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Protecting your information on Facebook

April 8, 2010 19:33 by ckincincy

If you are on Facebook, read this.  It is worth your time and I think my suggestion at the end is a huge win for how to navigate Facebook.

Having your information on Facebook can be a problem.  You basically don’t want to put anything on Facebook that you don’t want known by EVERYBODY, because things happen.  Computer glitches happen which expose, even if only temporary, your most private information.

imageHowever, you can at least be smarter with your information.  Take a moment to review your privacy settings, it is that important.  Go to the top right side of your landing page and hit the Account tab, and select Privacy Settings.

In this next screen you are given several area’s to edit your privacy settings.  Be sure to click in each and every one of them to review all of your settings.  I do this once every few months to find out what new settings Facebook has made available to me.  The “Applications and Websites” area freaked me out the last time I looked at it.

Every area that Facebook gives you the ability to set permissions on will have a drop down similar to this:


For much of my profile and contact information I allow “Only Friends”.  I don’t allow “Friends of Friends” to see much of my information.  Just because they are your friend doesn’t mean they are my friend and I want them to see my information.  In fact, in several cases… I don’t like some of your friends :-).

For my Photos and Videos of me I have my setting to “Only Me”.  The reason for this is that I don’t want everybody seeing photos and videos I am tagged in, by default.  Some pictures may be embarrassing or show information that I don’t want public (I am a certified foster parent, and have to worry about that). 

However for a select few sections I actually go into the ‘customize’ section.  This gives the following pop up:


You see that little item in who I allow to see things?  It is a list that I created, “See Updates”.  [This is the huge win for this post, I’ll expand on it shortly]

The fact is, just because I am your friend doesn’t mean that I want you seeing my Facebook updates.  I am connected to you and I don’t mind being connected to you at all, but I do value some of my privacy and Facebook allows me to control that.  Frankly, just because your my friend doesn’t mean you want to see some of my updates.

List are a great tool on Facebook.  I actually have 18 list on Facebook.  For your benefit and mine.  I have a ‘Youngens’ group that easily allows me to hide status updates from them if they are not age appropriate.  I have a list for people who live near me when I am talking about locally relevant information.  My family in Florida doesn’t care about a local pizza parlor.

The main list that I have though is, “See Updates”.  These are people I don’t mind seeing all of my status updates.   They get to see everything I post…. unless, for some reason I need to hide somebody.

The way I utilize this is pretty strait forward, on your main landing page you when you go to update your status you get an option to edit who you are sharing that update with.


When you click the custom here, you get this window:


You can see that I have the “See Updates” in my approved list, however what you should notice is the little check box in the lower left hand corner.  “Make this my default setting.”  By checking this, the setting you use here will be the default setting for all future status updates. 

Now I recommend using an approved list instead of a blocked list.  The reason being that if you forget to update your approved list, the only thing you lose is not sharing your information with somebody you want to share with.  If you go the other way around you end up sharing your information with somebody you don’t want seeing your information.  I’d rather error on the side of caution.

However, remember what I said at the beginning of this article.  don’t share anything on Facebook that you don’t want the entire world knowing.  Because things do go bad in Facebook land.

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