I’m always a bit skeptical when I hear people bitching about Facebook or offering conspiracy theories on how this “evil” company is using our information (see “You Oughta Know: Facebook and Your Copyright“) but in this case, I’m about to advocate being very vigilant about one feature.
Your Activity Log.
Ask yourself this…would you be embarrassed/bummed/freaked out if someone were able to see who and what you search for on Facebook?
I’m no Facebook stalker, but like everyone else, I’ve poked around to see what former friends and boyfriends have been up to in the years since we parted. I’ve looked for some items that, out of context, might seem a bit off (Hippie Peace Freaks, for example). I also tend to use it to jump to specific friend’s profile pages so I can message them or leave a note on their Timeline.
With Facebook’s upcoming graph search (which does have the potential to be very cool), while that information still won’t be public, it could be used to help make connections and recommendations automatically.
And that’s enough to make me clear the ol’ search log.
The Huffington Post has a good tutorial here, but it’s pretty simple.
1. Go to your profile page and look for the “Activity Log” button near the right side of the screen. Click it.
2. You’ll see a dashboard for every click, search and upload you’ve ever made (yikes). Along the left sidebar, look for the “search” option — you’ll probably have to click the “more” button that is below the section that starts with “photos.”
3. Voila! Every search you’ve made. You can delete one by one or clear all, which is what I did.
4. Do this every once in a while, because when you clear it, it only gets rid of past items and doesn’t block the activity log from recording new searches.
Note that you can do this with other activity, so if you’re concerned, you might want to do a little housekeeping.