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Photo: lonewolflibrarian.wordpress.com

Photo: lonewolflibrarian.wordpress.com

Although the ability to customize ones privacy settings on a granular level is not a new feature, many people still don’t know how to limit access to their Facebook pages. I have heard it time and again, ‘I can’t use Facebook because I don’t want my ________ to see,’ or ‘I can’t add my coworkers because I don’t want them to see my pictures.’ But you can enjoy much more flexibility with Facebook if they simply understood the rules and settings of their privacy pages.

To give you some guidance and help you get familiar with Facebook’s privacy features, we’ve outlined a list of three major Facebook rules everyone should learn.

1.    Not all friends are friends are created equal

Not everyone on your friends list needs access to your entire profile. If you want to limit the access certain family, friends, or coworkers have to your status updates, photos, or wall posts, you cant. To do this, you must create customized friend profiles, also known as ‘Limited Profiles,’ and set the privacy permissions for each list accordingly.

To do this well, you should focus on three groups of people:

•    REAL Friends – who you will show the most information too
•    Family – Mom, Sister, Cousins, Grandparents, Spouse, etc.
•    Co-workers and Prospective Employers or Current Employers

Once you have these three groups populated, you can then add additional filters to each list to control who sees what on a granular level. Visit the friends’ area of your Facebook page to create your lists. Once you create your lists, get into the habit of ‘filing’ each new connection you make into the proper category when you add them, and you’ll never have to worry about a photo, wall post, or status update being broadcast to the wrong person.

2.    Remove yourself from Facebook search results (and Google, too)

Customizing what your friends and contacts can learn about your life on Facebook is one way to monitor your privacy online, but what about people who aren’t on your friends list? Decide how much information you want to share with people you don’t know or people you would rather not engage with on Facebook and set your search visibility accordingly.

The first thing to decide is who you want to find you on Facebook. If you want that guy/girl from the club last night to be able to contact you after he/she lost your number in a drunken mix up, you probably want to leave your search visibility set to ‘Everyone.’ But if you don’t want random people hunting you down, or if you are specifically trying to avoid someone, you will want to limit your search visibility to ‘Only Friends’ so you will not come up in searches done by anyone unless you are already connected to them.

Keep in mind Facebook automatically makes you visible to your networks, so if you don’t want this happening, you’re going to want to customize this setting a well. And if you don’t want people (employers, ex’s, etc.) searching your name in Google to find your Facebook page, you need to uncheck that box as well.
Once you’re ready, you can visit your search settings page to make desired changes.

3. Don’t get tagged

One of the most frequently misunderstood aspects of Facebook is photo and video sharing. Not only does each photo album you create come with its own set of privacy options, overzealous friends can really wreak havoc on your social and professional life by innocently tagging you in a photo or video you never intended to see the light of day. Unflattering images are one thing, but getting caught in the ‘act’ of doing anything you don’t want others to see can cause way more trouble than you would think.

Luckily you can prevent this by adjusting your photo and video tagging settings on your profile privacy page.You can make all photos and videos tagged of you private or customize your settings so certain people can see them. In any case, its a good idea to exert some control over this area because you never know what someone is going to post and tag with your name!


5 thoughts on “Keeping Facebook Personal
  1. Great article Aaron. I have a few chats with people in regards to privacy on FB. I am sure they will find this helpful as much as I did.

  2. Jesse says:

    As my list of friends continues to grow and diversify, I definitely am taking advantage of Facebook’s privacy options.

  3. ade says:

    Good post, thanks. But is there anything wrong if one updates their FB profile only with business related, rather than personal matters? In this case is there any need to worry about privacy issues?

  4. Christian says:

    Great post Aaron!

  5. Casey says:

    Useful tips, sometimes we just signup and accept the default privacy settings on these sites.

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