Why Privacy Matters

Today I typed my name into google and discovered that the second thing that pops up is a link to my Facebook page. Until now I had never really thought about my privacy settings on Facebook.  I was so sure that everything was set to friends only and that I could not be searched up online however this was not the case. When checking my privacy settings I discovered that not only can my facebook and other social media platforms be googled, but also all my photos can be viewed as well as my friends’ list and other information I did not know was accessible to people who are not my friends.

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 9.50.41 PM
Image One: My facebook page that anybody can currently search.  Image Two: Screenshot of my privacy settings.

After freaking out a little bit that I had been living this way for so long, I changed my profile settings. Now while anyone can still send me a friend request, only my facebook friends can see any personal information on my facebook page. I have also now changed my settings to make sure nobody can search me by email or phone number.

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 10.12.45 PM
Screenshot of what now happens when searching my email address in facebook after changing my settings.

While finding out a lot more about how easily accessible my online presence is, I found myself relating to a lot of things Megan Whelan talked about in her blog post. In her post, she says “Our ability to control who sees what online feels a lot like that – like it’s not up to us, but some different, slightly malevolent, force. It’s hard to feel ownership over something that’s constantly being taken away from you.”  This is very similar to the feeling I felt after realizing how easy it is to out a whole lot of info about me from a simple google search and how out of control and ignorant I was until today.

After reading Whelan’s blog and learning of the instances of people being stalked and searched online, I have now realized how important my privacy settings. While I can tell Facebook my privacy preferences, it still does not mean information about me is still not easily accessible on the internet.

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