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How to Really Secure Facebook
With all that's in the news these days about Facebook's privacy nightmare, and how it is deceiving users and giving out there data, it can't hurt to make sure your account is locked down tight. Facebook actually makes it fairly simple to ensure that absolutely no one else can see your private information, it just seems like no one actually cares to do so. If you've never ventured into the Privacy Settings area of Facebook, now is a great time to do so. If you have things on Facebook you wouldn't want a parent or boss seeing, now is the time to secure your account.
- See how to friend your parents on Facebook while still posting risky content
- Also check out how to use Facebook without risking your job
The first and foremost thing you must understand is that Facebook changes its Privacy Settings almost monthly these days. Any guide or how to you find on the internet is most likely to be outdated in a few months. I am going to create a walk through using Facebook's latest changes issued in May of 2010, but I will also attempt to explain how they work so that you can apply them to future changes as well. Most importantly, you will want to check your settings every once in a while to ensure that Facebook hasn't defaulted them back to "Public" which it has a habit of doing.
To begin the process, navigate to the privacy page on Facebook by clicking "Account" then "Privacy Settings" in the right hand corner.
This will bring up Facebook's latest page of settings. Recently, it has attempted to simplify the settings by making it a "one click deal." Want to share with just your friends? Click "Only Friends." These are pretty simple. If you want to keep your posts private to just your friends, click "Friends Only." But it can't be and isn't that simple. While you may be shielding your pictures and posts from everyone, or at least think you are, Facebook has some other settings that also deal with how your data is shared. Let's look there next.
There is another area of Facebook's settings called "Directory Settings." These settings control how your interests, favorite quotes, etc. are shared, and how people can find you. If you have some quotes that aren't exactly work safe, you will certainly want to hide this information from the whole of the internet. Even if you already clicked "Friends Only," Facebook will still share this information with everyone unless you specify not to here. To change this, click "View settings" under "Basic Directory Information" on the main Privacy Page.
Now go through and edit the information as you wish. Remember that making all of these settings "Only Friends" will prevent others from friend requesting you. You can still have a secure account while allowing people to friend you. Below are the settings that I have, and my account is as locked down as possible.
Another area of privacy to consider when securing your account is an area called "Application Privacy." This issue isn't touched upon often when discussing your privacy on Facebook, but is still a big issue. Essentially, when any of your friends use an Application (Farmville, etc.) on Facebook, that application and its developers can see all of your private information, even without asking you first. To prevent that, go back to the privacy main page and click "edit your settings" under "Applications and Websites."
First, make sure that "Game and Application activity" is set to only friends. Then, click edit settings next to "Info accessible through your friends." In the box that pops up, un check all of the things you don't want to share with everyone.
Privacy When You Visit Other Sites (Instant Personalization)
Now chose "Instant Personalization" and click "edit settings." This setting allows your information to be shared with sites around the internet that you visit without even asking your permission. For example, if you visit CNN, you can post a comment without even logging in, if you have logged into Facebook on that computer before. This is a major issue because it essentially reveals your browsing history to Facebook, even on sites that Facebook doesn't own. Simply uncheck it, and it will be disabled.
Public Search Privacy
Finally, if you don't want to appear in Google and Yahoo searches when people search for your name, you will need to edit the settings for Public Search. You can simply uncheck the box and you won't be indexed on the search engines.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out some of my other how-to guides dealing with Facebook privacy. There are much finer controls that are available for hiding your content from certain friends but not others.