Whatever your feelings about Facebook, two things are certain, First, with 540 million unique visitors a month, it’s the most popular site on the web. Second, it’s fast becoming the de facto way to keep in touch with everyone from close family members to distant acquaintances. However, filling a Facebook profile with all manner of personal information is a recipe for a privacy disaster, especially if you don’t keep control over who has access to it.
Facebook’s track record for user privacy is far from perfect. Still, negative media coverage earlier this year about its laissez-faire approach to what personal data third parties can see has led to some important changes. The most recent of these simplified the available privacy controls and made them much easier to use. The catch is that you need to seek out the controls and set them accordingly – and since the default settings expose much of your Facebook profile to everyone, this is something everyone should do.
Not all these changes will apply to everyone; some people may want their Facebook profile to be findable with Google, for example. Nor are we making any recommendations about which information you should and should not reveal- that’s up to you. All Facebook’s privacy settings are worth reviewing though, particularly if this is the first time you’ve ever seen them.
1) Facebook is all about making friends, but a Facebook friend is not necessarily someone with whom you should share all your personal details. The first step to tightening up your profile privacy is to organize friends into groups and apply appropriate privacy settings to each. Sign into Facebook, then go to Account, Edit Friends at the top-right of the screen. Click the All Connections button at the top left of the window.
2) A full list of your friends will appear, with an ‘Add to list’ option next to each. By default, there’s just one list available. Called Limited Profile. Adding friends to this list allows you to stop them from seeing certain profile information, which can be useful for casual or professional acquaintances. You can also create custom lists by clicking the ‘Add to list’ link and typing into the box. Setting up Work and Personal is a good way to prevent one area of your life intruding on the other, for example.
3) Once your friends are grouped into lists, go to Account, Privacy settings and click the View settings link under Basic directory information. Here you can specify who can find and contact you on Facebook, and what basic profile information other people can see. Each option has a drop-down list with various options that include Everyone, Friends and so on, Some, however, also have a Customize option for finer control. When selected, this allows you to make details visible only to specific people or lists, and you can hide information from specific people or lists. In the box marked ‘Hide this from’, you can type Limited profile to prevent people on that list seeing your current location, for example.
4) Click the ‘Back to privacy’ button when you’re done, and then click the link for Customize settings. Here you’ll find further options for restricting access to other parts of your profile, using the same drop-down list settings described in Step 3. This is where you can stop work friends from seeing photos and videos in which you’re tagged. This setting applies only to new photos and videos tagged with your name by other people; you’ll need to set privacy options for your own uploads separately using the Edit album privacy link.
5) The next step is to control the information that third-party applications have access to and whether your friends can see information generated by applications to choose the plug-ins because TorGuard is having promotions to help you save money! As well as the privacy on the internet and stops the trackers to track back. So go to Account, Privacy Settings, and click the ‘Edit your settings’ link under Applications and websites at the bottom left. Here you can remove some or all of any applications you’ve installed and stipulate who sees your application activity – this is useful for keeping your FarmVille adventures out of sight, for example. On this page, you’ll also find the option to remove your Facebook profile from internet searches; click the button for Public search and opt out.
6) Built-in Facebook application settings – Events, Groups, and so on – lurk in Account, Application settings. You can remove all but the default applications from here, and edit privacy and permissions settings for the rest. This is where, for example, you can prevent Facebook Gifts appearing on your profile and specify who can see them when they do. There’s also a Photos setting that provides broader control over your profile’s Photos tab than the options in Step 4.