Social Privacy 411 Series: Facebook

By Renee Revetta | Jun 7, 2010
More Articles by Renee

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Here’s the start of a series on social networking privacy. I’m all about transparency, but making smart choices about your online privacy is essential. First of all, realize that whatever you put online is floating around on some database somewhere. I’m here to offer a ‘profile settings’ type approach to privacy. Read on for your Facebook guide.

Mostly everyone has heard about Facebook privacy debates. Now with simplified privacy settings, you have no excuse for accidental public disclosures of info, photos, statuses etc. Note that the privacy settings you had before the update did not change unless you specifically updated them. So you very well could still be sharing things with others, advertisers and potential employers, and have no idea.

For anyone creating a new account, the defaults are pretty open. Remember Facebook isn’t looking out for your privacy – but for their business (advertising and search deals). What would Facebook do if no one was sharing their updates with “everyone”? When I checked the defaults before the update, they were as follows.

Everyone Friends of Friends Only Friends
Wall posts Birthday (month, date & year)

Comments on Posts

About me

Religious and political views

Likes and interests

Photos and videos of me

Family and relationship

Wall posts by friends

Education and work

Just a heads up – the defaults are set to email you for every notification known to man, so you’ll want to check those out. The Facebook update I mentioned earlier now provides privacy profile choices of: recommended, everyone, friends of friends, friends only or custom.  You can find these by going to Account, Privacy Settings, and then reviewing the Sharing on Facebook section. Be sure to click on the view settings link under Basic Directory Information to preview your profile as a “non-friend”.

Although the update helped a bit in making privacy settings easier to manage, some very important information is still hidden. On the main Privacy page, look for Applications and Websites at the bottom left of the page. Once you click on edit your settings a few topics of much debate will be revealed: your information available to applications, your Instant Personalization options and public search settings.

Whether you’re new to Facebook, or have used it for years, take time to review your profile privacy. You wouldn’t want a status update appearing in Google search results without your knowledge, would you? ;)

Other Posts in this series:

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