Social media has rapidly grown into a major method of communication in today’s world, and this is especially true of Facebook. The social media giant allows for easy connectivity between friends online, but also brings privacy into question for contacts that you might not be close with, or worse, might not know at all. If you’d like to limit what info you’re sharing online, it’s important to understand Facebook’s privacy settings because you might not always be aware of where that info is going, and to whom. This info includes everything from close contacts to advertisers attempting to get you to buy products and sign up for services. To better assist you in understanding what information you’re putting forth online, here’s a rundown of the privacy settings you can change in Facebook:
From the drop-down arrow on your Facebook banner, scroll down to Settings to review what your current preferences are for sharing info. On the left side of the Settings page, your first option to begin editing your settings is Privacy.
In this section, Privacy is split into “Who can see my stuff?”, “Who can contact me?”, and “Who can look me up?”:
- Who can see my stuff?
This area is for designating who can see the content you post online or are tagged in. Future posts and friends list visibility to others can be limited to specific friends or lists of friends with the Custom feature, to just Friends, to Friends of Friends, or even a scope as wide as public or as narrow as Only Me by clicking Edit on the right side of the option’s banner, and clicking the option from the drop-down menu. Limiting posts to just Friends is the most common selection and usually recommended for people who don’t want simply anyone to have access to their posts and info online.
Timeline Review can also be set up here under “Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in”. Timeline Review allows you to approve or reject any posts on your timeline from others. Lastly, any previous Facebook posts can be limited from Friends of Friends/Public to Friends by selecting Edit for limiting the audience, otherwise you have the ability to go through each post individually on your timeline and limit them that way.
- Who can contact me?
This banner lets you choose how Friend Requests can be sent to you. The available options for other users to be able to send you requests are either Everyone or Friends of Friends.
- Who can look me up?
This area of privacy settings lets you decide how you want to be found on Facebook or through Facebook online. You have the option of choosing how people find you on Facebook with the email you used when you signed up for an account (Everyone, Friends of Friends, or Friends) as well as with your phone number with the same options as email. Additionally, you can designate if you’d like search engines on the web to link to your profile by searching your name with the option to allow it with a checked box, or not (Facebook notes, however, that your account can be found if its searched on the Facebook search engine).
Facebook has a number of ways in which you can protect your privacy from advertisers, Friends, or even people you don’t know. If you don’t run a public Page or are not a Public Figure on Facebook, it is suggested that you limit your privacy by switching your settings on your posts and profile to ‘Friends’ for added security. You can always designate certain posts to be public later and can customize these settings for certain friends, but if a post or timeline settings are set to Public, this can be as a major issue for your privacy that could put your info at risk.
Check back for part two of this blog post, in which we will detail Facebook’s timeline and tagging feature, as well as blocking.