Rumor Mill: Facebook Indexing All Personal Information? Well, Not Exactly

While we don’t normally post information about specific social networking sites and products, in general they can be valuable and are used periodically in online marketing campaigns we build for our clients so we felt compelled to post on a recent buzz topic that’s been circulating regarding Facebook and information indexing with Google.

Yesterday, one of our clients received a wall post that read:

“If you don’t know, as of today, Facebook will automatically index ALL YOUR INFO on Google, which allows ANYONE AND EVERYONE to view it. To change this option, go to Settings –> Privacy Settings –> Privacy –> Search –> then UN-CLICK the box that says ‘Allow indexing’. Facebook kept this one quiet. Copy and pass it …on for all your friends ASAP”.


Today, privacy and the protection of personal information are paramount issues being addressed by anyone involved in the collection and distribution of information, particularly online.  With this, and with all the publicity surrounding Facebook’s recent privacy policy changes, it’s no surprise we received inquiries from several clients on the subject.

Here’s what we know.  First, Facebook recently posted the following message in response to the alert being circulated:

Worried about privacy? Your information is safe.

There have been misleading rumors recently about Facebook indexing all your information on Google. This is not true. Facebook created public search listings in 2007 to enable people to search for your name and see a link to your Facebook profile.”


As you see, the original “rumor” is actually partially true by Facebook’s own admission.  Facebook has allowed indexing of partial information including information labeled in your settings as available to “Everyone.”  To the best of our knowledge, this continues. You can, however, resolve this by changing your privacy settings as outlined in the “rumor” statement to prevent further indexing (or indexing in general if you’re thinking about setting up a Facebook account for the first time).  If your information has already been indexed, it will be there for a while and there’s not much you can do about it.  We do recommend, however, that change your settings to best protect yourself as much or as little as you deem necessary.

As always, we recommend anyone signing up for a any Internet service whether it be banking, gaming, social networking or anything else requiring any personal information read the terms of service/use and privacy policy thoroughly before providing any personal information to any source.  If you would like to learn more about privacy guidelines, etc., we recommend you start by visiting the Federal Trade Commission website’s privacy information area online at:

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