When compared to many of its social media competitors, Facebook has quite a number of different privacy options and settings so you can share exactly what you want, with who you want.
Which is just as well, since most of us will divulge more information about ourselves to Facebook than to any other social networking website on the Internet.
There are tons of important privacy you should keep up with and we really drill down into these in our ultimate guide to locking down your Facebook account article here.
However, not all privacy options are born equal. Here are 5 we consider to be the most important…
5. Who can see my stuff?
If there was a grand-daddy to all your privacy settings, this one is it. It’s the setting that controls who can see your posts, including your status updates and photos.
We cannot stress this enough. It needs to be FRIENDS ONLY! If set to public, then anyone can scroll to your timeline and see all your posts.
It doesn’t matter if you think the stuff you post on Facebook isn’t of interest to strangers and criminals – you could be wrong. Even seemingly innocuous information about you can be collected and used to commit identity theft.
Additionally, having your privacy settings wide open also puts your friends privacy at risk too. For example, if you post a photo of you and friends to Facebook and they get tagged in that photo, anyone can see it. You may not care who can see your personal photos, but your friends may not be so privacy-flippant.
Changing this option is easy. Just go to your main Settings Page, hit Privacy and it’s the top option. (And if you’re changing this option, also select the Limit Past Posts option to apply that setting to all the information you’ve already posted on Facebook.)
4. Review your tags
One of the most frustrating things on Facebook is that you cannot stop people tagging you in posts. You can, however, review tags before they appear on your timeline, and remove them if necessary.
This option is located in the main Settings and under the Timeline and Tagging option, under the option “Review posts friends tag you in…” When enabled, anything you’re tagged in does not appear on your timeline until you allow it.
However, it is important to remember that this doesn’t stop the tag from being made. You are still tagged in the post, and as such it may still be available to your friends who already were able to see the post based on its privacy settings.
3. Hide your friends list
With the dramatic rise of Facebook cloning scams, we recommend hiding your friend list so strangers cannot see who you are friends with on Facebook.
Cloning scams are where a criminal will create a new account using your name, profile picture and cover photo. As such, it appears to be a clone of your account. It’s not you but your friends that the criminal is after. If the criminal can see your friends list, they’ll send them friend requests from the cloned account, and if your friends accept (thinking it’s you) they can be potentially tricked into falling for any number of scams.
Of course, if the criminal cannot see your friends list, they won’t be cloning your Facebook account since they won’t know where to send out those requests!
On Facebook for desktop, click Friends underneath your cover photo, select the pencil icon and select Edit Privacy to change this setting.
2. Login Alerts
Login Alerts is a great little feature that will let you know if someone has accessed your account without your permission. Basically, if someone logs into Facebook on an unrecognised device (which basically means a device that hasn’t logged into your Facebook account before) then you’ll get notified, so you can take action if necessary (i.e. if it wasn’t you.)
This option is in the main Settings, under Security. You can have alerts send to either your email or phone through SMS.
1. Settings for Facebook Apps
More and more Facebook users are regularly engaging with a variety of Facebook apps, many of which are those ‘entertaining’ apps that will tell you your ‘soul mate’, for example.
But do you trust these apps and do you want their developers to continually be able to access the information you post onto your account? Probably not!
It is important to regularly review what apps you have installed on your account and what they have access to. You can do this by going to your main Settings and selecting Apps. From there you can see a list of all the apps you have installed, and clicking on each app will let you know what information about you they can access. Don’t trust one? Or don’t remember installing it? Get rid of it!
Remember, you can read our ultimate guide to locking down your Facebook account here.