Saturday, December 29, 2012

Facebook Privacy 101

Photo Credit: Flickr user Alan Cleaver

It seems like at least once a week, a misleading piece of advice starts proliferating on Facebook. This piece was circulating a few months ago, but has recently surfaced again. 

You may have seen it and maybe even (gasp) shared it yourself, without checking its credibility.  (Hey, I've been guilty myself.

It goes something like this:

Facebook changed its privacy settings again! Due to recent Facebook privacy changes that we can not control, our posts are now public. To keep our posts private, I need you to do this. Place your mouse over my name above (DO NOT CLICK), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS" (also without clicking), then down to "Settings", click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on "COMMENTS & LIKE" and also "PHOTOS". By doing this, my activity among my friends and family will no longer become public. 

Yes, Facebook privacy settings can be confusing, but here are some tips:

  1. If you hover over someone's name and remove certain checkmarks (as recommended in the advice in the circulating post), you are only removing the items that YOU can see of this person's posts. You are not changing anything about this person's public or private exposure.

    If you are concerned about privacy you really should set your privacy to "Friends Only" and ask your friends to do the same so that when you comment on their posts, only their friends see your comments.
  2. Never post anything you wouldn't want public.

    You should know that if a friend creates a post and sets it to "Friends of Friends" or "Public," and you leave a comment, then yes people who are not your friends will see it. One way you can check this is to look at the little icon next to the timestamp of each post. Hover over it and see who the post is shared with. See image above.
  3. When in doubt about these posts that are going viral, check out
  4. Follow good etiquette. Don't repost other people's photos without their permission. Take a look at Randi Zuckerberg's Facebook freakout over one of her photos that got reposted.
What other Facebook advice do you have?

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