Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Keeping safe on Facebook

It is not always easy to keep up with Facebook’s forever changing security and privacy settings.

The constant changes and the complexity of Facebook’s security and privacy settings leave many users exposed to privacy and security breaches and many remain uncertain as to how to ensure that their security and privacy settings are tight enough.

Weak privacy and security settings on Facebook could lead to identity theft, internet trolling and loads of other problems such as copyright theft and impersonation.

To avoid all this it is a good idea to check every now and then that your Facebook privacy and security settings are in good order.

This blog post highlights and demonstrates how to tighten the privacy and security settings of your Facebook account.

Timeline and tagging settings

If you want to avoid problems such as trolling and identify theft then begin by making small changes to your Facebook account.

  • Only allow friends to post on your wall. This prevents people from trolling on your wall, looking for trouble. Go to privacy settings > who can see my stuff > who can see your future posts? > Edit then change to friends.

  • Only allow friends to see what tags you’ve been posted in. Friends on Facebook can tag you in photos, statuses and just general posts. This allows everyone to learn more than they need to about you and your whereabouts. By not restricting who can see tagged content you could also put your friends at risk. Go to privacy settings > Who can see things on my timeline? > Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline > Edit then change to friends.

  • Only allow friends to see what has been posted on your timeline. This again will restrict the amount of information, about you, that is available to strangers. Go to privacy settings > Who can see things on my timeline > Who can see what others post on your timeline? > Edit then change to friends.

About

When you are on your profile page you will see your personal information (about) and underneath you will be able to edit this to control who sees this information.

  • Any information you want to keep to yourself, maybe your birthday for example, click on edit in the box that it is in and change it to “only me”.

  • Ensure that you go through each and every category e.g. work, family, basic info, contact info etc to check that the settings are how you want them to be. It is advisable that you set all of it to either “only me” or to “friends”. Some information is set to “public” by default so be sure to change it.

Photos

Here you should begin by viewing your profile as if you were someone who you are not friends with on Facebook to see which photos are public for anyone to view.

To do this go to your profile and click on the drop down arrow next to activity log then select view as. It will then show you how your profile appears to people who are not your Facebook friends. From here you will be able to see what photos are on display. You will then need to change the privacy settings on these photos individually.

  • Click on the photos that you no longer want people to be able to see. Then click on edit and change who views it to “friends” or “only me”.
 
  • If you have a large number of photos that need their privacy settings changing we suggest that you do this by album. For example, click on profile pictures and work your way through, changing who views them to “friends” or “only me” following the same way as above.

Friends

By now you have made most of your Facebook settings much safer.

If you want to take Facebook privacy a step further, consider restricting who can see your list of friends. You might want this list to only be available to your friends.

  • From your profile page, click on “friends”. From here you can choose who can see this list by clicking “edit” then selecting “friends”.

There are more changes you can make to your privacy and security settings on Facebook to make it safer.  Go to the Privacy Shortcuts (padlock symbol) on the blue Facebook ribbon. From there choose who can send you messages and  who can send you friend requests.

Your Facebook page should now be as private and as secure as you want it to be and you should feel much safer online.

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