Facebook Spamming Your Identity in Search Results to Drive Their Traffic – Part 2

I wrote about this issue back on May 18th when I removed my public listing. This is not a new feature today as is incorrectly being reported. It is Facebook announcing something that they should have announced back in May when I noticed them doing this. Some bloggers seem to have gotten this part totally wrong.

I’d bet this is in reaction to user complaints. Good that they are listening apparently, but it was totally avoidable with some communication. People who use social media get social media (well most do at least). They understand how the rules of engagement are a bit different on these sites and people need to be eased into that if they are not as they make false assumptions.

I awoke this morning to find this message upon logging into Facebook:


Public Search Listings on Facebook

Facebook now enables anyone to search for Facebook users who have public search listings from our Welcome page. In a few weeks we will allow users to make these public search listings visible to search engines like Google. Public Search Listings only include names and profile pictures.

Because you have restricted your search privacy settings your public search listing will not be shown. If you want friends who are not yet on Facebook to be able to search for you by name, you can change your settings on the Search Privacy page.

No privacy rules are changing; if you do choose to make this public search listing available, anyone who discovers your public search listing must sign up and login to contact you via Facebook. Learn More.

But David you currently have a Facebook badge on your blog? Yes, I do. When people are visiting my blog, I have as an experiment put that up. It’s not creating a cluttered search results page and it’s not allowing Facebook to be the first page of choice to enter the blog.

I’m not going to write on how to remove yourself, I’d like to see if you think their documentation does a good job of telling you how to. When I did it, it was overly complex and not clear how to. I’d like to hear how the experience is now.

UPDATE: Danny Sullivan also talks about how “this is not new“.

5 Responses to Facebook Spamming Your Identity in Search Results to Drive Their Traffic – Part 2

  1. Pete Prestipino September 5, 2007 at 11:09 am #

    Dave, you are being an alarmist. It took me a whopping fifteen seconds to “CLICK THE PRIVACY LINK” and change my settings. You are right in that listings have been searchable at Facebook since May but that’s not the real story – they are now (or will be in a month) crawlable by SE’s.

  2. Nick O'Neill September 5, 2007 at 11:13 am #

    The search feature is new for outside people. That is it. I’m not quite sure why you suggest that we got this wrong. I mentioned the public facing profile months ago as well.

    The public profile is not new, but the public search definitely is.

  3. David Dalka September 5, 2007 at 11:14 am #

    Hi Pete,

    Nice to see you are alive. I’m saying they should have made this communication back in May, nothing more. Additionally, many people who should know better are stating that this is new. As Danny Sullivan also said, it’s not.

    Of course if you prefer the PR fluff piece out there today, that is your right.

  4. Rhea Drysdale September 5, 2007 at 11:18 am #

    I agree with Pete, it was a very simple process. I’m sure it was less so before the update though.

  5. David Dalka September 5, 2007 at 11:41 am #

    Hi Nick,

    Back in May, when doing my monthly Google of my name – this showed up in the search results – when searching as an outside person. This was sudden and with no announcement.

    However, the profile showing up in public search results on other search engines is a far worse offense and this was done without notice. Nick, I’m stating that the landing page I hit on my name when not logged in is the same as this one – it’s the same thing. Do I know if the search box worked on Facebook then explicitly for certain? No. Do I think these two initiatives are related? Yes.

    Maybe wrong was too strong a word (sorry about that 🙂 ), it’s just certainly not new, except they are now publicizing it because they want to drive their traffic explicitly. Last time, it was implicitly. The event in May was a larger breach of trust. We’ll never know for sure if this was fully live as a beta feature back then.

Leave a Reply