Recent headlines have been dominated by stories of Facebook privacy issues.
Much of this was stirred up by some significant changes to Facebook’s privacy policies, recent tech slip ups, and a practice of making shared info the default setting. And of course the various videos of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talking about privacy can be chilling too.
While some are starting to wonder, I still think Facebook is a viable business and marketing platform when you understand that it’s a tool, a utility, and not the place to stake your entire business.
Below are six privacy settings most everyone, particularly those with their business pages linked to their personal profile, should take a quick look at immediately. Go to your account and click Account > Privacy Settings and get to work.
1) Opt out of the Instant Personalization feature – Under Applications and Websites, click and go to last choice, Instant Personalization, and hit edit and uncheck (Facebook checked it for you) the box marked “Allow partners to blah blah...” unless you want every one of Facebook's partners to track what you do all day.
2) Make your personal information restricted – Click on personal information and posts and lock most of these down to friends or even closer (you can now create groups of friends and give out permissions based on who you want to view your personal information – even to specific people only).
3) Make your contact information restricted – Same drill as above but this time for your contact information. You can customize this to the person by person level, but if you never ever want anyone on Facebook to have, say your mobile number, just don’t put it in your profile.
4) Make your friends, tags and connections information restricted – This is the one that gets people in trouble – make sure that you are strict about who can post and tag photos and videos of you or the things you like.
5) Prevent your friends from sharing your data – This is one that really bugs me. Under Applications and Websites > What your friends can share about you, uncheck all of these as this is stuff your friends can share with other applications – even if you don’t use these applications – this is how stuff gets shared accidentally.
6) Block all “known” applications that can leak personal information – You get requests from friends to allow applications to do things and this is a source of trouble that Facebook can’t very well control. I think it’s a good idea to block many of the applications that people use that don’t have anything to do with your reasons for using Facebook. So, next time you get that Farmville, Mafia Wars or Texas Holdem Request, go to your Requests page and block it.
You can also use a free browser based bookmarklet from ReclaimPrivacy.org to scan your current privacy setting and suggest ways to make them better.
Here’s how to scan your privacy settings
- Drag this link to your web browser bookmarks bar: Scan for Privacy
- Log in to facebook.com and then click that bookmark
- You will see a series of privacy scans that inspect your privacy settings and warn you about settings that might be unexpectedly public.