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Facebook privacy and all the spam

Facebook settings menu

Over the past couple of months I’ve noticed an increase in the number of my Facebook friends updating their status with messages about unfriending people if they don’t modify their privacy settings and various other iterations of the same old spam status updates that have been floating around Facebook for ages.

As a general rule, these status updates are completely bogus and are initially spread by individuals with a ‘look at me’ complex. Unfortunately, they’re often worded in such a way that a large number of non-technically-minded Facebook users interpret as being a threat to their Facebook security and/or privacy and consequently ‘spread the word’. Before long, a single status update by one doofus has spread to a million or more users in the blink of an eye.

The reality of Facebook security is this:

  • It’s not perfect – nothing ever is
  • Only Facebook programmers and you can control who sees your status updates and pictures and who can post on your timeline
  • If someone updates their status and uses A LOT OF CAPS IN THE TEXT, they’re either implying their audience is deaf,  or it’s spam.

Over time, I have tweaked my Facebook settings to get what I think works for me. Here’s what I use.

Security Settings

  • Use a unique and obscure password (consider a password tool like 1password)
  • Account settings / security and make sure secure browsing is enabled
  • If you’re paranoid, enable login notifications and login approvals (2 factor authentication – this sends a code to your mobile and requires the code for you to login)
Facebook Security Settings

Privacy

For privacy, I use the following settings:

Privacy Settings

Limit Who can see my stuff? to Friends except Acquaintances. This allows you to bucket people that you’ve worked with in the past that maybe you want to keep in touch with, or current colleagues and/or clients into a group that you can easily filter your “real” private moments from (like when you post you’re on holidays but you told your boss you were in hospital).

Limit Who can look me up? to Friends

I personally don’t mind if search engines link to my timeline – it’s only valid for public posts anyway as anyone who’s not a friend can’t access my timeline.

When it comes to privacy, you also need to configure the timeline section:

Timeline settings

I set Who can post on my timeline? to Friends. After all, I don’t want randoms posting rubbish on my timeline. I also set Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline? to on. Sometimes your friends can have a brain-fart and post something you don’t want others to know about or see. Everyone’s sense of humour and morality is different.

I also set Who can see things on my timeline? to Friends except Acquaintances and use the same setting for Who can see what others post on your timeline?.

In line with the above settings, I don’t want people posting pictures of me or tagging me in things unless I approve of it so I turn on Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook? and use a custom setting of Friends except Acquaintances for When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren’t already in it?.

Lastly, only Friends get prompted to tag me in pictures.

With these settings, I generally have no issues with privacy on Facebook. To stay informed, check out the facerooks page and also have a look here  for information on the privacy settings in Facebook.

The information provided above are the settings I personally use. You should play around with the security settings to see what works for you and make sure you keep yourself informed. By informed, I mean get your information from a reputable source.

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