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5 Facebook Privacy Settings You May Have Missed

Missed Facebook Privacy Settings

When I coach people on how to use Facebook I emphasize that although Facebook encourages you to share, you are ultimately in control of how you share your data. Yes there is data Facebook considers public – your name, profile picture, gender, cover photo, networks, and username.

All else on Facebook you control, that is if you can find how to set your privacy options!  Facebook recently added a Privacy Shortcuts link to its top blue menu bar (desktop)  to help you access your Privacy Settings.  You can click on See More Settings from Privacy Shortcuts to see additional Privacy and Account settings.

However some Facebook Privacy Settings are not as obvious or easy to find.  Here are 5 that you may have missed and how to navigate them from your desktop (mobile experience will vary):

1.  Set privacy for your Friends List –  do you want others to be able to view your Friends List?  Click on Friends from your Timeline, then look for the pencil at the top right of the list.  When you click on this pencil you can edit your privacy settings for your Friends List as well as those you Follow. (Note you automatically Follow your Friends.  You can also Follow others without becoming their Friend if they have enabled this feature.)

2.  Opt out of appearing in Facebook Ads–  Do you want your name and/or profile picture to appear in a Facebook or Third party ad? There are two settings to take a look at, which give permission to pair your social actions (a Like of a business for example) with an ad.  One is a Facebook ad, the other is an ad on another website (however this is not a current feature). Click on Privacy Shortcuts, See More Settings, then Ads.  Choose Edit in two places – for Third Party Sites, also Ads and Friends, so you can select the No One option to opt out.  Don’t forget to Save Changes.

3.  Opt out of receiving Facebook Ads based upon  your web browsing activity outside of Facebook.  Do you want to see ads on Facebook based upon your online browsing/shopping?  Perhaps handy, perhaps creepy.  Click on Privacy Shortcuts, See More Settings, then Ads.  There is an Opt Out option within Website and Mobile App Custom Audiences.  If you do choose to Opt Out, note that if you at a later time clear your browser cookies, you will have to opt out again.

4.  Restricted List – add a “friend “ to your Restricted list.  If you do, they will only see items you post publicly.  Handy if you confirm a friend request for someone you are uncomfortable sharing with.  They will not know you have restricted them. Click on Privacy Shortcuts, See More Settings, then Blocking, then Edit next to Restricted List.  Alternatively click on Friends on the Cover Photo of the Timeline of your friend, Add to Another List (if Restricted is not shown), and click on Restricted.

5.  Share Options for Your Personal Data: Do you know whom you are sharing your personal data with?  Click on Update Info from the bottom of your Cover Photo.  Each item of information has an icon which depicts your share option.  If you don’t see one, click on the Edit pop up when you hover over the item.  Click on the icon to see/set your sharing preference.  Again, don’t forget to Save Changes.  You may be surprised at what info you are sharing publicly.

Hope this post helps you take fuller control of your Facebook sharing.  Periodically check the Settings pages, as Facebook does at times change wording and setting options.  Happy sharing (or not)!

 

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Revisiting Facebook Privacy (Again)!

Nerd

Reviewing your Privacy Settings

Privacy and protection of personal data is always a concern on Facebook.  We know we should periodically review Facebook Privacy and Account settings.  There are two good reasons to do this.  First Facebook occasionally creates new settings especially when new features are introduced.  You want to be sure you agree with Facebook’s  default settings for new features.  Second, your sharing preferences may change over time.   You can change your mind and perhaps your settings are too strict, or most likely not strict enough.

Facebook recently revamped some  privacy settings, so if you haven’t reviewed your settings lately, now would be a good time.  Think of it as an early spring cleaning.  Facebook has created a new shortcut to assist you.  Have you noticed there is a new privacy icon on the top blue menu bar, next to Home?

Menu Bar

Private or Public?

What information on Facebook is private vs. public?  Facebook considers  your name, profile picture, and cover photo public information.  You cannot set these items to friends only.

If you click on Privacy Shortcuts (next to Home), then click Who Can See my Stuff?  and finally click on View As, you can see how your Timeline looks to someone who is not your friend, your Timeline public view.  If you see posts and photos other than your profile and cover photos,  this means these items have a share option of  “public”.  If you want to limit these posts to friends only, you have two options.

First, from your Timeline you can click on Activity Log, and then from the left menu column, click on Your Posts.  You can then change your share options on individual posts.  Or, to change all your posts all at once, click on Privacy Settings from the top right blue menu bar tool gear, then click on Limit Past Posts from the Who Can See My Stuff category, then click on Limit Old Posts.

What about other data that is showing publicly on your Timeline?  You will need to check your share options on the About, and Likes links found on your Timeline. Click on each link and then the Edit options to modify your share settings.

Internet Access of your Timeline

Did you know you have a Facebook username that allows anyone direct access to your Facebook Timeline?  Try it yourself by using the URL address http://www.facebook.com/firstname.lastname  and see what shows up.  Make sure you are logged off from Facebook when you do this.  (You can validate your username by going to Account Settings, General.)

If you get a message that says “This content is currently unavailable” good for you!  This means you have updated your Facebook Privacy settings and disabled search engines from finding your account.  You can update this setting in the Privacy Settings,  Who can look me up?  section.   When “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline” is set to Off, your Timeline will not be found by a Google or Bing search.

If your Timeline does appear, take note of what is showing.   Aside from your name, profile picture, and cover photo,  everything else showing has a share option of  public that you should be able to modify!

Class Action Suit

If you are not happy with Facebook’s handling of your privacy, go ahead and join the current class action suit against Facebook.   This suit covers Facebook Sponsored Stories, which are ads that may have contained your name or name and photo. You won’t get rich, but you can make your claim and possibly receive up to $10.  You may have received a legal notice email  that you ignored.

Not to worry if you can’t find the email.  You can use this link to file a claim and find out more information,  You will need your Facebook username.  You can find your  username by clicking on Account Settings, General.

What’s Next?

I don’t know if anyone can say for sure how the new Graph Search may impact our Facebook lives, but for now, it does not hurt to find ways to help ensure our privacy.  My rule is if you post, protect – but don’t post anything that would cause you discomfort if it became public!

 

Back to School with Facebook?

We use the Internet daily for information about anything and everything.  Today parents of school age children are fortunate as school districts have websites  containing a wealth of information including school calendars, homework assignments, teacher’s email addresses, as well as links to textbooks and outside resources, all of which is really good stuff.

Chances are your teen is using Facebook, and like it or not, Facebook is another online resource that is  becoming increasingly more important for students.  Group pages abound as a primary form of communication for sports teams, clubs, and study groups.   Facebook is now so mainstream that it can be a social handicap if a student is not on Facebook.   My daughter gets her scheduling changes, reminders, and information she needs to know about her school team’s activities via the team’s group page on Facebook – without it we’d be lost.   Just the other day she was offered to join a club via a group page invite.

Facebook is being used experimentally in the classroom in Amsterdam, as Timeline is a great tool for organizing history complete with images, audio, and video.  Check out the history of Magellan’s voyage   or  20th century inventions.  Although not in English you can get the idea.   It’s a great way to learn history.

For older students, needing to use Facebook may not be an issue as hopefully they’ve learned the Facebook dos and don’ts.  Parents still need to make sure their young teens and older students practice “safe Facebooking” and know how to handle their Facebook data.

Here is a good example.  My computer savvy high school sophomore was recently tagged in a photo on Facebook.  The only problem was this picture was not my daughter nor was it an appropriate photo for her Timeline.   In another instance, she was tagged in an unflattering photo which also automatically posted to her Timeline.  These situations are easily to avoid – just make sure the automatic Timeline posting setting  is off, meaning you have to approve any posts or photos before they appear on your Timeline.    Navigate to Privacy Settings, and edit your settings for Timeline and Tagging.  “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline” should be on.  This way if you are tagged, the post or photo will not appear on your Timeline, it will land in your Activity Log.

Your Timeline Activity Log will let you approve an item which will cause it to post on your Timeline, or you can dismiss the item, but it won’t remove the tag.  Your name is still associated with the item.   To remove a photo tag,  you need to click on the photo, then click on Options below the photo.  You can then remove the tag, and also request that the photo be removed from Facebook.  You can also compose a personal message that will be sent to the poster asking for removal.

Facebook does offer some safeguards for users under 18.  Their Timelines and posts do not appear in public searches.  Also only their friends, friends of friends, and networks they may belong to can view their posts.   Facebook does offer its own resources at www.facebook.com/help  where you can find links to its Safety Center and also a link to report abuse of the service.  Note that you can view this help feature even without a Facebook account.

My suggestion for parents of teens on Facebook is to learn as much as you can about Facebook, review your child’s Account and Privacy settings with them, and be their friend on Facebook so you can watch out for inappropriate posts.  My daughter may not be too happy that I know so much about Facebook, but we both know she is a bit safer because of it.

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