Facebook: It gobbles up tons of your time ... but you just can't quit it. It's also gotten so complicated in terms of what and how to share info. Phew. Do you even know how private your FB account is anymore? Could personal information be leaking out without your knowledge
? Here are three top strategies for safeguarding your privacy:
1. Create Friends lists
and use them to customize access to your profile. Go to your Friends page then, under Lists, click on Friends and start sorting. Lists keep co-workers and casual acquaintances from hearing all about your wild spring break party or close-friends-only baby shower -- without hurting anyone's feelings. Good to know, right?
2. Restrict access by other FB users. Your default settings probably allow other users (people you have not "friended") to view parts or all of your profile, photos and status updates. A quick tweak of your privacy settings fixes that, however. Go to Settings, then Privacy Profile, then alter all the drop-down boxes to "Only Friends."
A quick note about tagged photos: now that you've changed your profile access to "Only Friends" others cannot view your
photos of yourself. But they can
view photos of you that someone else has posted and tagged with your name. Don't like this? The solution is to remove each photo tag
every time a new one appears bearing your name.
3. Limit Google's reach. Chances are anyone can find your FB page with a quick Google search. Does that make you uncomfortable? If so, a few clicks will remedy the problem. Just go to Settings, then Privacy Settings, then Search and uncheck the box marked "Create a public search listing for me."
Still flummoxed? There are tons of resources out there to help you with your Facebook concerns. Weirdly (and very frustratingly), Facebook itself has never been at the top of that list. Instead, head to an outside source like All Facebook
or other reputable tech blogs for advice.
The old-fashioned printed page continues to be helpful, too. Check out Facebook Me!
, Facebook for Dummies
and Facebook: The Missing Manual
for starters. Although Facebook is changing so fast your book will become outdated rather quickly, books remain a good option for the technologically-challenged who want a crash course in social networking.
Finally, if you've decided FB is not for you, be aware other users have found it difficult to erase personal information from the system. Never fear. For one thing, the process has gotten easier of late. For another, the FB group called "How to permanently delete your facebook account" can steer you in the right direction if you need help.