How to Protect Your Privacy on Facebook

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Once again, the blogosphere and   tech   news  media is abuzz with the latest Facebook privacy controversies. Every time the social networking giant changes something in how privacy settings and security works, a thousand pundits have to comment and a million more need to chime in with how they think it does or doesn’t ‘destroy privacy as we know it.’

Beyond all of this, though, once you get through the hype, those of us who use Facebook for both business and pleasure need to figure out how to keep our privacy intact. For this walk-through, it is assumed that you have taken precautions such as not publicizing your email address to the world at large, have not published your phone number, and don’t have your home address (complete with Google Maps link) published – and have otherwise taken the most common-sense precautions with your security.

=== General privacy settings to use.

To start with, there are some general ‘rule of thumb’ privacy settings to use. At the top-right of your Facebook page is a menu link labeled ‘Account.’ Click that and then choose ‘Privacy Settings’ off the list that appears.

A new page loads and here you’ll start with the simplest of settings: Personal Information and Posts. Click that and you’re presented with a new page, full of general selections accompanied by drop-down lists.

Set all of these to ‘only friends’ (even if the particular information in question isn’t actually on your Facebook page). This is probably the minimum in Facebook security settings, but it is often overlooked. Additionally, if you have a lot of ‘friends’ who aren’t really friends, then you might want to uncheck the ‘Friends can post on my Wall’ option.

Now choose the Photo Albums ‘Edit Settings’ button to change those defaults. This leads to a page that contains individual photos and/or photo albums (depending on how much you’ve uploaded so far). Select ‘only friends’ on the drop-downs for each album or photo unless you really want it shared with the public.

For instance, you might want your ‘Family’ and ‘Mobile Uploads’ photos made only for your friends’ consumption, but your ‘Seminar Presentation 2010’ album to be public as it’s part of your professional profile.

Now go back to the Privacy page (there is a link at the top-left from the Photo Albums privacy page).

=== Your contact information on Facebook should be minimal.

Finally, we come to the Contact Information page, which you’ll get to by clicking that link from the Privacy Settings menu. There are two important settings here to keep you from both being inundated with false friends leads (spam accounts) and random instant message contacts via Facebook or other places.

Set everything on the drop downs given to either ‘Only Friends’ or ‘Friends of Friends’ so that either only your friends can do that thing (IM, email, etc.) or only friends-of-friends can do it (add you as a friend), respectively.

Those are the most basic of Facebook privacy settings and will keep you out of most of your troubles. New changes such as many applications on Facebook requiring your email address are also important to note. A stringent rule of thumb is to stop using any Facebook app that requires you to give them your email in order to use it. That is an invitation to spam.

This should give you a good start towards retaining your privacy in social networking. Good luck!

Source by James Burchill

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