Facebook has been hard at work trying to really find its balance between privacy, user-friendly design, and open community. The latest instance in its self-discovery occurred in December, when they made some really contentious changes, that reworked everything about Facebook’s take on privacy. Some accuse it of trying to be more like the privacy-free Twitter. If before December’s changes, you went in and used Facebook’s Tool to keep your privacy settings unchanged, you would have nothing to worry about. If you chose to go with the recommended settings in the Transition Tool dialog box though, would you be distressed to learn that you just allowed Facebookto publish all your private information, photos and all, to just anyone?

Anyone at all can see your status updates too, because that is the default position you chose. And if you have certain search settings in place, anyone just searching on the Internet, can see all that information appear in their general search listings too. But to change this to something more sensible is not difficult. You just need to go to the “Profile Information” setting under the Settings menu, and make sure that the Posts by Me parameter is set to Only Friends.

How about getting your personal data off Google? When you bring up the Search Settings page on Facebook, you get a message that tells you that there has been a malicious rumor abroad that leads people to believe that Facebook information is all spilled out on Google. Facebook assures you that this is not true. Nothing could be more misleading. Because Facebook’s Public Search setting in the Search Settings page, lays down what exactly you’re putting out on Google. If you have Allow selected, all information you have on Facebook that you chose to share with “Everyone” goes out on Google. You will need un select Allow to to get a reasonable bit of privacy back.

The forums are on fire with how irresponsible of Facebook it was to throw your personal information so quickly to everyone with an Internet connection. No doubt, quite a few people found their marriages breaking up, and found themselves losing their jobs because information and pictures they thought was private on their Facebook pages, was suddenly all hung out for the world to see.