Freaked out by the new Facebook

Wednesday morning untold numbers of college students logged in to Facebook only to find a new feature tracking their every move on the service, from comments to photos, events and groups.

It may seem Orwellian at first, but consider this: the only people who can see what you’ve done on Facebook, depending on your privacy settings, are your friends and your network. And you have the ability to hide what you’ve done by clicking a small gray “x” to the right of the action on the mini-feed in your profile.

Before deciding to delete your Facebook account, keep in mind that you do have an enormous amount of control over who can see your profile, as well as what they see. By clicking on the “My Privacy” link on the left side of the Facebook page, you can find a wealth of options designed to limit your exposure to the outside world. The features are so strong that no one has to know you exist unless you want them to.

In the end, the change comes down to this: choice. You can choose who becomes your friend; you choose what goes into your profile; and you choose who can see it.

Properly used, the new feeds feature will let people become better connected by seeing things they have in common, photos they’ve taken or places they’re going. It would be a shame to have a perfectly useful feature ruined by a little fear.

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