Thought that message about you cheating on your test was within your Facebook friends? Or maybe you took a HIV test and found out negative (or positive), or just want to shout out that you have lost your virginity. Well, get ready to learn something harsh. Your status messages are public, and now they are searchable. Yes, just like Google, I can type something in Openbook and find out what you and the over 300 million people on Facebook are talking about – unless you are smart and lock down your account.
Even though your profile may be locked down, it does not mean your status messages are. And that is what they try and use to power the service.
Why? In the famous words of Mark Zuckerberg, “They ‘trust me’. Dumb f**ks”. Actually, it is to protest the recent changes to privacy settings on Facebook (you know, the ones we have been covering for the past week or so), and to show how open the API is on Facebook – and it is very, very open. So open in fact that you do not need to log into Facebook just to see it, and hence the reason why many people’s embarrassing status messages will be able to be seen and captured… by us, the bloggers who practise the tradition of Schadenfreude.
Does it actually work?
Well, I did try it. I can safely say that yes, you’re status messages are searchable because I took one of my ‘friends’ on Facebook and used Openbook to search it. The result of which, you can see below.
So much for Facebook’s own privacy statements when they can’t even protect it from a simple API query. If you want to lock down your privacy settings, you might wait a while, because we’re soon going to be writing one up soon.