Native Americans Say Facebook Is Accusing Them of Using Fake Names


By Aura Bogado, Color Lines

Dana Lone Hill tried logging on to Facebook last Monday only to be locked out because the social media giant believed that she was using a fake name. In an essay over at Last Real Indians, Dana, who’s Lakota and has been using Facebook since 2007, explains that she’s presented a photo ID, library card and one piece of mail to the company in an attempt to restore her account. The day after Lone Hill’s account was suspended she was able to access it briefly but she was then booted a second time.

In her essay Lone Hill says that this has happened to other Native users she knows:

I had a little bit of paranoia at first regarding issues I had been posting about until I realized I wasn’t the only Native American this happened to. One friend was forced to change his name from his Cherokee alphabet to English. Another was forced to include her full name, and a few were forced to either smash the two word last names together or omit one of the two words in the last name. Oglala Lakota Lance Brown Eyes was bootd from facebook and when he turned in his proof of identification they changed his name to Lance Brown. After contacting the Better Business Bureau and threatening Facebook with a class action lawsuit, they sent him an apology and let him use his given name again.

To reestablish a Facebook account after being accused of using a fake name, users must submit one government-issued ID such as a birth certificate, passport or voter identification card or two other forms of identification such as library card and a yearbook photo. The company appears to have been questioning certain Native users since at least 2009, when it deactivated Parmelee Kills The Enemy’s account. More recently, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Facebook deleted a number of Native accounts. In one case, the company asked users Shane and Jacqui Creepingbear for identification to prove that they weren’t using fake names. Shane took to Twitter to express his disappointment:



Via Facebook messenger, Shane says that the couple’s ordeal came to a swift end when he had some friends who work in the tech industry contact Facebook directly. Shane, who’s part of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, says that he and Jacqui have “administrative shields” on their Facebook accounts and that their names will no longer be questioned.

“It’s a problem when someone decides they are the arbiter of names,” says Shane. “It can come off a tad racist.”

Facebook’s 10-year-old real-name policy stipulates that users “provide the name they use in real life.” However, the social network doesn’t require people to use their legal names, according to an open letter the company’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, posted last October. In the letter Cox apologizes to ”drag queens, drag kings, transgender [people], and [to the] extensive community of our friends, neighbors and members of the LGBT community” whose accounts had been shut down after a user reported hundreds of them as fake. At press time no such apology has been issued to Natives.

In a statement to Colorlines, a Facebook spokesperson wrote:

“Over the last several months, we’ve made some significant improvements in the implementation of this standard, including enhancing the overall experience and expanding the options available for verifying an authentic name. We have more work to do, and our teams will continue to prioritize these improvements so everyone can be their authentic self on Facebook.”

The spokesperson also told Colorlines that any idenitification provided by users is reviewed and verified by a single Facebook employee and then immediately destroyed—which may calm some privacy concerns.

Lone Hill, who went by Lone Elk until she found her birth certificate last summer, tells Colorlines that she submitted her documents to the company last Tuesday only to receive an automated e-mail asking for even more documents—“credit cards, Social Security numbers, stuff I’m not comfortable sending.” Lone Hill says she misses having access to her nearly 2,000 Facebook friends and doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to recover photos of her four children that she stored in her account.

A petition demanding Facebook change its policy toward Native names, started about four months ago, has garnered more than 9,000 signatures.

Update, 4:14p ET
Dane Lone Hill’s account was restored by Facebook today after being suspended for the better part of a week. Lone Hill had posted about her ordeal on Last Real Indians on Friday, which Colorlines picked up and published a post about Monday. In an email addressed to Lone Hill at 2:58p ET and forwarded to Colorlines, Facebook explained:

Hi Dana,

It looks like your account was suspended by mistake. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. You should now be able to log in. If you have any issues getting back into your account, please let me know.

View updates from your support dashboard: [REDACTED]


Community Operations

For Rare Languages, Social Media Provide New Hope



by Lydia Emmanouilidou, NPR


At a time when social media users, , are trading in fully formed words for abbreviations (“defs” instead of “definitely”), it may seem that some languages are under threat of deterioration — literally.

But social media may actually be beneficial for languages.

Of the estimated that are spoken around the world, UNESCO projects half will disappear by the end of the century. But social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter are in a position to revitalize and preserve indigenous, minority and endangered languages, linguists and language-preservation activists say.


Facebook is available in over 70 languages, ranging from Ancient Greek to French.

Facebook is available in over 70 languages, ranging from Ancient Greek to French. Facebook

One of the reasons some indigenous languages are endangered is that increased connectivity through the Internet and social media have strengthened dominant languages such as English, Russian and Chinese, says Anna Luisa Daigneault of the .

Endangered languages stand a greater chance of survival when they are used online.

“Having a Web presence for those languages is super important for their survival. Social media are just another connection point for people who want to stay connected to their language,” says Daigneault, Latin America projects coordinator and development officer at the institute.

Today, Facebook — the world’s most popular social networking site — is available in . The list includes indigenous languages like Cherokee and Quechua. This year, Facebook says it launched 13 news languages, including Azerbaijani, Javanese, Macedonian, Galician and Sinhala.

Facebook through the website; if there is enough demand, the language will then appear in the and the Facebook community can begin translating the interface.

, a community of 16 volunteers in Bolivia, is working on translating the Facebook interface in Aymara, one of the three official languages in Bolivia.


An Aymara woman prepares to take part in a pageant in La Paz, Bolivia, in 2013. Jaqi-Aru, a community of volunteers is working on translating the Facebook interface in the indigenous language of Aymara.

An Aymara woman prepares to take part in a pageant in La Paz, Bolivia, in 2013. Jaqi-Aru, a community of volunteers is working on translating the Facebook interface in the indigenous language of Aymara. Juan Karita/AP


Elias Quispe Chura, the group’s Facebook translation manager, says the effort involves young Aymara people from different Bolivian provinces. “We promote use of our mother tongue on the Internet through translation projects and content creation,” he says. “With that, we want to contribute and enrich the content of our language in cyberspace.”

He says Aymara native speakers in Peru, Chile, and Argentina are waiting anxiously to see their language as an option on Facebook. The group started the project in 2012 and is more than halfway done translating 24,000 words, phrases and sentences.

But the task hasn’t been free of challenges.

“There are many words that there aren’t in Aymara, for example: mobile phone — ‘jawsaña,’ password — ‘chimpu,’ message — ‘apaya,’ event — ‘wakichäwi,’ journalist — ‘yatiyiri,’ user — ‘apnaqiri’ and so on,” Chura says. “In some cases, we had to create new words taking into account the context, the situation, function and their meanings. And in others, we had to go to the .”

Facebook provides some support to the volunteer translators, offering stylistic guidelines on its page.

The website can be used to revitalize and preserve indigenous, minority and endangered languages in more ways than one.

Pamela Munro, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles, has created a to post words, phrases and songs in Tongva, a language formerly spoken in the Los Angeles area.

Munro, a consultant to the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, says the language hasn’t been spoken by a native speaker in about 50 years. She hopes to reach people who are interested in learning about the language through the Facebook page.

“We have readers all over the world … people post on the page from all over and ask questions like, ‘I found this word in a book. Can you tell me about it?’ A lot of the people that interact with the page are ethnically Tongva but a lot of the people are not,” she says.

The creators and contributors of — a website that seeks to preserve Anishinaabemowin, an endangered Native American language from Michigan — use Facebook in a similar manner. contributor Margaret Noodin is an assistant professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The language has 8,000-10,000 speakers, she says. But most of the native speakers are over 70 years old, placing the language under threat.

“That’s the most dangerous thing. There are very few young kids that are growing up in a fluent environment,” Noodin says.

Although the group doesn’t rely solely on social media to disseminate content, Noodin says that gives the group a chance to reach younger generations.

“It’s how kids communicate now. It’s little moments here and there. And that adds up … . If we don’t use the language creatively into the future then what we’re doing is documenting a language that’s dying … . Our language is alive and it’s staying alive,” she says.

Other social networking websites such as Twitter can also be used in similar ways. The website is currently available in just under 40 languages

Kevin Scannell, a professor at Saint Louis University, has consulted for Twitter on how to make the website friendlier to speakers of minority languages.

Scannell is also the creator of , a site that tracks tweets in indigenous languages. It can help people who want to find others who are using their language online.

“Having endangered languages on the Internet has a really strong impact on the youth because it shows that their language is still relevant today,” says Daigneault of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. “When people use their language it shows that they’re proud of speaking … it.”

At a time when companies like Facebook are trying to grow in the developing world, having the interface available in other languages can be a great benefit.

“Just even making the website itself available in other languages in a huge part of reaching the ,” Scannell says.

John Hobson, the director of Graduate Indigenous Education Programs at the University of Sydney, agrees.

“It is … essential that as new technologies are integrated into majority societies and communication, they should be equally integrated into minority ones,” he says.

But Hobson says the best results will come when the conversation continues outside of social media.

“They are not magical devices that will do the learning or communicating for folk,” he says. “Living languages are those used for meaningful communication between real people … . So, tweet and Facebook in your language … . But make sure you keep speaking the language when you put the device down.”

Lydia Emmanouilidou is an intern with NPR News.

Lodge owner apologizes to First Nations for offensive brochure

A Manitoba fly-in fishing lodge came under fire for a section in its brochure that claimed all First Nations have a genetic intolerance for alcohol.A Manitoba fly-in fishing lodge came under fire for a section in its brochure that claimed all First Nations have a genetic intolerance for alcohol. (
A Manitoba fly-in fishing lodge came under fire for a section in its brochure that claimed all First Nations have a genetic intolerance for alcohol. (


Brent Fleck of Laurie River Lodge in Manitoba calls offending section of brochure ‘stupid’

CBC News (Canada) Posted: May 29, 2014 6:40 AM CT Last Updated: May 29, 2014 9:03 AM CT

The owner of a Manitoba fishing lodge said he’s devastated by a section printed in his visitors guide that says aboriginals cannot handle alcohol, and has issued an apology.

“It was a total mistake and should not have been in there. It’s an old trip planning guide that I’ve used for like 15 years and I had no idea that that was even in there,” Brent Fleck of Laurie River Lodge said via phone from the facility near Lynn Lake, calling the offending section “stupid.”

“I’ve issued an apology to the chief down in Pukatawagan and to the natives that work for me and … it’s certainly not our opinion and not something that we want to forward in any way shape or form.”

The lodge’s Facebook page was filled with angry comments over a section of the 37-page brochure for people planning a trip to the lodge. A paragraph on Page 10 warns guests not to give alcohol to aboriginal guides.

“We take great care when hiring our staff, however the subject of native guides must be touched upon,” reads the section.

“We use Cree Indian guides from the town of Pukatawagon (sic) in northern Manitoba. They are wonderful people and fun to fish with however, like all native North Americans, they have a basic intolerance for alcohol. Please do not give my guides alcohol under any circumstances.”

Although Fleck said it was written 15 years ago, that section of the guide was noticed recently by someone and spread rapidly on social media.

Fleck said he has removed the offending guide from the lodge’s website and offered an explanation as to why it was there in the first place.

“You might be interested to hear that the paragraph in question was written years ago in an attempt to remove the pressure that a guide feels when his guest asks him if he would like a drink at shore lunch,” he told CBC News.

“We run a very high repeat business here at Laurie River and many of our guides have guided the same guests for 20 years or more. Friendships are cemented with great memories of days on the water. That same friendship puts a guide in an awkward position if a guest offers him an alcoholic beverage.

“He is a professional and he is responsible for the health and welfare of his guests while on the water. If he accepts the drink, his ability to ensure that safety is diminished. If he does not accept it he may feel that he runs the risk of offending the guest. The best solution is to let the guest know well beforehand that he should not offer,” Fleck added.

“The sentence was poorly worded and for that I feel horrible. When this whole thing first came to light I’m like, ‘Holy cow, how could I be so stupid. I had no intention of offending anyone and I feel horrible that I did.

“We take great pride in the professionalism of our entire staff here at Laurie River Lodge and I am always bragging about the quality of my guides. In my mind they are the best guides in Manitoba, maybe even all of Canada and I had absolutely no intention of insulting anyone.”

Chiefs demand apology

Once the story about the controversial brochure hit social media and the mainstream media on Wednesday, Manitoba First Nations chiefs called for an apology from the lodge.

Arlen Dumas, chief of the Mathias Colomb First Nation, which includes Pukatawagan, wrote a letter to Fleck on Wednesday and demanded he apologize for his “racist, discriminatory incitement of hatred.”

David Harper, grand chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents First Nations across northern Manitoba, was also outraged.

“It’s totally derogatory, totally treating us like an animal. Basically, you’re saying, ‘Do not feed the bears,’ right? ‘Don’t give alcohol to these First Nations.’

“Nobody in their right mind would say such comments.”

Fleck said he told Dumas he would comply with the chief’s requests to make things better.

“My only concern is that I’ve hurt some of the people who work for me and who have worked for me for over 20 years and that wasn’t my intention,” he said.

Backlash on Facebook page

The wording was denounced by people posting on the lodge’s Facebook page.

“Disgusting … it speaks volumes of your own intolerance to basic intelligence,” read one comment.

“An incredible display of racism,” read another.

Harper said the Manitoba government should look into the matter to see whether it could crack down on the lodge through licensing or some other mechanism.

“In order for licences to be approved, these kind of comments should also be a factor.”

Deputy Premier Eric Robinson, who is aboriginal and a former tourism minister, said an apology was necessary, but he was also giving the lodge owners the benefit of the doubt.

“I think it’s an oversight on their part and perhaps they didn’t proofread what was written.”


Facebook’s ‘Two Spirit’ Gender-ID Term a Positive Step for LGBT Natives

Associated Press
Associated Press


Sheena Louise Roetman, ICTMN


On February 13, Facebook added more than 45 custom gender-identifying terms, allowing users to choose from more than just “male” or “female” in order to identify themselves. Indigenous communities all over Turtle Island were pleasantly surprised to find that among those terms was “Two-Spirit.”

“When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self,” Facebook’s press office said in a statement to ICTMN. “An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just ‘male’ or ‘female.’”

Additionally, Facebook has added the ability to select a preferred pronoun – male, female or neutral (they/their/them) – as well as allowing people to specify who sees the gender and pronoun they’ve chosen.

“We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way,” Facebook said.

Facebook credited our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organizations as collaborators for determining which terms to include in the list. Some other terms included are agender, trans, intersex, gender fluid, gender questioning and CIS, among others.

Many Indigenous people who identify as Two Spirit were excited to see the changes.

“When Facebook added new gender options, I felt that it was an amazing step, one that was in the right direction,” said Gina Metallic, of Mig’maq First Nation, a Two Spirit community and Aboriginal youth protection activist. “I use the term Two Spirited because it is a hybrid of my culture and sexuality. It acknowledges both important pieces of my identity, being queer and being Indigenous. It’s also allowing people to see that there’s more than male and female, and that it’s okay and normal.”



Blackfeet Man Jailed for Speaking Out, Hits Back Harder

Adrian Jawort, ICTMN

Never one to stray from saying what he really feels, Blackfeet tribal member Byron Farmer actually spent five days in a tribal jail in July for speaking out against his divided tribal government’s alleged corruption. Farmer, the de facto leader of the Blackfeet Against Corruption group, said he was arrested over free speech violations as not once did he threaten anyone in his BAC Facebook post stating about a proposed parade float: “We promise it will be exciting and make headlines worldwide. And we can tell you we are not planning anything violent or illegal so they (tribal council) will not be able to stop us.”

RELATED: Tired of Corruption, Mont. Tribal Members and the Guardians Fight Back

Although Farmer’s actions are protected under the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act, locally the Blackfeet Tribe deemed it a violation of the Blackfeet Ordinance 67 which protects council members against libelous “or misleading statements meant to harm, injure, discredit” them. Farmer’s attorney, David Gordon, writes, “They’re basically saying if you criticize the tribal council you’re going to go to jail and that’s frightening.”

Indian Country Today Media Network caught up with the always fiery Farmer to see what good jail did to him.

Was being arrested and jailed for five days over a free speech issue worth it?

I didn’t much like it. Our jails aren’t country clubs. I am a big guy so was never in danger, but I have to admit I was very angry. It was hardest on my family, but they understood the importance of BAC’s mission. But yeah, it did a firestorm of good. My five days in jail brought BAC millions of dollars in free national coast-to-cost advertising about what’s going on in our home. My arrest was the trigger that finally swung around the big national media spotlight to shine right on the Blackfeet Reservation, where it caught tribal leadership speechless, embarrassed, and scurrying. Ever since then the Blackfeet Tribal Council has been on the defensive and under non-stop media and legal pressure.

Where you surprised about the firestorm your arrest caused?

Americans may not understand the mysterious inner workings of Indian country, but they sure as hell understand what free speech is. So the national media immediately jumped on the news and printed my Facebook postings that triggered my imprisonment. Americans read my tame, innocuous comments and couldn’t believe that that sort of clearly Constitutionally-protected speech aimed at elected leaders could result in an arrest, let alone jail in America. People everywhere were really bewildered and angry and that fueled more media coverage. But I would have gladly done five months if that’s what it took to wake up the world to what is going on here.

What do you think of emerging as the BAC de facto leader?

I am not the leader of BAC, I am just one of many right-thinking Blackfeet that have been trying for years to push back the tidal wave of corruption that has engulfed the Blackfeet Tribe. Events and momentum may be on our side now, but for years we felt like tiny voices in the wilderness constantly being threatened and attacked. The reason my name is out there are four things that make my role possible. First, I live in Great Falls, beyond the reach of the BTBC and Tribal Police – I was on the reservation visiting family when they arrested me, so apparently they were waiting for me. Second, I am willing to loudly and relentlessly speak out, come what may. Third, neither I nor my immediate family depends on the tribe for a paycheck so they can’t use their favorite weapon – firing people – on me. Fourth, over time whistle blowers have come to trust me and BAC as a reliable, confidential outlet for things they want other Blackfeet to know. So, as anyone can see from BAC’s Facebook page, my inbox gets the goods almost every day and I never reveal my sources.

Most have to keep a low profile so they don’t lose their jobs or face other retaliation from the BTBC. Second, BAC doesn’t take credit for any of the good stuff that has been happening lately such as the indictments. All we do is keep up constant intense pressure on the bad guys with a steady drumbeat of reliable news, analysis, predictions, inside scoops, and the publishing of documents the BTBC want kept secret. Third, BAC will never give up and we have lots more to do.

RELATED: Montana Guardians Project Aims to Deter Indian Country Corruption



Here’s a Tip: Shut Up! Server Fired for FB Post Saying Natives Bad Tippers



Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook


September 09, 2013


A server at Famous Dave’s in Bismarck, North Dakota, is out of a job after posting a photo on Facebook that implied Native Americans are bad tippers.


Over the weekend, Bismarck was the site of the 44th Annual United Tribes International Powwow. On Facebook, an unidentified server posted a photo of herself holding a sign that reads:


Spare change? Help I’m a server at Famous Dave’s on Pow Wow weekend! Anything helps! 5¢ 25¢! Its more than my tips


Last Real Indians publicized the unpleasant image by posting it to the site’s official Facebook page. That post (which appears to have been deleted) suggested Natives boycott the restaurant and sparked hundreds of comments from angered American Indians.


Famous Dave’s founder Dave Anderson is Choctaw and Ojibwe, and is a former Assitant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior.


Both Anderson and the Bismarck restaurant’s manager, Mike Wright, posted comments about the incident on Facebook.Wright’s comment reads, in part, “When an employee decides to make an ass of him or herself they can now do it for all to see. Sadly, for reasons unkown to me, often times bitter employees also try to embarass the employers and taint the businesses where they work. Clearly a recent post by a now former employee fits this description.”

Facebook looks to the future with Prineville ‘cold storage’ facility

Facebook's data center in Prineville. The main data halls are in the center of the picture. The cold storage facility is the L-shaped building on the lower right. (Facebook photo)
Facebook’s data center in Prineville. The main data halls are in the center of the picture. The cold storage facility is the L-shaped building on the lower right. (Facebook photo)


By Mike Rogoway, The Oregonian 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
July 25, 2013

Facebook users post 350 million photos on a typical day. On a holiday, like Christmas or New Year’s Eve, they post more than a billion.

Altogether, Facebook now hosts more than 250 billion photos — and it’s seeking new technologies to store those old pictures efficiently and reliably at its data centers in Prineville and elsewhere around the world.

“These are the precious memories of people around the world,” said Jay Parikh, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure. “We can’t lose them.”

Parikh was in Portland today to deliver a keynote address at OSCON, the annual O’Reilly Open Source Convention at the Oregon Convention Center. He spoke about the company’s “Open Compute Project,” an effort to build collaboration among data center operators to improve performance and efficiency.

Facebook says 82 percent of its traffic is focused on just 8 percent of its photos, generally the most recent posts. It plans to put older images into “cold storage,” data centers that host older photos in more efficient — albeit a bit less speedy — facilities.

Data centers use enormous volumes of energy. Facebook’s Prineville facility consumed as much electricity last year as 13,000 homes.

If Facebook can store photos more efficiently, it can substantially cut its energy use, operating costs and environmental impact.

OSCON back again in 2014 and 2015

The O’Reilly Open Source Convention will return to Portland in 2014 and again in 2015.

The state’s largest annual tech conference attracts more than 3,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center each year. It first came to Portland in 2003, then moved to San Jose in 2009. The following year, Portland signed a four-year deal to bring OSCON back.

That deal expires this year, but OSCON says it plans to return next year and in 2015. Next year’s conference will run July 20-24.

The cold storage concept isn’t new. Parikh talked about it early last winter, and I wrote about it in February after visiting the cold storage construction site in Prineville.

On Wednesday, Parikh offered more detail about Facebook’s vision for the future. Construction on its Prineville cold storage facility is due to wrap up this fall, he said in a conversation following his OSCON keynote. Substantial testing will follow, he said, before it begins hosting older photos.

Each cold storage data hall will hold 1 exabyte of data — equivalent to 1 million of the 1 terabyte hard drives now common in PCs. Facebook will fill each cold storage data hall with 500 racks of servers.

Most of those servers will be idle most of the time. Facebook will keep just a small number of hard drives running, and spin up additional ones when it needs to retrieve the photos they store from cold storage.

Waking up those hard drives is a slow, energy-intensive process. Parikh said Facebook hopes a new technology will emerge that’s both faster and more efficient. He calls it “cold flash.”

It’s the same flash memory technology that stores the songs on your smartphone, and the documents you carry around on a thumb drive.

Cold flash, Parikh said, would be a low-grade, high-capacity storage technology. It wouldn’t need the durability that flash memory in a thin laptop requires — most of the cold storage material stored on it would sit unused forever.

It will likely be a year or two before anyone develops suitable flash memory, Parikh said. And perhaps it’s impossible to do it at a price that would be cost-effective for Facebook.

But through its Open Compute efforts, Parikh said he hopes to demonstrate that Facebook and others would provide an eager customer base for whoever invents cold flash.

All kinds of businesses, he said, need electronic cold storage for old records they may never need — but must retain, just in case.

“Write once,” he said. “Read never.”

— Mike Rogoway; twitter: @rogoway; phone: 503-294-7699

With new search, Facebook users should check privacy settings

Will Oremus, Slate; Source: The Herald

For the past six months, a select group of Facebook users have had a chance to try out the site’s hyped “Graph Search” function. For those unfamiliar with it, Facebook’s Graph Search function is kind of like a regular search function, only more complicated. But the bottom line is that it indexes everyone’s public posts, likes, photos, interests, etc. to make them as easy as possible for everyone else, from friends to exes to cops to advertisers to your boss, to find.

Facebook opened Graph Search to a limited audience earlier this year, but it’s rolling it out to everyone over the next couple of weeks, starting this week. So if you were waiting for the right time to go through your privacy settings and hide the embarrassing stuff before the whole world sees it, you can stop waiting. The right time is now.

Some have called Graph Search a privacy nightmare, because it takes information that was hard to find and makes it easy to find. For instance, if you for some reason hit “like” on the page of radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki three years ago, your name and face might now pop up when someone at the FBI gets the bright idea on a slow day to search Facebook for “people who like Anwar al-Awlaki.”

If Graph Search is a privacy nightmare, it’s sort of like the kind in which you find yourself out in public with no clothes on. The bad news is that what’s seen can’t be unseen. But the good news is that it won’t happen if you’re already dressed. That is, Graph Search won’t take any information that you had set to private (or “friends-only”) and turn it public. So if you don’t want strangers to see your profile’s naughty parts, you can go to your Facebook privacy settings right now and cover them up.

There’s an easy way and a hard way to do this. The (relatively) easy way is to click “limit past posts,” which will turn all of your old posts to “friends only” in a single swoop. But if you want some things to stay public, or to be visible to friends of friends, you’ll need to do it the hard way, which is to click “Use Activity Log” and go through all of your old posts one by one. Oh, and you’ll also want to double-check the privacy settings on your “About” page, which controls who can see the basic information on your profile.

Again, the basics are:

Go to your privacy settings and check who can see your future posts and past posts.

To hide individual posts or likes, click “Use Activity Log” and scroll down through your history, editing the privacy settings for each one as you go.

To check who can see your profile information, go to the About page on your profile and click the “edit” button next to each category.

Oremus is the lead blogger for Future Tense, reporting on emerging technologies, tech policy and digital culture.