September 29, 2012, 7:40 AM — Do you use Facebook? Hundreds of millions of people use the social network to connect with friends and family, share pictures and videos, play games, and more. What you might not realize is that everything you do on Facebook is tracked and logged.
Facebook also keeps track of your search history. When you use the search bar at the top to see if a specific college buddy is on Facebook so you can re-connect, Facebook remembers that. Facebook also remembers if you search for Kim Kardashian or marijuana.
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You can see virtually all of your Facebook actions through the Activity Log, and you can change whether things show up on your Timeline, which audience can see the information (in some cases), or delete the action altogether.
But one thing you haven't been able to view or remove until now is your Facebook search history. Facebook is fixing that oversight by rolling out an addition to the Activity Log. It may take a few days before the new feature shows up on your Facebook account.
When it comes to social networking, you're most likely your own worst enemy. Is your address, phone number, or birth date exposed to the public? Have you ever checked-in at your home, or where you work? Do you ever talk about things an attacker might use to guess your authentication questions--like your favorite sports teams, the first car you ever owned, or your high school mascot?
It's good sense to have a cross-device security platform in place on your PCs and mobile devices to guard against malicious attacks. But security software generally can't protect you from yourself.
There are two things that are crucial to staying safe and secure on a social network like Facebook. The first is to take the time to explore and configure the security controls that are available. Spend some time in the Account Settings and Privacy Settings and make sure the various options are set up the way you want them to be.
The second thing you need to do is exercise some discretion. It's fine if you want to check-in at Starbucks, but confine the check-in to your Facebook social network rather than posting it to the general public. What would be even better is if you limited sensitive information to specific groups of contacts like your family and close friends. If you use some common sense and take basic precautions about what you post or who can view, it you will go a long way toward preventing any security issues or privacy concerns.
Social networking is a delicate balancing act. The primary objective of a social network is to interact and be social, but that has to be countered with some prudence to ensure that you're not sharing too much information with those who shouldn't see it. Check out the Facebook Activity Log--and your Facebook search history once it becomes available--and review just how much information you might be putting at risk.