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Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

Facebook has become a part of our life. If we are logged in to Facebook at least once a day, then we cannot deny that we’re addicted to it. But it’s not a bad addiction either as long as we know what we are doing. All of us are using Facebook for one or the other reason.

Facebook is a universal platform to connect with people. The information that we put up on our profiles can be accessed by anyone. When I say ‘anyone’ means literally any person (and not just anyone around our network) on earth using Facebook. This may sound scary if we look at some of the events happening around us.

Before I go ahead, one important point we must read and understand and which is mentioned in Facebook’s Terms

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

1. Remove profile from Public Search

This option allows Facebook to show some of our identity related information to display on Facebook and Other Search Engines so that people searching for us can find it immediately. On the other hand, it may not be what you would want.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

2. Put friends in different lists

People those used Orkut know how to put friends into different lists. This helps us analyze the friends list and how we communicate with them later. We can define privacy settings on Facebook based on these lists and we also can see friends listed so in Facebook Chat. We can also mark one friend in many lists at a time.

It could be a daunting, boring task to put existing friends into different lists, but what we can do is, from today onwards makes it a practice to put new friends in a specific list whether you send a friend request or receive it. We can start marking 5-10 existing friends in such lists per day so it won’t consume too much of our time.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

3. Limit Access to Tagged Photos & Videos

Photo and Video tagging is one of the interesting features of Facebook where one person can let others know the real people (using Facebook) in a particular photo or a video.  But unfortunately, this feature is getting missed by many users and may cause embarrassment to others. People have tagged any photo with anyone just for the sake of tagging fun and that’s bad.

Facebook does not have a detailed filter for tagging, it is then makes sense to limit others from viewing tagged photos or video.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

4. Control permissions to view Photo Albums

We upload photos in different albums and the default option can let anyone on Facebook see our photos / albums. He / She needs not to be on our friends list for this. We can control it by applying filters. These filters also consist of different ‘Friend lists’ which we read above. We can use these filters for Facebook Profile Pictures as well.

There could be photo albums you don’t want some people to see even if they are on your friends list.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

5. Control information routing via friends

As we know, Facebook is a Social Network and it will display a bit of our information to Apps, Games and other websites that are used by our friends. It is not required that we share everything about us to a third-party. We can limit, revealing this information.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

6. Account security measures

This may not be the greatest cure to the problem, but is a good prevention method. We should enable using HTTPS secured browsing for using our Facebook account. Know more about HTTPS here.

Additionally, we can also use ‘Login Notification’ to see if our Facebook account is being used on any unrecognized computer or device. We still might get alerts even if we use it to a friends mobile or a computer. Choose this if you want to be very precise & safe.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

7. Check recent login activities

It is best to periodically check logging activities on our Facebook account. This list has information about Facebook sessions active for our account. If you find an activity, location not familiar to you, make sure to choose an End Activity to log out all sessions on these IPs. The drawback of this system is, it is not visible immediately on Facebook profile page hence we hardly check these activities. It also displays different locations if your Internet connection is using Dynamic IP. Read more about Dynamic IP here

But nonetheless, make sure to end all listed recent activities.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

8. Control profile view

Controlling our profile visibility to different people and friends on Facebook is a must. Even if we want to share profile information to all friends, we must know that we have done it so by visiting and applying these settings. These include status updates, family, relationship, comments, wall posts, email address, address etc.

Here too we can use grouping, listing of friends as a filter.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

9. Show or Hide friends

“A group of friends reveal the personality of a man” as said by someone. This is an essential filter from letting others know who all are your friends. Information thief can create serious problems to our friends if not to us. So it is our responsibility to hide such information or limit it to closed friends only.

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

10. Turn Off Instant Personalization

I have covered a post about this option few days back. Read here about How to turn On / Off Instant Personalization

Facebook Safety: 10 Must Know Privacy Settings

I would further like to add that, We should never (means never) ever share too personal information, our schedules (status updates like: I am going to abc road at 7pm), or any such elements which could reveal too much and too correct about our personalities on Social Networking websites unless it is a necessity to do so.

Facebook or any such social networking website is a great fun if we set effective privacy settings, use those websites wisely and only if you know what you are doing!

Update #1

Facebook recently (in August 2011) changed few privacy settings to make them easier to access while sharing content on Facebook such as Status updates, Photos, Tagging, Location info and visibility. Here is the video for how to use and set these new sharing options on Facebook profile.