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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Facebook to begin indexing its profiles

Beginning in October, students who Google their names may be surprised to see their own faces smiling back.

Facebook announced in September that a new change made to their Web site will allow
anyone to see the name and profile picture of Facebook users through any Internet search engine.

Facebook representatives said their change will not compromise any security the site offers its users, and the new addition is
simply a convenience to non-registered users.

“We are making public search listings available to give people who are not
currently registered on Facebook the opportunity to discover their friends on
the site,” said a Facebook representative.

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Katie Watson, a corporate communications representative with Google, said that
Facebook previously used a code to prevent search engines from indexing Facebook profiles. With the removal of the code,
Facebook profiles will be able to be indexed by any search engine on the web, not just Google.

“The decision to begin allowing indexed sites was Facebook’s alone. Google, or any other search engine, played no part in that decision,” said Watson.

Facebook representatives are not concerned about potential security issues, stressing the fact that a full Facebook profile will
never be able to be viewed by a search engine user who is not also registered with Facebook.

“A public search listing only shows the name and profile picture,” said a Facebook representative.

“Users can choose not to make this listing available to people who are not friends on
Facebook. They can also choose not to be indexed by external search engines.”

Privacy settings can be changed under the privacy tab on Facebook. Under the “search”
tab, there are several options that deal with the indexing of profiles.

However, with Facebook consistently adding new features that allow users increased access to other users’ information, some
students have expressed concern about Facebook’s decreasing security.

“I think the indexing is a very bad idea,” said Michelle Rozga, senior English major. “It robs us of our privacy.”

Other students are not so ruffled by this new feature. Brad McNeill, a senior psychology major, said that by allowing
search engines to index profiles, Facebook is simply expanding their search feature.

“If you put information on the Internet, people are going to find it if you aren’t careful. If you change your privacy settings, the indexing of Facebook profiles
isn’t something to worry about,” he said.

Teasha Flury, a senior public relations major, said the indexing could be a beneficial tool for those who want to participate, while still protecting those who would not want their Facebook profiles indexed on search engines.

“The indexing is a choice,” she said. “Those that would find it useful could participate while those that wish not to take part would not be forced to join.”

Students have also expressed concern that
Facebook has not done enough to warn them that more changes are on the way.

Although Facebook posted a notice about the profile indexing on their “news feed” feature, many students did not see the notice.

“Lack of knowledge is a big problem,” Flury said. “They should make this option known
but also inform people that it is voluntary. Some wouldn’t want to be easily found on the Internet.”

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