How to Secure your Privacy in Facebook

Facebook is the second most popular website in the world. As of the second quarter of 2015, they reported to have 1.49 billion active monthly users, meaning that almost 1/5 of the entire world’s population is on Facebook. A majority of the users do not change their security settings. That could be for a few reasons including they do not understand how or what settings to use, they are unaware of the risks, or they may not care. That said, the company has taken heat for their automatic tagging feature that uses facial recognition software. The stated goal of auto tagging is “to enhance the member experience”. Because of the other potential use or misuse of this technology, we will do a step-by-step Facebook security checkup in this guide.

  1. When logged in to Facebook, to the right of the search bar, you will see a lock like this. Once you click on the lock, you will see a selection at the top that says privacy checkup.Facebook Bar
  2. From there, you can select the audience you want to be able to see whatever you post, if you post things. We chose friends in this case, because we feel the world does not need to know what goes on in our lives.
  3. In the same section, you may also choose your apps and who you want to see them. All of the apps you have ever used are located there. If you no longer use the apps either on your phone or on facebook, you have to option to delete them. If you play any facebook games and you do not wish to have it post all of your activity, you would select only me.
  4. Next comes the section called “Your Profile”. Here, we advise changing the phone and email settings to “only me” or “friends”. With the birthday, friends of friends is ok, but for the year? choose the “only me” selection. Hometown wise, you can choose to make that public if you wish, and because of the other details you secured, that should be ok as well. Press the finish up button and you are set for that section. You are then taken back to the main screen.
  5. Press the same lock button again, and at the bottom, there is a link that says “see more settings”. By default, this will bring you to privacy settings and tools. At the top, under the heading who can see my stuff, the top one states who can see my future posts. We advise changing option to friends. That is because sometimes the things you post may have personal data in them.
  6. Moving to the next section, selecting who can send you friend requests, you have two options. Friends of friends, or everyone. In this case, the everyone option is a good choice, because if an old friend or acquaintance tries to connect with you, they may not be even connected to friends of friends.
  7. For your inbox, Facebook recommends basic filtering, and we agree. Unless it becomes a problem, the basic filtering option is just fine.
  8. The next section is called who can look me up, and has three settings. For the first option, who can look me me up by email, we advise the friends option, and the same with phone number. The next part is on by default. “Do you want search engines to link to your timeline?” Unless you are using Facebook for a non-personal account (like a business or cause), this should be very obviously a NO. People outside of FB do not need to see what you post if you are on a personal account.
  9. On the left side, the next section should be timeline and tagging.  For the “who can add things to your timeline”  we advise selecting the friends option. the next line is a big one. “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” this one is off by default, but you should turn it on. At least this way, you can accept or reject being tagged.
  10. For the “who can see things on my timeline” you will want to change the options there to friends. Again we stress the fact that no one outside of your circle needs to be able to see what you post.
  11. The last section in this category is an important one, because it manages people tagging you. The part that says review tags people post on your timeline should be on. Question 2, “When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren’t already in it?” we suggest friends here, and the last question there “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?” we advise using the option, No one.

There are some more specific tools under the blocking section as well as the security section, but that is a matter of preference. So there you have it. The settings we have mentioned here will still allow you to do things you normally do on Facebook, but they will limit your exposure, and help to make sure your private life stays more private. We do recommend changing all of these settings, because there is no reason for all the information Facebook allows to be public, to actually be public.