While discussion on Facebook Pages has always been publicly accessible to the world and indexed by search engines like Google, wall posts and discussion within Facebook Groups have historically been “off limits” to search engines. However, in recent days, many marketers and users have started noticing Groups discussions and wall posts showing up in Google search results.
For users, while Facebook is currently only allowing discussion in “public” groups (groups accessible to all Facebook members) to be accessible to search engines, it does need to do a better job of communicating to users when their posts – which are tied to their Facebook identities – are going to be visible to the public web. Currently, Facebook’s own search does not even search discussions in Facebook Groups, so many users may be surprised to find out that what they’re saying could turn up in future Google searches about them by potential employers, friends, or members of the opposite sex. Facebook’s Privacy Settings does not provide a “Groups discussion” setting, so for now, be careful what you say.
For marketers, public visibility of Facebook Groups discussion means you need to be spending more time and energy monitoring conversation around your brand inside Facebook Groups – what Facebook users say is now visible to anyone on the web.