If you haven’t looked at your own Facebook profile recently, you might want to go check it out.
The social network recently tweaked a setting that changes how your employment and education history is displayed, a spokeswoman for Facebook told The Huffington Post on Monday. While the change won’t make any private information public, it could make some previously tucked-away information very obvious to your friends — which might be a bit uncomfortable.
Essentially, the tweak causes your extended education and employment history to appear by default in the “Intro” field on your profile. That “Intro” section is the very first thing someone sees when they go to your page.
For example, a friend of mine is accidentally broadcasting all of this information (that we’ve redacted) in his Intro field:
Asked about it, he said, “That’s so weird.”
Facebook said it wants to help users understand more about their privacy settings.
“This is a change we made in the past week to make it easier to understand which of your work and education (school, college) fields are public,” the spokeswoman said. “None of these fields have [had] their privacy settings changed; we’re now simply showing the already-public fields in Intro.”
“If you’ve already curated what you want to appear there, this change shouldn’t affect you,” the spokeswoman added.
In other words, your “Intro” won’t show anything that isn’t already listed in your “Work and Education” field on Facebook. The problem is, there’s a difference between having all of that information publicly displayed right beneath your profile picture and having that information nested deeper within your page.
The Intro field is meant to display the information that’s most relevant to who you are on Facebook. For example, my Intro lists my job title, because I frequently and publicly post articles on Facebook. Displaying your years-old internship might make it seem like you’re gloating about your experience — or just a little sloppy about how you operate on social media.
Paying attention to this is a good idea, as Facebook suggests, but a notification about the change might’ve been appreciated. That there wasn’t one suggests which part of the term “social network” Facebook cares more about.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough to adjust your preferences here. On a computer, click the little pencil icon next to one of the lines on your Intro and then de-select anything you don’t want there.