Monday, 14 May 2012

Our top ten tips on managing your privacy on Facebook

Along with Facebook's re-design and the introduction of the much-maligned timeline, comes new privacy settings (often overlooked by users) that can protect information you'd rather keep private, and prevent third parties from accessing your information.

Very few people actually explore this area and opt to just use Facebook’s default privacy setting. However, if you want to get into the tool box to ensure your information is safe and secure on Facebook here is CCS Leeds’ top ten tips on managing you Facebook profile.

1. Editing Your Privacy Settings
There are two ways to get to your privacy settings. In the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook page there’s the Settings drop-down menu that allows you to edit your Account Settings, Privacy Settings and Application Settings.
How you set your Privacy Settings depends largely on what information you want to display. For instance, if you’re using Facebook as a means of showing off to potential employers or clients you may not wish to show information that you would not like you family to see.
For most people though, Facebook is a means of either meeting people or getting your name out to as many people as possible. Decide which one you are.

2. What’s Not Private
It’s important to understand what information Facebook considers public. They say: "Certain categories of information such as your name, profile photo and pages you are a fan of, gender, geographic region, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available to everyone, including Facebook-enhanced applications, and therefore do not have privacy settings."

3. Your Profile Information
To protect your Profile Information, select Privacy Settings from the Settings drop-down menu on your homepage and then click to the Profile Information section.
Your choices for privacy settings are: Everyone (literally everyone, including Google and other search engines), Friends and Networks, Friends of Friends, Only Friends and Customize. The Customize option allows you to include or exclude particular networks, or people - useful if you’re in a situation where you share Facebook with co-workers or family.

4. Your Contact Information
The Contact Information section gives you the option to limit who can contact you outside of Facebook, via email, phone or post. Depending on your needs, select whether you want to share with everyone or just friends.

5. Who Can See You?
The Settings tab includes all your basic information and you can control who sees your name on a Facebook search by clicking on Name, where you can decide to enter an alternate name, show only part of your name, or display your name in your profile and search results. If you don’t want your name shown, uncheck the box.

6. Your Email and Linked Accounts
Which email you use is another option on this page, depending on your privacy needs, it might be best to use an email you don’t mind sharing with the world to, or one that you want everyone to have. You may also sync your Facebook account with your other accounts in the Linked Accounts section here.

7. Your Wall
Allowing friends to post to your Wall is another personal choice, easily made by checking or unchecking the indicated box.

8. Hiding Your Friends
There’s an option to hide your friends so they won’t appear on your profile regardless of whether people are viewing it while logged into Facebook or logged out.
To hide your friends, click on the pencil icon in the top right corner of the Friends box on your profile, uncheck the 'Show my friends on my profile' box to prevent your list from appearing on your profile.

9. Blocking People From Your Profile
From the Settings drop-down menu and click on Block List. Note, though, that while friendships/relationships on Facebook will be removed when you block someone, they may still use some apps that you do and so you may still have some communication with them that way.

10. Your Apps Privacy
Editing the privacy settings of the apps on your Facebook profile is another way to protect your privacy, given that most apps access the information on your profile as a condition of use. Select Application Settings from the Settings dropdown menu or go to the Applications and Websites section of Privacy Settings in the same dropdown menu to edit these settings. The page prompts you to edit your privacy settings after reading.

The main point is you have to dig deep into the Facebook website to access your privacy settings and edit them - but it’s well worth it.
If in doubt go to the Facebook/Privacy/Help page or check out this useful video.

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