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Seven Facebook Privacy Tips

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Facebook knows you. Facebook knows your friends. Facebook knows everything! If we let it. Protecting your computer and your privacy is important.

Perhaps even more scary is that not only Facebook has access to all the personal info you put on their site, but also the apps that use Facebook to login. Here’s a few tips to get your started.

FB Privacy Tip 1: get an overview of your privacy settings

Facebook’s privacy settings are spread over a number of portions of the site. However, you can do a quick health check by tapping the padlock to the right of the Home screen and selecting Run Privacy Check Up. This will allow you see privacy settings at a glance over three key areas of Facebook.

FB Privacy Tip 2: Control who sees your posts

For computer users, this is perhaps the key privacy concern of Facebook users who’re concerned. No-one wants their boss spying on their weekend activities, so it’s important to be clear about when you post. Whenever you upload a photo, fill in a status, or check in at a location there’s the opportunity to customise who you wish to share with. You can also adjust this by clicking the padlock and selecting “Who can see my stuff?”

The three main options are:

    Friends – Only people you’re friends with can see the post. If you’re posting photos of your children or any information you’d deem personal then this is what you need to select.

    Public – Anyone can see it whether they’re friends or not. If you want to be part of a public discussion to be seen by friends and within search; like on Twitter, then select this.

    Only You – Perhaps if you use Facebook as a repository for personal memories or a blog you can select Only You to ensure you, the account holder are the only one who sees it.

It is important to note that Facebook remembers the setting from your last post on matter what computer you are on, so if your last post was a Public rant about X-Factor, remember that’ll be the default setting next time – doesn’t matter if you do it on your tablet, your laptop or your phone.

FB Privacy Tip 3: Control who sees your app activity

You’re likely to have many third-party services associated with Facebook, whether they’re news services, fitness apps, games, other social networks, streaming services or photo-sharing apps. We love playing Facebook games on our computer. Many become associated with your Facebook account by being installed on your smartphone (or tablet), others by using Facebook Connect to create accounts. This can give some apps a great deal of access to your info. You can use the Privacy Check Up or go to Settings > Apps and adjust who can see your activity or whether you want to remove them completely by clicking the cross.

FB Privacy Tip 4: If you want to hide your personal information

Over the years, Facebook has probably collected a tonne of personal information. Your email address, your birthday, political views, phone number, where you’ve studied, your sexual orientation, your political views, where you’re from, where you’re worked, who you’re married to and who you’re related to.

With most employers using their computers to do social media checks on potential employees, you may want to shield some of this sensitive information. Anything you type into your laptop/computer etc online can be seen if your not careful. Over in USA for example, it’s still legal for employers to fire gay people.

Thankfully, much of this can be controlled via the Privacy Check Up mentioned in previous tips. You can alter who sees what by heading to the About section of your profile and selecting Edit under each section. To alter privacy settings from Friends to Only Me will hide the information from your profile. Or you may want to remove it completely by clicking the X

FB Privacy Tip 5: If you want to post something, but hide it from your timeline

Maybe you have something to say and don’t want it as a permanent record on your timeline, a thought, a meme, a joke in context that’s of its time, a photo, etc. You can achieve this by ticking the Hide From Timeline box in the post field.

FB Privacy Tip 6: If you want to stop people sharing your photos and posts

If you’ve shared a photo or a status on Facebook, it’s open to be re-shared by those who have access to it. That means Friends and, if you’ve tagged people, Friends of Friends. If the post is Public then anyone in the world can share it There’s no way around that, other than to set the post to Only Me in the first place, which kind of defeats the point in most cases.

FB Privacy Tip 7: If you want to block someone

This one’s easy (and fun ;) ). Use the Privacy Shortcuts or go to Settings > Blocking, begin typing the name of the friend (or ex-friend) you wish to block from your account. They won’t be able to see you on Facebook on their computer! You can also block certain people from sending you messages, but you have to be friends with them.

It’s also possible to block people you’re not friends with by heading to their profile, clicking the “…” on the right hand side and selecting Block.

BONUS TIP:

To finish this blog off, I’ll let you know something I am wary of – funny posts that ask you what your favourite movie was as a kid, or your first car, or what dessert you just ate. They seem like simple fun but I wonder if there is a nefarious purpose to it. To me if seems like they are data gathering. They are slowly building a data profile about you and who you are. And what could they do with that? They could hack your internet banking by answering your secret questions! So I tend to be cautious about publicly posting personal details to my computer…even if it’s just my favourite ice-cream flavour. 😊  

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