Last week, as I was reading through posts from family and friends on Facebook, I found the following on a friend's wall. As this said friend is what I would call a 'habitual poster', posting anywhere from five to ten times I day, I don't always read carefully what she writes, often scanning over her posts. This one caught my eye, especially in light of our recent readings:

"Dear Facebookers - Your private inbox messages are now visible for all to see, from 2010 and earlier! This could get VERY awkward, very quickly...this is a new change from Facebook as of yesterday. Don't believe me? Read your timeline from those years...yikes! They look like wall posts.....they are not! There's an easy fix--when you're in your own timeline, just click on the year on the right (2007,2008, 2009) and you'll see a box with a bunch of friends messages and a header that says 89 people have written on so and so timeline--hover over the right until you see the pencil, click and select hide from timeline and then do that for each year."

This looks like the perfect example of how Facebook is "redefining privacy" in today's digital age and how their approach to controlling privacy settings leaves users vulnerable as was discussed by boyd & Hgarittai in their article, Facebook privacy settings: Who cares? (2008, p. 1). And I must admit as I read it, I was caught short, worried some of my personal information had been exposed. But upon further investigation, I found out it was just a scam. According to Hoax-Slayer this most recent posting is taking another turn on the viral train.

As I mentioned in my Week 1 Journal post, I am extremely careful about my online presence; therefore, I try to check my settings each month to make sure what I want private is private. Even though this post was a scam, it forced me to pause and check my settings - all of them - because bottom line, we must actively monitor our settings as policies are far from 'transparent' when you are using the site.

In a search for resources that I could share with both students and faculty to help both educate and guide about privacy settings, I found Facebook's own privacy help page useful. Here are a few others resources I plan to share:

How to Lockdown Your Facebook Account for Maximum Privacy and Security

Facebook Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Facebook

Facebook Hoaxes and Scams

Finally, here is a useful video from Consumer Reports on managing Facebook privacy settings:

boyd, d., & Hargittai, E. (2010). Facebook privacy settings: Who cares? First Monday, 15 (8). Retrieved from