When you first created your Facebook account, chances are, you set your profile page to private. Only approved friends could view your pictures, posts and personal information.

But thanks to the social networking site's new privacy settings, that's all changed. In December, Facebook announced that it was making it easier for users to connect.

The default is no longer private, said Marshall Kirkpatrick, a lead writer for the technology blog called ReadWriteWeb.

The new default is public for all the things that you post on the site.

Kirkpatrick is likely Portland's premier authority for all things Facebook. He said Facebook's announcement gave users the option to manually change their privacy settings.

But he said many people simply clicked ok to the recommended settings, and therefore agreed to have their pictures, posts, videos and most personal information be made public.

Kirkpatrick said about 35 percent of Facebook users manually changed their privacy settings. But there are more than 350 million Facebook users, meaning hundreds of millions of people opted for the recommended settings.

It's a valid question I think to ask whether all those people knew what they are ok-ing, Kirkpatrick said. On a personal level, a lot of people are exposing things about their private lives that they aren't aware are being exposed.

There are some settings you cannot change. The site made all profile pictures, friend lists and fan pages irrevocably public. The other changes were not set in stone. You can still choose who sees much of your information. Here's how: First go to the top right hand corner of your homepage and click Account.

Scroll down to Privacy Settings and then click on Profile Information. Here, you have the option to change your settings from Everyone to Only Friends.

You can even customize, so only certain people can view certain information. If you want to keep your information off search engines, there's another step you need to take. Go back into Privacy Settings and click on Search. Un-click the box that's labeled Allow. Kirkpatrick said taking these steps is a good start. But he recommended keeping your eye out for future changes.

There's no guarantee that Facebook isn't going to make more changes in the future and push more of what's private today out to the public in the future, Kirkpatrick said.

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