10 Tips to Safeguard Your Facebook Privacy

10 Tips to Safeguard Your Facebook Privacy

January 22nd, 2011 // 5:44 am @ JMaikke // No Comments

Facebook
statistics show that it has 250 million active users each with an
average 120 friends. More than 1 billion photos are uploaded every month by
its users, over 70% of whom use applications like games and quizzes in
Facebook. Unfortunately, most users don’t know the implications of entering
personal information, making friends, and playing games on Facebook.

This guide will show what you can (and cannot) do to safeguard your Facebook
privacy.

1. Organize Friends in Lists

What do you do when your boss, mother-in-law, or a casual web acquaintance
sends you a friend request on Facebook? Use Friend Lists. Friend Lists are the
foundation of your Facebook privacy settings. Select Friends
from the top menu, and use the Create link to create friend
lists like Co-workers, Family, College Friends, etc. Your friends can’t see your
lists, so you can name them whatever you like.

facebook privacy

Tip: On your left sidebar, all your friend lists may not show up by default.
Click More to see all of them, and drag and drop those you want
above the separator.

2. Customize Profile Privacy

Click Settings > Privacy Settings > Profile. Select which
parts of your profile will be seen by whom.

facebook privacy Profile

If you choose Customize in the drop down, you can be more
specific. This is where the Friend Lists you created before become really
useful.

facebook privacy Customize

Also go to the Contact Information tab and choose how you
want your contact information to be shared on the Internet.

3. Set Facebook Privacy Level of Photo Albums

On the Photos tab of your profile page, click Album
Privacy
. Here again, you can use your Friend Lists to set the privacy
for each photo album.

facebook privacy - Albums

Note that your profile pictures go into a special album that is always
visible to ALL your friends.

4. Restrict Search Visibility

Click Privacy > Search to set your visibility when someone
searches Facebook for people. This is an important way to safeguard your
Facebook privacy. You can also select what will be visible in the search
results.

facebook privacy - search

5. Control Automatic Wall Posts and News Feed Updates

Your actions in Facebook such as comments, likes, appear as highlights on ALL
your friends’ home pages. You cannot use friend lists here, only turn them on or
off.

Privacy News Feed

Go to Privacy > News Feed and Wall and choose whether you
want your boss or ex-girlfriend to know that you’re in a relationship.

6. Set Facebook Wall Privacy

Go to your profile page, click Options > Settings under the
status box.

Wall Privacy

Here you can control whether your friends can post to your Wall, and who can
see the posts made by your friends.

7. Avoid Appearing in Advertisements

Facebook has two types of advertisements: third-party and Facebook.
Third-party advertisements are currently not allowed to use your
pictures, but there is a setting to disallow it if it is allowed in the
future
. Go to Privacy > News Feed and Wall > Facebook Ads
tab to turn this off.

Privacy Third Party Ads

The Facebook ads shown to your friends are about ‘social actions’ like
becoming a fan of something. You can turn this off at the bottom of the page.

8. Protect Yourself from Friends’ Applications

Go to Privacy > Applications, and click the Settings
tab and uncheck all the boxes. These settings control what information about you
is visible to applications installed by your friends. By default, these are set
to visible. This means that your religious, sexual, and political preferences,
pictures, etc. are readily available to one of the million worldwide Facebook
application developers, each time any of your friends takes a quiz, plays a
game, or runs any other Facebook app. This is obviously a Facebook privacy
issue.

Privacy Applications

This is the most
commonly misunderstood
aspect of Facebook privacy. These settings control
what applications installed by your friends can see about you, even if you
don’t install the application yourself
.

Why is this important? Because these settings will not
change anything about what you are sharing with the applications you install
yourself. For that, go to the next step.

9. Privacy from Your Applications

There is no way to control what applications see about you; it is an
all-or-nothing affair. Take
this quiz
developed by the
American Civil Liberties Union
to check what anonymous application
developers can know about you and your friends each time you take a quiz.

The Burton Group’s
Identity Blog
features the Facebook
Privacy Mirror
, an application that you can use to find out what
applications know about you and your friends. If you really want to see exactly
what profile data of each of your friends is visible to application developers,
Privacy Mirror
shows it in detail.

The only thing you can do is to authorize only those applications you require
and trust. Go to Settings > Application Settings from the top
menu. Change the drop-down from Recently Used to
Authorized
. Here you can see all the applications you have authorized
to get access to ALL your profile information. Remove the ones you no longer
need.

Authorized Apps

Also check the list of applications Allowed to Post and
Granted Additional Permissions
to remove unwanted ones.

10. Quitting Facebook? Delete, Don’t Just De-Activate Your Account

You can easily deactivate your account in Facebook from the Settings
page. But deactivation will retain all your profile information within Facebook,
including pictures, friends, etc. If you want to permanently delete your
Facebook account,
click here
to submit a deletion request. Note that:

  1. There is an unspecified delay between submitting your delete request and
    actual deletion.
  2. If you login to Facebook, your deletion request is automatically cancelled.
  3. There doesn’t seem to be any way to confirm that your request was completed.
  4. Even after permanent deletion,
    Facebook says
    that copies of your photos may remain on their servers for
    technical reasons.

Also, note that once in a while, there is news of a Facebook hack or leak
that can expose your information on the Internet. It is better to be safe than
sorry by avoiding using Facebook for anything that may embarrass you.


Category : Online Tips

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