Facebook can be a great way to catch up with friends and get the latest news, but the privacy settings can leave your personal information at risk. This article takes a look at six key Facebook privacy settings you might want to change now.
In this age of NSA spying, corporate surveillance and position-tracking smartphones, many people have taken a defeatist attitude to their online privacy. They often assume that privacy is a thing of the past, and that there is simply nothing they can do to keep the government, corporations and other interested parties from snooping on everything they do.
While that may be true to some extent, the general lack of privacy in the modern world is not an excuse for doing nothing about the accounts you own. From banking sites to social media, you can adjust your privacy settings and take steps to keep hackers and other bad guys at bay.
If that scenario sounds familiar, it might be time for a reality check. If you have not checked your privacy settings since you set up your Facebook account, you might want to revisit your decision and make sure you are as protected as possible. These six commonly misused privacy settings are a good place to start.
If someone Googles your name, one of the top search results might be your Facebook page. That can be a handy feature, or a danger, depending on your point of view. If you want old friends to be able to find you on Facebook, leaving the setting as is might be the right choice.
If you would prefer to go incognito, you can tweak your Facebook privacy by going to Account Settings, then clicking the Privacy tab (Or if you’re logged in, use this link). Look for the “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” option. Click Edit and uncheck the box that says “Let other search engines link to your timeline.”
2. Timelines and Tags
Getting tagged in a Facebook photo can be fun, but you might not want everyone in the world to see those pictures. You can control who is allowed to see the photos and posts you are tagged in. You can also control who is allowed to post to your timeline; you can for instance restrict timeline posting to close friends and family members.
Just go to your Facebook settings, choose the Timeline and Tagging tab and look for “Who can post on your timeline”. You can further control what people on Facebook see by using the “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline.” That gives you the ability to preview and approve any tagged photos or prints before they go out to the rest of the world.
3. App Settings
If you use your mobile devices to access Facebook, the apps you access have access to your Facebook information, including your name, gender and profile picture. If you do not want to share all of that information, you can make adjustments.
Just go to your account settings, look for the Apps tab, click Edit and adjust the access as needed. It is helpful for some apps to have access to your Facebook profile and friends list, but for other apps that sharing could pose a security risk and offer no added value.
4. Advertising to Friends
Advertising is how Facebook makes money, and they are not shy about it. If you have spent any time on Facebook, you have probably seen a few ads and sponsored posts. When Facebook posts an ad, they might include a photo of one of your Facebook friends. If that friend has liked a particular item or company, Facebook can include them in the ads they post.
If that seems creepy to you, there is a way to prevent your own profile picture from accompanying advertising messages. Just go to your Facebook setting is, click the Ads tab and find the Ads and Friends option. From there you can use the drop-down menu and select the No one option to disable such ads.
5. Log-in Approval
Many people love the automatic log-in feature on Facebook, but it could pose a security risk if you lose your smartphone or have your laptop stolen. Tweaking the log-in process to make it more restrictive can protect your privacy and prevent unauthorized access. The log-in notification feature will send you an alert if someone is trying to log in to your Facebook account.
You can enable this feature by going to your account settings, choosing the Security tab and clicking Edit. From there you can enable log-in notifications and set approval options.
6. Remote Log-Out
If you regularly log on to your Facebook account from a friend’s smartphone or computer, you have probably forgotten to log out a time or two. That can put your data at risk, especially if your friend shares the device with someone else. Remote logout gives you the ability to sign off after the fact and prevent those kinds of problems.
Just go to the account settings page and choose the Security tab. Click “Where You’re Logged In” to see a list of all your active log-ins, along with the location and type of device. From there you can simply choose the End Activity option to log off remotely.