How to Set Facebook Privacy Settings Guide
Every few months it makes sense to visit and possibly adjust your Facebook privacy settings. Social media channels, websites, service providers, and other online entities can change their terms of service at any time. For example, there may be people you no longer want to see your posts, but they still have access to them. Certain privacy settings allow anyone to see everything you post on Facebook. There is another setting to allow only friends of friends-of-friends see what you post. It’s also important to understand which posts are affected by changes to your privacy settings.
Part of a privacy setting checkup should include a review of what apps have access to a Facebook account. Many news sites require readers to log in with a social channel in order to leave a comment. Power users (like me) that post to multiple social channels daily, use productivity apps. Others play games on Facebook. For the comments, apps, and games to work, they require access to Facebook. These users have granted access – maybe unknowingly – to their Facebook accounts which may involve granting an app access to their contacts and photos!
In case you didn’t know it, Facebook itself is scraping data from your activity and selling access to that information on its advertising platform.
Checking on your Facebook privacy settings only takes a few minutes when you know where to look!
How can I adjust my privacy settings?
- Click at the top right of your Facebook profile
- Choose Settings
- Choose Privacy from the left menu
- Alternatively, go to this URL in a browser https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy
- Determine which Facebook privacy settings you want to change. Who can see my stuff? Who can contact me? And Who can look me up? Are all options
I prefer to limit how can see my posts to friends only. I also restrict those who can send me friend requests to “friends of friends.” However, on LinkedIn, because it is B2B, I don’t limit who can send connections and messages. Facebook is different. It’s not a business channel, so I like to keep my information private. But wait! There’s more!
Go back to your Facebook profile. Go to your page, and choose “edit profile” at the top. This button is in the same area where you would change your cover image. Choose “edit profile.”
There is other information here you should consider removing or at least making it private. Consider removing your hometown, birthdate, schooling, places you’ve lived. Yes, this makes it harder for connections to find you. However, this is a goldmine of information for hackers looking for a social engineering attack. Social engineering is the use of simple, easy to access data about a person, to eventually get to the more useful information. Ultimately the goal is to hack into something – an email account or banking accounts. The hacker starts with low-level information, like your hometown, and eventually gets to an email account, that is hopefully used to reset a password to a bank account. From there transferring money away from the unsuspecting victim is simple.
Make it a habit to check your Facebook privacy settings as well as your other social networks every two or three months. Also, be sure to change passwords often as well. Although we’ve come to accept that there will be erroneous charges on your bank statements at least once every year, we don’t have to make it easy for hackers to get at the information!
Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers