The very nature of social means that you use Facebook to share information about yourself with your friends, family members or work associates. But perhaps not with absolutely everyone on your ‘Friends’ list, since you don’t even know how some of them got there. And the reality is, if you decide to post anything on the Internet, that including on your Facebook account, there is absolutely no guarantee that it’s going to stay private. As you know, anyone that you may or may not know can easily “Share” what you said about yourself or anyone else. So what you can do is try to maximize your privacy on Facebook a much as possible:
How To Protect Your Privacy On Facebook
• Creating Block Lists
To create block lists, go into your Facebook accounts ‘Privacy Settings,’ which is found under the ‘Account’ menu. This is always easier to do on a laptop or a desktop computer rather than a mobile device. Then look for the ‘Block Lists’ near the bottom of the page.
This function allows you to block unwanted individual users either by name or e-mail address, block the invites to applications from certain ‘friends,’ or you can block invites to those ‘Events’ from certain users as well. And the best part, you can completely block those applications that you never want to see or hear from again (Hello annoying games!). That prevents that particular application from using your profile information as well.
• Limit The Data Used In Applications
When you go to the ‘Privacy Settings’ page, click on the ‘Edit Your Settings’ link directly found under ‘Apps and Websites,’ near the bottom left of the page. Although you cannot limit who can see your photo, your name or gender, or the networks that you belong to, you will be able to limit everything else, so that applications won’t be able to access your data.
For Example: using the ‘Instant Personalization’ feature works great if you are wanting sites such as Bing or Pandora to know you based on the Facebook settings that you provide. Click on the ‘Edit Settings’ for ‘Info accessible through your friends’ then uncheck the majority of those, so that your data won’t become available to the apps that you’re not even using. This can happen when your friends are using them!
• Making Your “Shares” Private
Although it may be considered Anti-Social on a social networking site, it is possible that you may not want everyone on Facebook to be able to read or see everything that you write or post.
If so, then click on the ‘Custom’ button found under ‘Sharing on Facebook,’ this is still found under the ‘Privacy Settings’ page. From there, you’ll be able to control who can see your status updates as well as your photos, your contact and biographical information. This will also even include the photos that you have been ‘tagged’ by others. You can also limit who can add comments on everything that’s listed above. You will be able to set it to everyone will be able to see everything, all the way down to just your Friends only.
• Make A Limit To Who Finds You On Facebook
On the very top of the ‘Privacy Settings’ page, click the ‘View Settings’ tab found under ‘Connecting on Facebook.’ This page will allow you to control who on Facebook can find you when they are using the search function. This also includes who will be able to send messages to you, or ask for friend requests, this even if they can see which city you currently live in.
The choices you have are: to allow everyone see everything, just friends, just the friends of your friends, or just the other members of your network on Facebook. If you decide to choose just your friends only, that setting is the smallest group that’s able to interact with you, as well as limiting the number of people finding or asking you to be your friend. This is important when you don’t want to add any more friends.
• Don’t Allow Anyone To ‘Tag’ Where You Are
Facebook Places allows you to post the exact location where you’re currently at, whether it be a restaurant or the library, which is similar to FourSquare. However, someone else, say one of your friends, can also ‘tag’ you, saying that you are at a specific location with them, even if you’re not actually there. This can be a prank that someone is playing on you, saying that you are at a certain nightclub, when you are actually visiting your sick Aunt at the hospital.
To change this setting, click on the ‘Customize Settings’ page found half way on the the ‘Private Settings’ page, then under the ‘Things Others Share,’ edit the ‘Friends can check me into Facebook Places’ feature. This is also where you can specify whether anyone else will be able to post on your Facebook wall, or allow someone to ‘tag’ you in a video or photo. The less that they can, the less you will be exposed to non-friends.
• Choosing Viewing Permissions On Posts
When you decide to update your status on Facebook, directly below that box, you’ll find a tiny padlock icon with an arrow right next to it. This dropdown menu will allow you to choose who will be able to see this status change or update. You can choose from absolutely everyone on Facebook, right down to just your Friends only. If you click on the customize link, you can also specify your info be shared with some of the networks that you belong to. You will be able to block individual people from seeing it as well…(Say an Ex. or whomever.) You will be able to make this your default setting as well.
• Limiting Your Contact Info
There is a very good chance that anyone who is outside your direct circle of friends really needs your mobile number, or your street address, e-mail address etc. If they are really your close friends, then they should already have that information. So make sure that all of this personal information is set to ‘Friends Only,’ or at the minimum, ‘Friends of Friends,’ unless you want to be exposed to being contacted by absolutely anyone and everyone.
• Keep Those Trespassers Away
Of course you know how to create an Iron Clad password right? If you don’t have one, then someone may be able to ‘Crack’ your secure password if it’s not very strong, by using a combination of either: the name of your pet, the digits of your birthday, your street address etc., as your password and may be able to access your Facebook account. Unlikely as that may seem to you, it does and can happen. Fortunately, there are systems in place where you will be able to track if and when someone else or a device attempts to access your account.
You can go to the ‘Account’ Button, then ‘Account Settings,’ then click “Change” which is next to ‘Account Security.’ You can then change the settings so you’ll either get an e-mail or a SMS message when someone or a different device attempts to sign on to your account using your Facebook credentials. This page will also provide you with a rundown of your recent accounts activity as well.
• You’ve Never Advertised On Facebook?
There was a bit of controversy in the past when someone found their personal photos appearing on the Facebook Ad network without their permission. To make sure that this doesn’t happen to you, either on a third-party app or on a Facebook Ad, go to the ‘Account Settings’ link under ‘Accounts,’ and then click on the ‘Facebook Ads’ tab. On the drop down menu, choose ‘No one.’ Then ‘Save Changes’ after the selection.
• Complete Shutdown or Temporary Deactivation
This is if you’re looking for the ultimate in security, just short of you completely deleting your Facebook account. First, you will be able to download your entire Facebook activity history using the new download tool, which is located directly above the ‘Deactivation’ link under ‘Account Settings.’
Go ahead and click on the “Deactivate” link and then your Facebook account will go into disappear mode. Once your account is deactivated, then no one will be able to find you, no one will be able to friend you, no one will be able to see anything that you’ve ever posted, other than ‘tagged’ photos or videos. Deactivation however does not delete absolutely anything. When you are wanting to re-activate your Facebook account, you can then just simply click on the ‘reactivate the account,’ and it will be restored like you’ve never left. Deactivation can come in handy when you’re away from the Internet for a short or extended period of time.