What would you do if you registered on a site to buy something, only to find months later that your user account was searchable and your purchases were exposed? That scenario is currently playing out for Etsy users, who are dealing with the fallout from Etsy's decision to roll out a new People Search tool. The site, dedicated to enabling crafters and artisans to sell their work online, has yet to notify its user base of the change that exposes users' real names and buying history.
The controversy began last week when Etsy flipped the switch on People Search as part of its effort to make Etsy feel more like a social network. Now, when users run a search for a person's full name, that user's account will show up in the search results, even if that person is only a buyer. The goal is to allow users to connect to each other and create "Circles," which then allow users to see which products their friends have favorited or purchased on Etsy.
The problem is that, aside from a thread in Etsy's forums (which is almost entirely used by sellers, not buyers), Etsy has not notified users of the change in privacy settings or policy.
Note: I just went to Etsy and under settings and privacy I selected that only I could see my info.
ETA: Today they reversed themselves after getting user feedback: