Facebook Privacy – Ensure your Safety

by Keri Honea on May 7, 2010

If you’re an avid Facebook user, than you have no doubt stumbled upon Facebook’s latest features, which mainly focused around changing “Being a Fan” to “Liking” a page. However, you might not have noticed that other major changes were afoot, including removing several privacy settings for users. You can still hide your address, phone number, and e-mails and that important stuff from the world, but several other facets are now public knowledge. These include posts made on your friends’ walls, whether you are friends with said posters or not, and what pages you Like.

Facebook Privacy Settings

This may not seem that big of a deal, but in reality, it really forces users to be even more guarded against what they say on the Internet (even though they should be guarded in the first place). For example, if you’re friends with your boss, you may not want them to know that you Like certain businesses (such as competitors) or community pages that support controversial material. You can’t hide any of that from your friends or random users who find your profile. The military in particular has had problems with its members due to Facebook’s changes. For example, if a military member Likes a page dedicated to presidential opposition, it’s now public knowledge for all of the high-ranking officers to see. Such a statement on the Internet can easily be construed as not acting appropriately as a military representative, and therefore is at risk for being disciplined, possibly severely.

Unfortunately, you can’t hide what you Like, so users must now take into consideration how Liking a particular page or creating one could impact their lives outside of Facebook. However, you can do other things to safeguard yourself, such as ensuring certain groups can see photos, posts on your friends’ walls, and comments. You can no longer hide your home town, but you can (and should) hide your address and phone numbers from the Facebook public.

Most importantly, you should make sure that your Facebook profile cannot be found via search engines. You may have selected such a choice when you first signed up for Facebook, but with the new changes, this selection has automatically been reselected for everyone. Removing yourself from Internet search is simple enough; access your privacy settings from your account menu and then uncheck the “Public Search Results” box on the Search privacy settings.

Facebook Search Engine Privacy

I said it earlier, but it’s important enough to say again. Be very, very careful what you put out on the Internet, whether you’re writing as an individual, as a business, or a business representative. You never know who can access it, interpret it, and possibly damage you in some form or fashion. Always ask yourself if you’re okay if your boss sees it or a potential thief. Trust me, you don’t want to learn that lesson the hard way.

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