Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Privacy.
Finding the balance between Facebook privacy and Facebook fun can be challenging. It’s a double-edged sword that allows us to connect with friends no matter where they live, but it also publicly shares information that just a few years ago, we’d never dream of putting online. You can search for people based on where they went to school, the town they live in, clubs they belong to, who they’re related to…but when is it too much?
Your birthday is the first piece of information collected when you create an account, and it’s pretty cool getting birthday wishes from friends, family, and other people you never talk to. But while Facebook is sending you balloons and funny memes, your birthday is now public knowledge. It seems harmless, but when you call your bank or other institutions, what is usually the first question they ask to verify your identity? Your birthday!
Some password recovery systems even ask questions like ‘which high school did you go to?’ assuming this is knowledge that only you would have. Except…you’ve just publicly shared it on Facebook. Whoops! You could even dig a little deeper and determine your mother’s maiden name. Now that is scary.
We’ve all heard stories of people who’ve lost their jobs after less-than-wholesome pictures or statements have gone public. If you have a reputation to keep, you definitely don’t want pictures from last weekend’s private party showing up, especially if you really let your hair down. While you can’t control what others do with photos they take of you, you can control whether or not you’re tagged in them.
Fortunately, there are settings in Facebook that allow you to control who sees what information and what happens when you’re tagged. Despite what you may have heard or seen floating around in a Facebook share hoax, you do have complete control over your Facebook privacy, and it’s easy to adjust.
How to Check and Adjust Your Facebook Privacy Settings
1. See what your account looks like to an outsider
From your Facebook homepage, click your name on the blue bar at the top of the page. Click the three dots next to ‘View Activity Log’ and then select ‘View as…’ This is what someone who is not a “Friend” on Facebook can see about you.
2. Run a quick privacy checkup
Click the question mark in the top right corner and choose ‘privacy checkup’.
Think about what you really need to share – do people need to know the YEAR of your birth or just your birthday? Your friends will still get the notification, and you’ll still get the balloons.
3. Edit advanced privacy
While the checkup covers the most obvious info, you can go much deeper. Click the V-shaped drop-down to the right of the question mark. Go to ‘settings’ and choose ‘privacy’. From here you can choose how people can find you, who can send you a friend request, and who can see your posts.
4. Adjust timeline and tagging
On the next option down, in the privacy settings, you can explicitly control who can tag you, who can see or share the tagged content, and what shows up on your news feed. This allows you to control the content before it makes it to your wall.
Below timeline and tagging is the ‘Blocking’ section. If you want to keep people away from you on Facebook, this is the place to be. You can add users to this area to block them from sending you messages, app invites, messages, and many more things.
Here’s to you and safe Facebooking!
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