“ What’s on Facebook… Stays on Facebook? ” Funny thing you’ve asked. This May, after weeks of debate on privacy issues, Facebook finally launched a new privacy feature that lets you control just who can see your information. You can choose to allow only your friends, friends of friends, everyone, or selected friends . Your new settings will be applied to everything you’ve posted in the past. It sounds pretty simple, making it safer to share data with people, sites, and malicious apps you barely know. Sounds safe?
Just because Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said that they’ve made a bunch of mistakes and wanted to get stuff right this time.. is NOT an excuse for you to turn a blind eye to privacy settings. As long as there are bad folks with bad intentions, there will always be Facebook bugs that can steal your account information.
How to Protect Your Privacy When Using Facebook
With over 500 million active users and a growing number of mobile enthusiasts, you need to:
Be Password Savvy
The first step in compromising your privacy is when someone succeeds in hacking your account. Choose a strong password that’s at least 10 characters long – a mix of upper case and lower case letters, special characters and numbers that you can easily remember. Maybe a memorable phrase…
Limit What You Share
It’s very tempting to post details on where you live or work, your phone numbers, and your birthday. By doing so, you are giving away free chocolate cake to any identity thief on the Web. This is why you have to do the next step.
Control Who Can View Your Info
If you don’t feel good that your data may be shared to third party applications on Facebook, set your contact info and ‘Posts by Me‘ to be seen by ‘Only Friends.’ Only those you have added as friends can see your wall updates, links, photos, videos, or notes. Facebook also lets you control who will see your next status update by simply clicking on the padlock icon that lets you choose who can see your post.
Opt Out of “Instant Personalization”
Ever liked a story posted on your friend’s wall which led you to read the full story on another website? It can be cool that these sites will customize their contents based on your interests. But if you think it’s a snare, simply go to your privacy settings, click on edit settings, and uncheck the box.
Stop the Tags
If you don’t like the idea of being tagged by friends in their photos or videos, you can simply go to your privacy settings, choose profile information, and customize items under photos and videos – to be seen by ‘Only Me‘. Now, you can say goodbye to those embarrassing posts.
Protect Your Album
When you upload pictures to Facebook, it will share your album to everyone by default. Make sure you choose who can see your photos or much better, customize and select specific friends.
Get Rid of Apps
Keep in mind that when you signed up, you allow Facebook unlimited access to your profile. Now, its partner apps can also store that data for good rather than having to make requests for it every 24 hours. You may love those cutesy quizzes, but if you feel your data may be compromised, avoid them totally. You can delete the apps by simply choosing to remove them from your Authorized Apps list.
It may take less than 10 minutes of your time to connect safely with Facebook’s new and simpler way of using your privacy settings, but the reward is priceless. Think of Facebook as a free ticket to the hottest party in town: Are you an open book for everyone to read?