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Facebook recently modified its privacy settings; so should you. What may seem private may very well be public to all of cyberspace.

In an interview with e-Commerce Times, Arnstein & Lehr attorney Misha Kerr made the point abundantly clear that “what you think is a private page is not private, and you never know who has access to it.”

Privacy settings and how you use them are becoming the subject of intense litigation. Kerr represented a person who inadvertently attended a filming party for an adult website.  The young woman never signed a release for her images but ended up on the adult Web site anyway. Kerr sued on behalf of the client, claiming violation of privacy and damage to her reputation.

The defendant responded by showing photos the woman had posted to a social networking site which were risque, arguing that her reputation could not be damaged too seriously. Just a few changes to the woman’s privacy settings could have changed the lawsuit’s outcome.

Many Facebook users face a similar risk of having their private lives exposed if they opted for settings Facebook recommended in December 2009. They may not have understood to what they were were agreeing.

If you fall into this category, read on. If not, you should still read on unless you don’t care about your privacy. The recommended settings are somewhat unsettling.  They give Facebook the right to publicize your own Facebook page’s private information  such as your photos, status updates and items you’ve posted.

The Web site ReadWriteWeb.com lists the three most important privacy settings to make sure you have set to your needs.  The first covers things you share, such as your status updates, photos, videos and other posted items; the second addresses who can see your personal information; and the third determines whether your account is accessible to search engines like Google.

All three  settings and more can be modified. For step-by-step directions, visit the ReadWriteWeb.com link.


Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.