Facebook Privacy Settings
The First Critical Setting: Instant Personalization and Public Search
These two items enable individuals, companies, organizations, and pretty much the world at large to glean information about you from your Facebook account and activity while on Facebook, and also when you visit websites that are partnered with Facebook. This creates an odd level of familiarity, where you may visit a site and it instantly pops up a message welcoming you by name, and even suggesting things based on the information the site has gleaned from your Facebook activity. Intrusive, you say?
The easiest way to keep your info from becoming a part of some company’s statistical data is to disable the features that allow information sharing to partner sites.
- In the upper right corner of your Facebook Page, click Account
- Click on Privacy Settings – from there you can select a number of areas to limit other’s ability to gather information, but for now we’ll focus on the biggies
- Scroll to the bottom of the page, and on the left side, select Edit Your Settings under Apps and Websites
First, click on Instant Personalization, and remove the check mark from the box labeled Enable instant personalization on partner websites. – there is also a nice pop-up video that details more about the feature, but beware that it downplays the gravity of exactly how much of your private info is shared through this feature when enabled.
- Return to the Instant Personalization page, and click on Public Search
- Again, remove the check mark from the box that enables this feature. While some people may want everyone on Earth to be able to simply type in their name and find their personal FB page, read all their info and see all their pictures, most of us should disable this feature since we find all the people we want to be in contact with through the FB Friend Finder feature.
Within the privacy settings, you can select and modify many more options for your FB account that deal with how much information you wish to show, share, or allow others to access through Facebook. It is a good idea to take a few moments to look through each of the areas and, at the very least, adjust the settings from “everyone” to a more select setting such as “friends only” or even “just me”. For example, if your photos contain images of your children, you may want to adjust your settings so that only those people you have already selected as your friends can view those photos.
Take care of the big privacy issues right now, but check back regularly as FB is constantly changing and updating their systems – new privacy settings are released every few months, making regular checkups of your personal settings crucial to your privacy on Facebook.