New Site Sifts Through Sensitive Facebook Statuses

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You might want to check the privacy settings on your status updates. Because there may be some you don’t want just anyone to see.

That’s the message from Openbook, a new site fed by Facebook users that have their status updates set to be seen by all. In some cases, that might not be that bad of an idea. But Openbook lets you run a search for any query. One for “hate my boss” for example, shows more than 25 people have used the phrase in the past day alone, many in a context that would be more than enough to get canned. Other popular searches show the extent to which people will overshare: just as many people posted the phrase “lost my virginity” (albeit many jokingly.)

Update:One of Openbook’s founders, James Home, chimed in with an explanation for why his group created the site. He says Openbook is designed to draw attention to changes Facebook made to its privacy policy in Dec. 2009, when the company set the defaults for information like wall posts to be visible to users across the Web. Users had a chance to dial back privacy settings, but many didn’t, a choice that can result in some…interesting…situations.

But now that the world’s caught on to Openbook (the site’s serving some 23k searches every hour) it may be time to check those privacy settings again. That or delete Facebook entirely (if you can figure out how.) According to Openbook, there’s plenty of people planning to do the same thing.

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