Within the last year, Facebook has faced widespread criticism over the privacy of their members and the details they share on their profiles. As Facebook’s privacy settings can be tough to decipher, it has made it hard for members to realize what information is public and what isn’t. The result has been nothing short of a headache and endless frustration.
Do you find yourself running into the same issues with your Facebook profile? Are you worried that you might be sharing more information with the public than you desire? If you answered yes to both, you should know that tightening up your profile is easy to do. With a few simple tweaks, you can lock down your profile to make your info visible to only those you wish to see it.
To help you protect your personal information on Facebook, take a look at the 5 privacy protection tips below. Follow them closely and you will be able to retain your privacy without losing out on the fun that Facebook has to offer.
#1 – Keep Sharing Limited to Your Friends List
When you post a status update or a photo to your Facebook profile, it is instantly visible on your personal timeline. If your privacy settings aren’t setup correctly, however, you may be sharing your stuff with the rest of the world.
To prevent that, you want to make sure that your settings are set to allow sharing with your “Friends” only. You can edit this setting by doing the following:
– Go into the “Settings” tab (which looks like the image of a sprocket)
– Select “Privacy Settings”
– Look for the phrase “Who can see my stuff?” and make sure that it is set to “Friends”. If it isn’t, hit the “Edit” button and make the change
– Save your changes
By making this alteration to your privacy settings, you will prevent your future posts from going public.
#2 – Only Accept Requests from People You Know
This tip here is obvious, but you would be shocked at how many people will accept anyone as a friend. It’s easy to hide your identity and create a fake profile to spy on others or extract information. If you get a friend request from someone you don’t know, don’t accept them. Should you hit the accept button, you will give that person access to your entire profile. Not a good move.
When in doubt, just hit the “Ignore Request” button and move on. It’s that simple!
#3 – Don’t Post Any Personal Information You Don’t Want Revealed
Facebook gives you the chance to share as much information as you desire. From your address, phone number and place of employment to your education, interests and more, the sky is the limit to what you want to reveal. Although this information can be used to help connect you with other people who share the same interests, you should only share what you’re comfortable with. It’s the only way to prevent your personal info from getting into the wrong hands.
Bonus Tip: If you use the Facebook application on your mobile phone, be aware that your cell phone number will automatically be shared with your list of friends that have the same application installed on their phone. If you don’t want that to happen, just access Facebook from your mobile web browser or avoid using it on your cell phone.
#4 – Stay Away from the Check-In Feature
At first glance, the check-in feature on Facebook seems fun. Using the GPS function on your phone, Facebook will allow you to share your current location with all of your friends. For those who want to keep their day-to-day whereabouts private, however, skipping this feature is the best route to go. That way, you don’t have someone keeping tabs on where you’re at each day.
#5 – Block Any Facebook Applications
A lot of people fail to realize the amount of personal information that is shared when games and apps are used on Facebook. What seems like innocent fun can instantly turn into a nightmare. Numerous malware and virus problems have surfaced from unsecured applications, causing users personal data to be at risk.
Before you decide to play a game or add an application onto your profile, always make sure that you check what information the application or game requires. If it seems sketchy, it’s best to skip out on it. A few minutes of fun isn’t worth the potential headaches that can pop up down the road.
#6 – Facebook Security
Social networking is becoming a vital instrument both in terms of corporate marketing and our day to day personal lives and Facebook remains the number one platform for such activity. But when it comes to using Facebook, it is essential that you configure your security settings properly to achieve the best level of protection possible for your page.
Where to find Facebook Security Settings
There are several places within Facebook that offer settings which can improve your security, and only by configuring them all can you ensure the best possible protection.
#7 – Security Settings
When you are logged on to your Facebook site and looking at your main homepage, click the clog on the top right hand corner of the page. This will open up a menu, and right at the bottom is the ‘Account Settings’ heading which you should select. From here choose the ‘Security’ Option to access the details you want.
– Secure Browsing – It is essential that you always enable secure browsing when using Facebook. The site has no encryption methods for keeping your data secure and it is vital that you protect yourself from hackers by using a secure connection which provides some encryption protection.
– Log In Notifications – If you are concerned that your Facebook page is being accessed by unauthorised individuals then choose to set your notifications to either email or text and you will be advised every time a new device is used to access your information. For confirmation of where your site has been accessed from, refer to the Active Sessions category which will advise you of the locations used to enter your Facebook page.
– If unauthorised access is a particular concern, then use the Code Generator to ensure that you remain secure. This particular function can send you personal access codes that need to be used to make changes or could generate automatic password updates so that your security is optimised. In the same way, the App Password is the ideal method for limiting the downloads available within Facebook so that your page remains protected from Apps that may wish to change your site.
#8 – Privacy Settings and Tools
‘Privacy’ is another category within the ‘Account Settings’ which needs some attention:
– Who Can See My Stuff – This allows you to dictate who can see your future posts or anything else you put on your site. From this selection you can choose ‘Public’, ‘Friends’, ‘Only Me’ or the ‘Custom’ Option which allows you to specifically dictate which individuals can gain access to what you have written.
Remember, this will dictate the setting for all future posts and will not change the settings for previous posts. This must be done under the Activity Log. However, if you do want to change these setting for an individual post then these options will also appear at the bottom of each post when you are updating your status for ease of use.
The Activity Log of your Facebook enables you to identify specific entries and decide whether you want them to appear on your timeline. If there are applications writing on your timeline, then these can also be removed within the activity log so that your public image is exactly as you intend it to be.
But did you know that when you or your friends like or share a post then even if you have limited access to your posts that doesn’t mean your friends have. To make sure you limit the posts you have liked or shared only to your recognised friends, use the third option in this section entitled Limit The Audience for Posts You’ve Shared With Friends of Friends or Public. This will ensure that when you like posts that have been shared with you, you are not then enabling anyone from across the world to access this information. And when you have selected the ‘limit posts’ option why not update your status on Facebook telling your friends what you have done and encourage them to do the same.
– Who Can Look Me Up – If you don’t limit the people who can find you via Facebook within this setting then your details could become public property across the world. Anyone that can identify your phone number or email address, either through research or guesswork, can easily track you down using this search facility. If you want to keep your information secure then limiting search access either to identified friends or friends of friends can significantly reduce your chances of unwanted attention. Obviously, for businesses who want as much exposure as possible, this setting should always allow ‘anyone’ to find you, but for private individuals this can provide unnecessary attention.
The second setting under Who Can Look Me Up asks you to decide if you want your own timeline to be included in search engine results away from Facebook. For companies wishing to rank on search engine results, such an option may be a very good idea. But if you are an individual who doesn’t want their new underwear showing off across the world every time anyone searches on the word ‘knickers’ then choosing the ‘no’ option would be a wise choice.
#9 – Facebook Adverts
This final category to note can also be found within the ‘Account Settings’ under the ‘Adverts’ Option. This category allows you the opportunity to limit the way your information is used by Facebook themselves.
Many organisations and individuals do not want their name being associated with pages or people they have chosen to ‘like’, yet this is information that can be shared freely around the Facebook network unless these settings are configured accordingly. Take a few moments to understand how Facebook could use your information to endorse other pages or products and, if you are not happy with this, opt out on this page to ensure your information remains secure.
Ultimately, the best way to stay secure on Facebook is to understand that information placed into the system can be shared across the world. Though the security settings can go some way to protect you, the most secure thing to do is just consider what you are putting on the web and take care.
– Keep personal information to yourself and certainly don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
– Consider the photos you upload and who you are tagging.
– Make sure you log out of your session properly to keep your information secure.
– But above all, be aware. Keep diligent and up to date with how such networking sites work and you can enjoy years of productive browsing with no problems at all.
Use These Tips to Stay Safe
Facebook is a great place to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues, but your privacy should never be placed on the backburner. You should always be careful of what you put out there, both on Facebook and online in general. As long as you put these tips above to good use, you won’t have to worry about your information landing in the wrong hands.