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Jul 07

Facebook 2.0 – Protecting Your Privacy

In my last post I talked about the basics of Facebook and how to get some value out of it for those of you who might be a little afraid of “putting yourself out there”. Now, I’d like to talk about how to set some of those privacy settings that limit who can see what you post.

To get to your settings click on the little gear in the upper right corner of the screen and you’ll see a pull down menu that looks like this…

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Now let’s go down to privacy settings and you’ll see a screen that says “Privacy Settings and Tools” like this…

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This is where you’ll set your basic privacy settings. There’s two sections – one that says “Who can see my Stuff” and one that says “Who can look me up“. In most cases you’ll want to limit who can see your posts and find you to friends. You might consider also letting friends of friends look at your stuff but that opens your information and posts to anyone who is friends with any of your Facebook friends — in essence, really making it nearly public, but not quite.

If you click on edit you can see all the options that you have in each of the sections. This is also where you can review what you’ve posted on Facebook — just click on “Use Activity Log” and you’ll see all your recent activity on Facebook in one place… you’ll be surprised at what you forgot that you posted — I know I was when I put this post together!

Finally, this is where you can limit who can see old posts… I typically keep it at friends, so that if someone wants to see what I might have posted a while back, they can see it, but for the most part, I don’t want that stuff out in public.

In terms of who can look me up — it’s simple. I just want friends to be able to see my email or phone number (which I don’t have out there — just that “extra” email that we talked about in the last post). And again, only friends can look up my timeline. And the last thing I want is for Google or Bing or any other search engine to be able to look up what I’ve posted and make it available on a search engine.

Now let’s talk about Timeline and Tagging settings. Most of these are pretty self explanatory. You can stop folks from posting anything on your timeline or you can limit it to friends or friends of friends. I used to have it limited to only me, but then a bunch of folks who wanted to wish me Happy Birthday on Facebook emailed me and asked me why they couldn’t write it on my timeline — so I reset it to what you see down here — only Friends.

Timeline & Tagging

In that same vein — people often “tag” you in a post or picture. When you’re “tagged” it means that they’ve identified you as someone who is mentioned in that post or picture, or they think it’s a picture or post that you’d like to read. For example, you might get “tagged” in a picture that someone in your family wants you to see, whether you’re in that picture or not.

I like to review those before they show up on my timeline, because there may be some things that I simply don’t want there. So this section lets me review anything that someone else tags me in before it’ll appear on my Facebook “page”. It’s also in this section that you can manage all those tags and again limit who can see it. Again, the easiest way to see what you can do is hit the edit button in each section and play around — find what feels most comfortable to you, and leave it set at that.

The Security Settings page does a little more to enhance your privacy online. But more importantly, this is where you can deactivate your account if you want to (you can never delete it, but when you deactivate it you disappear from Facebook.

Security Settings

You can see all my settings in the image above. I use this mostly for secure browsing — just another level to maintain some sort of anonymity. I also periodically check to see what devices I have connected to my account and where I logged in from.

I don’t worry about security codes and trusted contacts at all — and as far as app passwords, the few apps that I do use on Facebook really don’t need for me to have passwords. They’re just a couple of games.

Finally — just remember one thing… the more pages you “like” and the more apps and games you play, the more you’re giving someone else the ability to share your information — so like pages and use apps judiciously, and you should be able to stay safer.

So that’s the basics on setting some of your levels of privacy on Facebook. Let me know any questions or comments that you have, and I’ll be more that glad to either answer them or find the answer for you.

Be sure to share this on your timeline and let your friends know where to find me!

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