After much bad publicity concerning overly complicated privacy settings, Facebook has finally simplified their privacy settings so that the average user can understand them. The new system puts things in a relativity simple to use interface so you can see at a glance if you settings are in your comfort zone. To access your privacy settings choose access the “Account” menu on the right side of the blue menu bar on your Facebook homepage. Select “Privacy Settings” from the drop down menu. As you can see there are three basic privacy settings, one for everyone (the entire internet), one for friends of friends, and one for friends only. Click on the left menu items to see commonly used settings and simply hit the “apply these settings” button at the bottom to apply. The “Everyone” setting will leave you wide open on the internet and we would never recommend that for an individual’s Facebook page. However if your page is for your business the more accessible the better. The “friends of friends” option gives you a minimal amount of privacy keeping your date of birth, contact information, and religious and political views accesible to friends only, but your photos and relationship status is still open to your network of friends as well as all the people they are friends with. That can quickly add up to hundreds of people you have never met and can certainly bite you in the rear. Say for example you say something critical about your employer. You haven’t added any of your co-workers to your friends list so you figure it’s private, right? Wrong. As it turns out one of your friends is roommates with your boss’ cousin’s girlfriend who saw you trash him online. The next thing you know you are fired! It happens all the time, and that is precisely why you always want to remember that when you post something on the internet it is out there, in public, permanently archived. So be careful! Now the “friends only” setting is still not the most private, but it is close. This setting does assure that only those you choose will see your posts, status updates, and pictures. If you just want to quickly set up a profile that is for the most part private this is the way to go. However we want to go over the “Customize Settings” options to show you even more privacy options you may want to consider.
Recently Facebook added a feature that allows you and your friends, to “check in” to places you visit such as bars, concerts, restaurants, etc. This can be a fun feature especially if attending an event at a large venue where you might want to find people you know. Unfortunately Facebook has decided to enable this feature as a default . That means it is automatically enabled and set to your most open privacy option. That means if you have left any information viewable to everyone, then your places setting will be open for anyone to check you in anywhere they please. How would you like a complete stranger or even a friend check you into a adult bookstore or other potentially embarrassing locale? Facebook makes it easy for you to get set up by ill willed pranksters if you leave this feature on. To disable this feature click the “Customize Settings” option at the bottom of the privacy settings interface. Under “Things I Share” options screen, scroll down to the places options.
Uncheck the “Enable” box to completely turn off the feature and choose “Only Me” from the drop -down menu.
Next take a look at the “Things others share” options. This is where you can customize what information of yours your friends can share with their friends. It is a good idea to keep photos and videos you are tagged in as private as possible as this is another area of potential embarrassment. Recently I was a little taken aback to see people I didn’t really know well comment on family photos my brother had tagged me in. I decided my baby pictures should not be for public view and changed this setting from “friends of friends”. There is also another “Friends can check me in to places” option here-which seems redundant, but go ahead and double check the option to make sure it is set to your liking.
You can further customize your settings here for contact information, relationship status and whatever else you like. Make sure you carefully review each one to keep your online life as public or as private as you are comfortable with. In the past Facebook has reset users privacy features to be viewable to everyone each time they roll out an update. Although bad publicity about the practice has led Zuckerburg and co. to promise to keep your settings as you set them in the future, it is still a good idea to review your privacy settings often. As always be careful when posting private and sensitive information on the internet.
Video – How to Setup a Facebook Fan Page