Facebook's privacy controls are seriously broken

Want to make your Facebook profile only visible to your friends? Good luck with that. It may not even be possible.


I've spent a fair amount of time lately messing about with Facebook's privacy settings, which is almost like having a life, but not quite. Then I discovered something odd and disturbing: I cannot make all of my "likes and interests" private so that only my friends can see them. Even when I tell Facebook to do it, it won't -- they're still visible to anyone who looks up my Facebook profile.

Is it a bug? Was it something I said? Was it all those jokes about Facebook causing venereal disease or because I published a nude photo of Mark Zuckerberg? I dunno. But whatever the reason, even with every single Facebook setting turned to "friends only," anyone on Facebook can still see the 128 groups I have joined on the site. To wit:

Tynan's facebook likes aren't private

To see if this was a fluke, I tried the same thing with the lovely but entirely fictitious Eve Sarcasta, an account I created so I could test out Facebook apps and quizzes without getting slime all over my personal account. (Yes, I know, I'm not supposed to create fake accounts on Facebook. Sue me.)

Here's Eve's public profile using Facebook's default settings:

eves facebook profile public version

Here's Eve's account after I changed all of her settings to "friends only" and removed access to her information from her friends' apps, Google search, etc:

eves private facebook profile

As you can see, I was able to make Eve's account pretty (though not entirely) private, listing just her name, gender, photograph, and extreme hotness. (That photo is the luscious, and very real, Claudia Lynx, if you're interested.) So there's clearly something different about my account, possibly because it's older and contains information Facebook's privacy controls no longer can address. Or possibly something else. It's a mystery.

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