Assume nothing when you upload Facebook photos because private ones may become public

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - How many times a day do you check Facebook? It's hard to go without the social media site, but users love to complain about their lack of privacy. Facebook recently changed its search functions. If you have a Facebook page, anyone can find you. There's no more hiding on Facebook.

That's just one rule that recently changed, and experts say expect even more changes.

"Only my friends see my pictures," said smartphone user Omar Hernandez.

That's what most users think, but very few actually check.

"Have you ever gone in to make sure they are indeed private?" we asked.

"Actually I haven't. That's a good question. I'll probably have to look into that just to make sure nothing is out there," said Hernandez.

You may be surprised by what's public. Facebook cover photos are not private. They can be seen by everyone long after you update the cover picture with a new one.

"The only way to get rid of it would be to delete it," said Palm Beach Atlantic Technology Professor Jason Thomas.

Thomas, suggests users spend 30 minutes a month checking their privacy settings so your private information doesn't become public when settings change without your knowledge.

"A recent change made it a little more difficult to secure individual pictures in folders that were public before. You have to go in and individually choose private or friends only," said Thomas.

Thomas said you should assume nothing is private on a public site like Facebook.

Your goal may be to interact with old friends, but Facebook's goal is to make their site as interactive and connective as possible while selling more ads. 

"If you go through their terms of service with a fine tooth comb most people would probably want to shy away from using the platform," said Thomas.

If you're curious what the public can see from your profile go to your timeline and in the right corner beneath your cover photo there is a downward arrow. Click that, and click view as.

Then you can view your profile as the public or a specific person. It's a good starting point to see if any of your more private pictures are publicly available.

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