With Facebook privacy wizards becoming more and more comfortable with sharing your information, how can you keep yourself safe?
Facebook is like an online personal vault that may contain photos of your firstborn, risky secrets and sometimes your drunken confessions. Police officers, would-be employers and marketers can get access to anything you put there. Now, with Facebook‘s new graph search tool, it can give strangers access to who you are, what you like and where you go.
According to the New York Times, Facebook claims that you decide how much you want others to see. This is mostly true, but you cannot entirely opt out of Facebook searches. Facebook does let you fine-tune who can see your “likes” and pictures, and how much you can share with marketers and advertisers.
“The age of privacy is over.”
Scary, isn’t it?
First ask yourself how you would like to be found on Facebook.
Go to where it says “who can see my stuff” on your Facebook page’s upper right side of. Choose “see more settings.” By default, search engines can link to your timeline. You can turn that off.
Second, what do you want the world to know about you?
Navigate to your profile page and click “About me.” Decide if you would like your gender, or the name of your spouse, or whether or not you wish your relationship status to be seen, visible on your timeline. Think about whether you want your birthday to be seen on your timeline. Your date of birth is useful to hackers.
Also avoid apps like “Foursquare” and location tags if you don’t want everybody, including your neighbor, to know when you’re not home.
Third, do you want to be tracked by advertisers?
Facebook has a code which shows you ads based on the websites you have visited. It lets third-party companies place cookies on your computer when you visit an e-commerce site. It can ask Facebook to show you an ad for whatever you saw when you log in to Facebook.
Hover over the “X” next to the ad and choose “Hide the ad” from the drop-down menu. Or you can hide all ads from this advertiser. Facebook does not host the ads by itself, so in order to opt out, you have to go to the site that does.
Finally, your “friends” may be spying on you. Yes, it’s paranoia, but on Facebook, are you willing to take that chance? The apps they have installed are watching you.
If Facebook privacy makes you uneasy with everything it can share about you, you can always deactivate your account. Remember that all those pictures you uploaded aren’t going anywhere, even if you do.
Facebook is a nightmare of privacy disasters, the bathroom door swinging open again and again while you’re trying to… wired.com/gadgetlab/2013…
— Chris Krewson (@ckrewson) February 8, 2013