Check your Facebook privacy – now

You’re probably one of the 1.1 billion people who uses Facebook. (And if you’re reading this on our cross-feed to our Facebook page, then you definitely are!) It’s a great service. People love to knock it and say how terrible it is, but it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, find out what’s going on, and find all sorts of interesting things. And let’s admit it – a quick look at someone’s holiday pics on Facebook is a lot more pleasant than going over there and sitting patiently while they drag out endless photos for you to smile politely at.

Image: Sean MacEntee. Used under Creative Commons

But do you know who’s reading what you’re putting on Facebook?  Is it just your friends, or can their friends see it too?  Your boss? Your co-workers? Your ex? Your kids? Hackers? Stalkers? Or maybe the whole world? Are you comfortable with that? 28% of people regularly share their posts with complete strangers.

We’ve rounded up some useful info that will help you make sure your Facebook privacy settings are working the way you need them.

  • A Guide to Facebook’s Privacy Options: this graphic from the Wall Street Journal shows you the privacy settings and what they all mean.
  • The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy: Lifehacker has a detailed guide on what you need to do to make sure everything’s locked down the way you want it. It’s a bit long, which should warn you there are probably more different things you have to check than you realized. But there’s plenty of detail, which makes it easy to follow.
  • It’s Time to Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings: this piece in PC Magazine emphasizes two things. First, Facebook keep changing their privacy settings, so you have to keep checking and tweaking them. You can’t just do it once and forget about it. Secondly, it’s not just your posts you have to worry about. Those Facebook apps? They can share information about you. And all those sites you logged into with your Facebook ID? Them too.
  • Ever Seen Your Facebook Privacy Settings? 13 Million People Haven’t: this headline from Parade isn’t as scary as it looks. 13 million is a big number, but it’s only about 9% of American Facebook users. In other words, 91% of people are aware of their privacy settings. However, don’t be one of those 13 million. The article has ten top tips that are worth knowing.
  • Facebook Graph App: the always reliable Snopes demolishes some myths about what the new “Graph App” feature on Facebook will and won’t do. There’s a post floating around that tells you what to do to secure your privacy, but, like many of these things, it’s full of misinformation. They explain why the things suggested in that post don’t work and list some alternative solutions that do.
  • Facebook Privacy Notice: don’t be fooled into thinking that you can simply post a notice on your site and this will prevent Facebook sharing your data. Snopes exposes this hoax. It doesn’t work, and it has no legal standing, so don’t do it and don’t spread it around.
  • App Advisor: this handy tool rates Facebook apps for their security and will tell you which ones are sharing information without permission.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to privacy. It’s a personal choice. Some people are perfectly comfortable sharing everything. Some aren’t. What matters is that you know what your options are, and it’s your responsibility to know what you’re sharing and with whom.

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