The Not So “Private” Facebook

With the new privacy settings on Facebook even more of us are in denial that people on the outside can view our private information. Many believe that when you utilize the privacy features on Facebook, including restricting the search options for yourself, you are in control of who sees that information. Well you could be wrong, and it could be more than just a future employer analyzing your information.

Recently a marketer who wishes to know more about their cliental base, created a targeted marketing strategy or profit from selling the rights to this information which can now be used with Facebook. According to Ryan Singel of, marketers can take advantage of a feature on Facebook intended for its users to find their friends by scanning through their email addresses in the feature known as “friend finder.” Marketers can take a list of email addresses they have collected and run them through this feature. Voila! Now they can see your full name, age, friends, gender, job and even location. Next they can even process all that data and make inferences about race, hobbies and sexual orientation. This would be a dream tool to any marketers to gain an even more inside look into their customers and their needs.

Many users have tried to restrict who can search for them through the search privacy options, but if your email address is known they can view the rest of your profile, which is now considered public information by Facebook. This information includes your name, current city, picture and networks. Facebook says it is working hard to find scammers and setting a limit on the number of email addresses that can be run through friend finder by an individual.  The site also says it encourages people to monitor their profile and adjust their privacy settings accordingly.

As of now it is unclear whether or not marketers have taken advantage of this outlet, but it would be very hard to know for certain.

-Jessica Smith