It is not easy to stay up to date on the latest Facebook Privacy settings and policies. Here is a quick review of the basics to get you started. The most important item to remember is that nothing is truly private. There are definitely some things that you can do to limit what is shared or filter what is shared with whom, but ultimately, if you are posting, sharing, or liking, it is information that is available. I believe that you should always approach Facebook, and really all social media in general, with the intention of only sharing information that you would want your customers or clients to read. If you do not have a business focus, then only share information that your mother or kids could read.

The Basics – Who Can See What?

There are several options with regards to who you can share your info with: you can set this as default in your privacy settings or you can set it on individual updates.  The individual update will override the default settings.

  • Public – Yes, this means everyone.
  • Friends & Friends + – This is your friends, but your friends can choose to share with their friends, so it includes all of your friends and all of your friends’ friends.
  • Only me – Correct, only you can see it.
  • Custom – You can choose: select specific friends, networks, and lists.

You are completely in control of what you are sharing.  As I mentioned before, if you don’t want it public, don’t put it on Facebook.

Your Profile Settings: What Shows Up Under “About Me”

The long and the short of it is that you can set each item in your profile to have it’s own level of privacy.

You can click the privacy icon on the left of each field to edit who can see that item. For example, if you are not interesting in everyone on Facebook know where you live, you can just click the drop-down menu to the right of the ”Current City” box and choose who can see this information. You can make it public, visible to friends only, visible to you only, or like above, you can hit “custom” to make a more refined privacy decision.

It is worth taking the time to review all of the information that is available in your profile and making the decision for each.

Two-Factor Authentication to Keep Others from Logging Into Your Account

I highly recommend setting up the Two-Factor Authentication.  This means you need to have a Facebook code and your password to log into the account.   Once your computer is set up, you do not need this again. But each time your Facebook account is logged into from a new computer or mobile device, you need the Facebook code.  The code is sent to your phone via text or your email.   You can set this up by going to your Account settings >> Security >> Login Approvals.   I suggest taking a look at the other options there as well.

Strong Passwords

Sometimes the simplest answer are the best ones. Use strong passwords; this is a combination of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and/or special characters.  Don’t make your password something easily guessed like your kid’s or dog’s name.  Really think outside the box on this.  I like to make it easy to type as well — this will help you remember it in 2 days. :-)

I would also always recommend that you log off of Facebook when you are not sitting at the computer, or if you have computer set up for it, lock your computer whenever you leave.

Educate Yourself

Take the time to read and understand the privacy policy.  Stay in tune to the changes that are always happening, and understand how all the different functions within Facebook work.  Read exactly what it is you are authorizing a website or an application to access and share.  One of the best things about Facebook is the ability to custom your experience, as well as your friends experience.  Definitely do this; you will make it much more fun and enjoyable for you and your friends… and you will get yourself safe and secure.

My Permissions web app is a quick 2 minute check to see what permission settings need to be corrected.: How to Protect Your Personal Information on Facebook

Featured photo credit: Female hands saving small house with a roof via Shutterstock

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