facebook safety, check out How to Save Face: 6 Tips for Safer Facebooking and the F-Secure Facebook page.




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[…] 3. Your birthday is now more obvious, so please do not use it as a password ever for anything. Facebook has taken one of our prime identifying pieces of personal information and made it a minor holiday. Even if you don’t allow anyone but friends to see your birthday on Facebook, your birthday messages may show up on your profile and in friends of friends’ Top News—especially if you and your friends broadcast your activity. […]

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