Feeds

Site auto-trawls embarrassing Facebook posts

'Delete Facebook account' surges into Google top 10

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A new site illustrates the privacy perils of users who leave their public updates searchable outside of Facebook.

Youropenbook (formerly Facebooksearch) allows interested parties to search for status updates containing potentially embarrassing information such as "playing hooky", "stupid boss" or "control urges" simply by clicking on a link. The site also offers customised searches of freely viewable status updates. Search results return the name and profile picture of those making potentially embarrassing comments.

The site neatly illustrates the privacy perils of making status updates and wall posts viewable in much the same way PleaseRobMe previously illustrated how location updates through services such as FourSquare might potentially help out burglars.

Youropenbook automates a type of security shortcoming first noticed by a commentard on Slashdot. The Facebook Graph site allows users to search for posts containing the word sex, or any other search term the curious might choose to select.

A spokeswoman for Facebook explained: "This is the search feature of the Graph API, documented here (http://developers.facebook.com/docs/api#search.)"

The same search is possible directly on Facebook.

"Only posts (status updates, notes) which are Everyone and Page names are available unless you authenticate with an app (e.g. the TweetDeck app is a desktop client you can use to search over your own status updates)," she added.

Facebook has become synonymous over recent months with attempts to erode privacy settings so that users' information is shared by default. As illustrated here there are 150+ privacy options on Facebook making the process of locking down a profile the 21st century equivalent of programming a VCR.

With all the privacy furore around Facebook, including EU complaints over a recent privacy rollback and more recent moves to share user information automatically with "pre-approved" websites, it's little wonder that some users have decided the simplest option is to quit the site. "Delete Facebook account" is now the ninth hottest search term on Google, Sophos reports. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.