If you thought all your personal information was set to private on Facebook, look again.
New features introduced this week by the social networking site have opened up what you once had hidden, giving the public -- and advertisers -- access to your personal info and interests.
Facebook removed its users' ability to control who can see their own interests and personal information. Certain parts of users' profiles, "including your current city, hometown, education and work, and likes and interests" will now be transformed into "connections," meaning that they will be shared publicly. If you don't want these parts of your profile to be made public, your only option is to delete them.
So what does it all mean? Say you've listed "smoking weed" as one of your interests -- as a joke, of course. Well, now that joke is out there in the public because you are now "connected" to everyone else on Facebook who listed it -- as a joke, of course.
Well, it's not so funny now, is it? Thanks Facebook!
But it's not just people who search "smoking weed" who will be admiring your new-found public obsession. As Consumerist put it, "this new privacy erosion is for the real clients of Facebook: advertisers, and the data-mining minions that toil on their behalf."
So how can you avoid this? Well, you could create a new account and state that you're under 18 (you can't change your age on your current account). But then you'd have to deal with the online perverts trying to meet up with you at a backwoods McDonald's.
The other option: deleting your Facebook profile entirely. Not only will you retain some semblance of privacy online, but you might actually get some work done in the real world.
To follow steps to delete your profile, click here.