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Is My Facebook Account Really Private?

Updated on April 18, 2016

Is My Profile Really Private

'With great power comes great responsibility'- Spiderman's Grandpa?

Okay, I'll be honest for a moment. I do not know who came up with the quote above and personally I am not interested in looking it up but if you do happen to know then just leave a comment. Moving on.

Social media is a very powerful tool for several reasons. You may only have a few hundred friends on your Facebook and that's really nothing compared to the 1.6 billion people that connect to it almost daily. Think about that number, 1.6 billion. The population of the entire United States is only 300 million and change. You may only have 200 friends but some of those 200 friends can have two thousand friends and so on and so on. Meaning we all start to become associated by association. This can be great if you are looking for employment or trying to promote a blog, company, or a charity event. However, there are the darker sides of Facebook that can break the prospects of social media networking and reflect poorly upon you. Let's take a look at some of the issues that lead us to this question of our privacy to begin with.

  • Family Members Are Insane- Yes we all seem to have at least one family member who is completely toxic. They do and say things that are inappropriate and what is worse is that some of them openly air the family business online even tagging random family members at times. OMG like WTF!
  • Our Security- We don't want a person who is scouting homes in our area to search our address , get our name, then get on Facebook and see the photo we posted of the new grill that happens to show the layout of our entire backyard. You may think criminals are not that smart but the good ones are.
  • Our Privacy- Some of us hate Donald Trump. Some of use hate Hillary Clinton. No matter your political view there would be nothing worse than applying for a job or being up for a promotion and someone searches your Facebook. The person hiring or promoting you loves the candidate you hate and decides you are a horrible person because you spoke your opinion in an ill manner with regards to theirs.

I have had countless people come to me over the years and ask me to Google them. They usually Google their own name and don't find much. They are pretty shocked when a few well worded queries produce information they thought no one could see because they set their profile to private. Some are even more shocked when they are linked to troubling post despite never seeing them due to being a family member related to the poster. What's worse is that Aunt Jenny , for example, tagged you drunk and trying to sleep it off on the deck when a patio chair was right next to you. Yes, these are troubling images that won't bode well for our aspirations despite the fact we thought they were private in nature.

We All Make Mistakes

So You Thought You Were Private

One of the biggest issues with Facebook is that its privacy options have so many levels. In general Facebook's setting options are very complicated and even trying to delete your Facebook can take months while it sits deactivated. A lot of people find this process complicated and have no idea exactly how much is needed to make a profile truly private. Let us take a look at some of the more common errors.

  • You Only Changed Who Can See My Stuff- You probably didn't understand the concept that others could still see your stuff if other people comment on it. While your images and past post can not be read, current post can be if a friend of a friend is following a person who post on your timeline. This means you are not completely private but just semi.
  • You Changed "Who Can Contact Me" - Really sort of a pointless option. If someone wants to troll you hard enough they will find a way. You can report them and have them IP banned and its more of a sure thing than just making it where they can't message you so they make a fake account and some how slip onto your friends list and know everything anyhow. If someone is harassing you just simply informed then that you no longer want to continue the conversation and if they attempt to contact you in the future you will report them for harassment to Facebook.
  • Who Can Look Me Up- Some of you left this alone so friends could find you and that is understandable. Others have blocked who can look them up and see their phone numbers. Some 70% of people on Facebook do not have private profiles despite over 60% of them setting up some level of privacy. The reason? The last option is most important to keeping your profile private, search engines.

Ooops It Tagged Me Again!!

Beware Of Spiders

Search Engines, The Internet's All Seeing Eye

So most of us have seen Lord Of The Rings and we know how scary it is to have this eye that can just see everything we are doing. Search engines are sort of like that in real life. These engines use what they call crawlers which are depicted by these little spider looking things. Crawlers crawl the internet using a SEO process to searching certain: tags, terms, associations based on name, family relation, known locations, history, metadata, backlog tags and other features. These spiders produce information that can be searched using queries that specify what the spiders should reference. The biggest issue with internet security, Facebook, or any social media platform are these spiders.

Turn off the search engines to your social media!

This is the only way to truly go private to the public world. You want to disable this options so that when your crazy cousin decides to tag you and call you names, it can't be found. When Aunt Dorthy tags you into an embarrassing photo from when you were two years old , it can't be found. When you post a bad comment in a comments section of your favorite media outlet using Facebook or other social media as a log in , it can't be found either. You want to make everything is as private as possible so that the spiders know they can't index you. The crawlers will still see what you or others post about you, but it will be ignored when referencing occurs during the search query process of major search engines.

I hope it's clear now what you've been doing wrong and that you apply these thoughts to all your social media platforms. If you're still unsure check the video bellow.

Is That It?

Not even close! You now have to change some more settings. Go to timeline under the privacy tab and set everything under that section to friends or change it to whatever option you wish.

Okay , so I lied, you are almost done. The last step is to go to the "About" section of your Facebook profile. You won't find this in setting but you can access 'About' from your actual page. Here you will notice you can edit things like: your name, place of employment, phone number, ect... You can now decide who you want to see these things and you can even set it so only you can view this information. If you don't want people to see it you should probably just delete it.

Finally you should be private. The video bellow will walk you through this step by step and remember that other social media platforms may need the same attention you just gave Facebook.

How To For Visual Learners


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    • johnbr22 profile image

      johnbr22 13 months ago

      I believe your service provider already records this data.

      And as long as they have a warrant to access this data ( which would require them having a decent reason/support suspicions) this way it is kept on secure offline drives that can only be accessed directly onsite and only with authority from a warrant