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Facebook status updates go public for some users

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Richard B. Levi/Newscom

(Read caption) Users who have set their profile privacy options to be viewed by "everyone," are the only ones whose status will be immediately available to the public.

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Word of caution: Those Facebook status updates you're posting may soon be available to the public by default.

But don't worry just yet.

Users who have set their profile privacy options to be viewed by "everyone," are the only ones whose status will be immediately available to the public. At least for now.

Yesterday, Facebook wrote a blog post announcing it has started testing a new beta version of its updated program "Publisher," which gives users the option to make Facebook status updates public or not – though the default setting is public.

The new program's privacy controls features a pull-down menu listing options to let "friends," "friends of friends," or "friends and networks" see status message updates. There is also a "custom" option where people can choose which friends are able to view a status update or a photo album, for example.

In an article about the new privacy options, Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb, says while the beta program is currently only available to those who have made their profiles and status updates public, he notes that it will eventually expand so that "all your messages on Facebook will soon be naked visible to the world." And he predicts that "a whole lot of people are going to hate it."

Often, the Facebook community doesn't welcome change. The News Feed, which launched in 2006, faced harsh criticism when it began displaying users' activities and updates online. At the time, it even sparked petitions and groups protesting the new feature.

Horizons has written about Facebook privacy issues before, specifically the introduction of the advertising feature, Beacon, which records "friends" web purchasing habits for others to see. The service, which is still active but has since been revised due to privacy complaints, did not go over well with users when it was first offered in 2007.

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