Facebook – wtf? Is it really a terrifying, privacy-invading, devil-driven entity bent on exposing its users most intimate secrets? What can an avid facebook-user do to limit the amount of their personal information leaked through the web?
Aside from these tips on avoiding legal issues (or these) on facebook, there are a few ways that I have used, and that you can use, to control to the best of your ability who sees your facebook content on the web.
1. Privacy Settings
Under “Account” -> “Privacy Settings” you can control exactly who can see what of your homepage. One particularly useful tool from there is “Profile Information”->”Preview My Profile” Where you can type in a person or group’s name to see exactly what they can see on your profile.
2. Keep Tabs on Groups, Applications, and Pages
Keep in mind that groups you become a “fan” of and most applications automatically have full access to your homepage. Even if you are not currently using an application on your homepage, you have to manually delete it to have it completely removed. Edit these settings under “Privacy Settings”->”Applications and Websites”.
3. “Edit Friends” Option
Under “Account”->”Edit Friends”, you will find an extremely useful page. Here, you can create lists with specific privacy settings and assign different friends to different lists depending on what you want them each to see. For instance, my lists include, “Don’t Know You At All”, “Acquaintances”, “Relatives”, “Kids”, and “Work”. I know it’s a pain to go through and put each of your friends in a separate list, but it’s worth it. And once the lists are created, you can automatically put new friends in whichever one you want. Note: they can’t see that you’ve put them on a list so there’s no risk in offending someone! On the “Edit Friends” page, you can also view the pages you’re a fan of to make absolutely sure you have them at the privacy settings you want.
4. Public Search
Okay, so I don’t mind being searchable within the facebook community, but I do not think it is a good idea to allow your personal facebook page to come up in a Google search. To prevent this, go to “Account”->”Privacy Settings”->”Search”. Make sure “Allow” under “Public Search Results” is NOT checked.
5. Check for Floater Info
You know all those groups asking for your phone number because a friend lost his or her phone? Well if you write your personal info on the wall of that group and it’s not a private group, then that information is searchable. A good way to see what floater info is out there under your name is by doing a Google insite search. Just type this into the Google search bar: “your name” site:facebook.com
6. Stay Informed
It’s definitely not a bad idea to do a Google news article search of facebook every now and then – the better informed you are, the more likely you’ll be able to avoid privacy issues in the future.
More Tips and Information related to Facebook and Privacy Issues:
What I’m Listening To: Wild Wind – Black Mountain