Thanks to Stacey Dewig Williams, Director of Social Media Marketing for Go Local Pros, for input and review on these security settings.
My interview with Jackie Monroe for 14 News – Facebook TMI inspired this blog. With 800 million Facebook users around the planet and the Facebook tendency to change settings on a regular basis, you should check your privacy settings every month. Listed below are items to check right now. My recommendations err on the side of caution for those who want the highest security levels possible in 4 areas – Privacy, Profile, Status and Photos.:
- In the upper right hand corner, click on the down arrow and click on privacy settings.
- Set your default privacy to Friends, not Public. (If you click on Help, Safety Center, parents, teen & teachers can get great tips on using Facebook safely.)
- Click on Edit Settings under How You Connect. Select for each one if you want Friends, Friends of Friends, or Everyone.
- Click on Edit Settings under How Tags Work. Select On, On, Friends, Off, Off for safest settings.
- Click on Edit Settings under Apps and Websites. If you use apps, those apps have access to information you allow and your friend lists. (The fewer apps you use, the more private you’ll be.) Under Apps You Use, you can click on Edit Settings and see which apps you have allowed to have access to your information. You can edit these as needed. Under How People Bring Your Info To Apps They Use, click on Edit Settings, uncheck everything, and and Save Changes. Don’t enable Instant Personalization- leave it alone. Don’t enable Public Search – leave it alone. You will need to click on Back to Apps and then Back to Privacy Settings to get back to your other settings.
- Under Limit the Audience for Past Posts, if you have accidentally had everything public in the past and want to limit it to friends, click on Manage Past Post Visibility. Click on Limit Old Posts (note – you can’t do an undo of this.)
- Under Blocked People and Apps, you can designate people to block. If you block someone, that person cannot access your profile. Note: if you decide to unblock someone you had previously blocked, you will not be able to re-block that person for 48 hours. So think carefully if you unblock somebody.
Yes, you’re more private after you’ve done these steps. But wait – there’s more to truly protect your privacy.
- In the upper right hand corner, click on the View As… button. When you click on this, you can type in a friend’s name and see what that person sees of your information. If you click on public, you will see what of your profile is available for the general public.
- In the upper right hand corner, click on the Edit Profile button. With this, you can go through each piece of information and on the right hand side, click on the down arrow and select its level of visibility. Check each piece of information, in particular the ones listed below. On each page where you change information, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save Changes.
- Under Basic Information, do not show your whole birthday as that leaves you open to identity theft. Many people opt to show the month and day only. Remember to Save Changes.
- Under Friends and Family, think carefully before showing your relationships with under 18 year olds. It is possible to be friends and not list the family relationship. Then in the Friends section, click on the down arrow and decide your level. For those who have friends under 18, I highly recommend the Only Me setting to best protect the privacy of teens and your friends. Remember to Save Changes.
- Under Contact Information, carefully select what is available to friends and what is public. Business people will probably want to keep a phone number, email, and website public for networking purposes. Remember to Save Changes.
But wait, there’s more…
- When you click to update your status, think carefully about each choice you make underneath the status.
- If you click on the + button, you can “tag” people in your status. When you tag them, their friends will be able to see and comment upon your status.
- If you click on the places button, you can list your location. When you note a public location which is attached to a Facebook page, that information could be listed on that page’s wall, where those who visit it might be able to see and comment upon it.
- If you click on the next drop down arrow, by the one that probably says “Friends,” you can filter which group sees your status. Then, when you hit post, only that group can see that status. Caution: if you set a filter level, that remains your default until you change it. So if you make a post “Public,” then all your future posts will be public. Think before you filter.
But wait, there’s more…
- Each photo album where your photos are stored has its own privacy settings. If you click on Photos on the right hand side of your profile, click on an album. Then click on Edit Album. On the bottom setting here, select your privacy level for that album. Click on Save.
- When you tag someone in a photo, that person’s friends can then see and comment upon that photo. Think before you tag.
- Timeline will probably hit Facebook within the next 6 months. If there are photos you don’t want inadvertently included in your “timeline,” purge them now. You will be able to customize which ones are public, but it will be less stressful to cut them now.
Remember – once you check these settings, put this on your calendar like changing your furnace filter. If you check your Facebook settings once a month, if any wording changes, you can make sure your settings are what you want them to be. If you hear or read that Facebook is doing major changes, as soon as those changes hit your Facebook wall, get thee to your privacy settings and check them. All of them. Then check them again a week later.
Finally, don’t let these privacy settings scare you. We already have other routines to protect ourselves from “Stranger Danger.” We lock our doors, lock our car doors, stop mail when we leave town, and more. As Facebook gives us a window into a new way of communicating with the outside world, we just need to learn how to make sure that window’s secure to protect ourselves.