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Somebody please call security!

January 1, 2010

Facebook, that oh so wonderful pioneer of the social network era. Almost everybody has a Facebook account, I say almost because increasingly I meet more and more anti-Facebook people who would never set up an account on there. Maybe they should start a new group…a whole new website to put people who don’t want to be on Facebook in touch with other people who don’t want to be on Facebook…yeah…..ok, so I jest.

In December, Facebook offered up their brand new security options to the world, and thereby ensured that total chaos could reign while everyone tried to figure out what was going on and how in the hell they could shut themselves down again. I was one of these people, I’ve previously blogged on how closely I monitor my Facebook account and actively use privacy settings so the first thing I looked for the option to remove myself from search results and prevent my photo from being seen. And that’s when it dawned on me that I may have to leave facebook.

In the last month, I have received silly friends requests from random unknowns and I have been able to pry into the facebook lives of people who I don’t know on more occassions that I care to mention. It’s easily done, I’m no stalker, but follow a link where a friend has been tagged, or a video or similar and you could end up on the page of A.N.Other who doesn’t realise that their wall, personal information and photos are open to the world. This wasn’t previously the case, but many of the new settings have been put to a default ‘Everyone’ so unless you go in and change them, anyone who wants to, can peep into your little social corner of the world.

With so many people accessing Facebook exclusively on their mobile phones, many have not gotten round to looking at, yet alone updating and changing their privacy options. Seriously, if you’re one of these people do it now!

For the moment, I’m staying on there, professionally and socially my networks currently utilise Facebook to a large extent, but I’m working on changing that. Whilst I’m on there I have removed all my photo albums, I no longer have a wall (my friends have to send me a message) and I only have one external application accessing my data (and its a book application…quite good actually!). I’m still using my friends lists as filters to control how much people see, I’ve stopped being a serial commenter on other people’s walls and photos and no one except me can see photos I’m tagged in. Sound extreme? Well, this is reality.

Some people argue that if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn’t be paranoid, others say if you don’t want people to know anything, why exist on these platforms anyway (an argument I can never fight because it is oh so true!). But if you are on there, and you do use it, then it’s always sensible to err on the side of caution, control what you want to share and don’t let it be controlled for you. The same applies to Twitter, FriendFeed, BlogReaders, Foursquare, you name it. You should be in control, not the people who designed these applications, their intentions may not (and will almost certainly never be) in your best interest.

My list of 5 things you should do straight away:

  1. Prevent yourself from appearing in Google public search listings (unless you have a business reason e.g. music, acting etc. I would actually recommend you set up two accounts, one public and one private for your real friendships)
  2. Work through your friends lists and categorise, then give different categories different permissions (we all ‘forget’ when we added Aunty Tolu months back and didn’t realise she’s been informing your mother about your nights out and racy status messages….um-hmm)
  3. Remove your date of birth (do you really need the million Happy Birthday wishes???)
  4. Consider preventing people from seeing when you are tagged in a photo
  5. Don’t add new friend requests from so called friend’s of friends (stick to who you actually know).

All of these can be done by accessing your privacy settings at the top right of your Facebook page. There are 10 really good tips on this Unofficial Facebook site on how to deal with the new privacy settings.

Worth taking the 30 minutes it might take to sort this out.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Shubby doo permalink
    January 3, 2010 8:38 am

    Seriously, I kept all my default settings during the last change but one thing that caught me out was my profile pics were available to all as a result of the change.

    Normally only friends can see my profile pic as I move around fb but when I started getting more random request saying I looked nice, ‘so and so’ wanted to get the know me, I double checked what was accessible to randoms on my real profile using the shubby doo one and true enough u couldn’t see my profile but u could my profile pics… Wtf?! I made the changes to correct that sharpish.

    I love commenting on photos so I’ve also stopped letting people see who’s photos, status, and links I comment on by changing my news feed options about a year ago. My phots are set up to be view by my friends alone so even if I tag someone there friends will only see those photos that are tagged and not my whole album

    My bro was doing amaebo to my mother about my business…I put him on limited profile… but when he got the wrong of the stick about one pic that wasn’t even me, I got so mad that I deleted him too. He is my bro and not my friend jo! He never even complained when it happen cos he knew I was done. Honestly, there is no need to be fb friends with some members of ones close family jare!

  2. January 5, 2010 5:20 am

    Uhm.. Didn’t someone once say she’ll stop her ‘two-consecutive-posts-in-one-day’ thing?! 🙂

    Happy nu year!

  3. lolobloggs permalink*
    January 5, 2010 2:33 pm

    @ShubbyDoo And so you see where I’m coming from! It’s a real slippery scenario, I think I’ve worked out how to hide your profile picture – Go into Photo Albums and then set the privacy for the profile one, have to wait to test it out, but hopefully should work!

    @Roc What can I say, I’m a double or nothing kind of girl! lol! Long time 😉

    • February 7, 2010 1:27 pm

      thanks lols but it didnt work. i think the only thing that will is not putting a profile picture up. *sighs*

  4. January 14, 2010 10:11 pm

    Facebook is a slippery slope. Like all things online, I do not put anything on there that I do not wan the whole world to see. This is because I also think FB itself apart from all the apps and privacy ish, have their own problems.

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