How to Check your Facebook Privacy Settings

Anyone on this site is probably pretty hip to social network operations and you don’t need this information. I put my post about the Facebook comment plug-in up on a local social network in my hometown and got asked how to shut the gate, so to speak, so I thought I’d share the steps here too. Makes it easy for you to tell Great-Aunt Mildred :D.

I’d love to see recommendations by others about initial security/privacy issues they’ve found and how to raise (or lower) the walls.

Log onto Facebook.

Choose the Account tab in the upper righthand corner.

Choose Privacy Settings.

I suggest you check your settings in three places:

1) Under Sharing on Facebook you choose what things you want to have visible to people by category, so confirm what you want there under Customize Settings.

Check Preview my Profile to see what things are visible outside your Friends list.

2) Under Connecting on Facebook, check what you have made visible to Everyone. This is what may show externally with your comments.

I changed that setting today so the Education and Work information is only available to Friends. This means that people I went to school with or work with won’t be able to find me in a search on those organizational names, but it now means my employer name won’t show up with my blog comments outside Facebook if I do choose to use the FB comment plug-in.

3) On your Account/Privacy Settings page choose Apps and Websites/Edit your Settings in the lower lefthand corner.

Check whether you want to block any apps. You will most likely be amazed at how many things you have said YES to over time.

Also check the area labeled Info Available through your Friends. When I did that just now I found that whether or not I’m online, where I am currently located geographically, and my current hometown were all things that could get out via my friends.

I did not authorize those boxes to be checked–I don’t use Facebook Places and don’t want someone else giving away my physical location without my knowledge and permission. (I’m on Foursquare, which is how I choose to control both who knows where I am, and when I choose to tell them.)

Also go into the Instant Personalization section here. That’s a biggie–it gives away all kinds of information if you let it to “improve” your user experience on external sites.

Check your privacy settings periodically. Think of it like changing the batteries in your smoke alarm: You don’t want to find out you dropped your guard after it’s too late and something is on fire.


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