Protect your privacy on Facebook -10 privacy settings you should consider

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As Facebook and other social networking sites continue to grow by leaps and bounds… many privacy issues are also cropping up.  Most of us end up blending our personal and professional lives on Facebook and sometimes that can get a bit uncomfortable.

We've talked about the issue of whether or not you get to have a private life anymore, if you're active in social networking.  But, there are some things you can do to protect your own privacy and also, the privacy of the people you are linked to/friended.

This has been a growing concern of mine, so those of you who are my Facebook friends (link to the right if you are not) might notice a few changes in my own settings after researching and writing this post.

Ten Privacy Setting You Should Consider:

Use your friends lists — everyone doesn't have to see everything.

Remove yourself from the Facebook Search results — if you only want to be found by people you reach out to — this is an easy fix for eliminating most of the unwanted friend invites.

Remove yourself from the Google search — Facebook listing seem to grab great Google juice.  So if you want to be found, leave it be.  But if you'd prefer more privacy, you can remove yourself from the listings.

The dreaded photo/video tag — this one has cost people jobs, relationships and their own dignity.  With a simple change in privacy settings, you can make it so that no one (or just those you choose — think friend lists) can see those tell all photos and videos.

Not everyone needs to see every picture — this holds true of your photo albums as well.  You can set privacy settings for each one separately.

Prevent "stories" from showing up on your friends news feed — is there anything more awkward than when your friend goes from in a relationship to it's complicated or single?  Avoid that embarrassment with a few simple settings.

Keep your application updates from being published — do you really want people to know you're looking for a tommy gun in Mafia Wars or that you've wasted yet another hour hitting a new high on Bejeweled?

Make you contact information private — for some people, their cell phone number is public information.  But for others who might have arms lengths relationships at best with many of their Facebook friends…a bit less shared would be good.

Censor your friends…keep their thoughts off your wall! — I think this is one of the most critical on the list.  You can control who sees your wall and who can write on your wall.  Do you really need your frat buddies sharing stories with your boss?  I'm guessing not.

Keep your friends private — this isn't just about your privacy, it's about your friends' privacy as well.  Remember, anyone who is a friend of yours can pop onto your friends list and cherry pick them for whatever reason they'd want. 

The beauty of most of these privacy moves is that no one will ever know you've even implemented them.  But you will…because you'll feel a whole lot safer and less exposed.

I found an excellent post on the topic over at that covers all ten of these suggestions in great depth — including showing you how to alter your settings.

Check it out and protect yourself a little.

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3 comments on “Protect your privacy on Facebook -10 privacy settings you should consider

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Security settings are critical, that is unless you have no problems sharing every aspect of your life with everyone else.

    Most recruiters now days do Google and Facebook searches on their applicants to get a better feel for who they really are. For some, this could be the very reason they don’t get called back for the next interview or get the job.

  2. It’s a bit of a tightrope – clients often add you as a friend because of the “upload your address book” facility – and you don’t want to appear rude by turning the down but then again you don’t want to necessarily to add them and involve them in your personal life, as your relationship with them should ideally be solely business.

    Best bet is to not appear in search results, and use a totally different e-mail address for your account – they’re less likely to find you then, and the situation shouldn’t arise.

  3. It really is a bit of a tightrope…and each person has to find their own balance. But, it’s important to consciously make that decision, rather than just blindly posting your entire life story without worrying about ramifications.

    Hopefully these privacy tools will help people make better choices.


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