Group 3 Project -Facebook Default Private Settings-


Who doesn’t know Facebook? I am sure most of does and has an account of one. Our group 3, has decided to go for an Infographic about the lack of people’s privacy on the Internet. The Infographic we are going to analyze its called Do you know who’s watching you?  and we divided it into 5 section. I choose the first part, about Facebook’s default Privacy settings, because I am a user of Facebook and as most of us does, I share information and I wanted to go for deep detail of what is going on with our privacy.


Facebook founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg defines itself as a social network that gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep in touch with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they know. Available in more than 70 languages and having 845 million monthly active users at the end of December 2011, (data from the Facebook Newsroom) Facebook has become the most popular social network in the world. Since 2005, until today Facebook has experienced many transformations.What began as a network exclusively for students of Harvard University, became a communication tool available to everyone since 2006.

Every time Facebook revamp its site, they tend to adjust the default privacy settings. Many people on Facebook are not aware of this changes, and they tend to accept the default settings not having any information about the changes. As we are going to look at the changes of private policy from 2005 to 2010, you will realized that it is important that each user should be aware and inform about the changes as user’s privacy has become more open to the public and the entire Internet.


Here is my analysis of the Infograph:   (*notice that this is when a user doesn’t change his or hers private settings)


2005: Network

2007: Network 

2009: Network

2010 :The Entire Internet 

Wall posts 

2005: Network



2010:The entire Internet


2005:All of Facebook

2007:All of  Facebook

2009:The entire Internet 

2010: The entire Internet


2005:All of Facebook

2007:All of Facebook

2009:The entire Internet

2010:The entire Internet


2005: You


2009:The entire Internet

2010:The entire Internet

 Other Data




2010:The entire Internet 

Generally the changes from 2005 to 2010 it’s pretty amazing, but  “Photos”, “Wall Posts” and “Likes” had a radical change. For example, in the case of  “Wall Posts”, until 2009, only the Network had access of it, however after a year, the entire Internet had the access of people’s wall posts. In the case of  “Likes” is more shocking. until 2007, “Likes” were in control of the user, no one could see it, however after 2 years, since 2009, The entire Internet has access to it.

Here is a Timeline written by Kurt Opsahl, a Senior staff at the Electronic Frontier Foundation ( an international non-profit digital rights advocacy) where he explains each privacy policy from the year 2005 to 2010.

 Private Policy 2005:

No personal information that you submit to The Facebook will be available to any user of the Web Site who does not belong to at least one of the groups specified by you in your privacy settings.

Private Policy 2006:

We understand you may not want everyone in the world to have the information you share on Facebook; that is why we give you control of your information. Our default privacy settings limit the information displayed in your profile to your school, your specified local area, and other reasonable community limitations that we tell you about.

Privacy Policy 2007: 

Profile information you submit to Facebook will be available to users of Facebook who belong to at least one of the networks you allow to access the information through your privacy settings (e.g., school, geography, friends of friends). Your name, school name, and profile picture thumbnail will be available in search results across the Facebook network unless you alter your privacy settings.

Privacy Policy 2008: 

Facebook is designed to make it easy for you to share your information with anyone you want. You decide how much information you feel comfortable sharing on Facebook and you control how it is distributed through your privacy settings. You should review the default privacy settings and change them if necessary to reflect your preferences. You should also consider your settings whenever you share information. …

Information set to “everyone” is publicly available information, may be accessed by everyone on the Internet (including people not logged into Facebook), is subject to indexing by third party search engines, may be associated with you outside of Facebook (such as when you visit other sites on the internet), and may be imported and exported by us and others without privacy limitations. The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” You can review and change the default settings in your privacy settings.

Privacy Policy 2009:

Certain categories of information such as your name, profile photo, list of friends and pages you are fan of gender, geographic region, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available to everyone, including Facebook-enhanced applications, and therefore do not have privacy settings. You can, however, limit the ability of others to find this information through search using your search privacy settings.

Private Policy 2010:

When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. … The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” … Because it takes two to connect, your privacy settings only control who can see the connection on your profile page. If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.


From this timeline, we can note how Facebook  in 2005, offered our own space where only ourselves had the total control of our data. However, over time things have changed and in 2010, our privacy settings do not work at all .

As the example of “privacy settings do not work at all” you can see that the private and security offered by Facebook is really poor and as the graph suggests in the Info graphic, if a new user of Facebook doesn’t properly know how to set her or his private settings the entire Internet will have access to her or his private information.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. lockmantuj
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:17:05

    I enjoyed reading this post. I find the comic you added at the end to be one of the most important and possibly overlooked aspects of facebook privacy. I think there’s much fear about strangers or employers learning about us through information posted on Facebook.

    But the bigger issue has to do with how data on peoples behavior and preferences are shared with advertisers. I think this is part of the reason why so much money is being pumped in to Facebook by big investors. They see that data on so many people as a huge gold mine.


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