I am dead serious, this post will show you how to lock down your profile and re-take your social network and remove your information and posts from the open Internet for all to see. Just because you have a tight friend circle doesn't mean everything you are posting isn't visible by every single person with an Internet connection.
Knowledge is power. Learn what you are using and train yourself on how to keep it under control. Facebook does not have your privacy in their best interest. They are an advertising company now, not a social networking site anymore, their business is making money. How do they do that? Get your information as public as possible so advertisers can better target ads that you will click on and buy from.
Account Settings Menu
Account Settings > Security
The Security features have to do with how you access Facebook and not with your posts. Let's run down each setting.
- Secure Browsing should be enabled.
- Login Notifications should be enabled. This will send you an email when your account is accessed from a new device. That way if someone else is accessing your profile, say an ex-girlfriend, you will know about it.
- Login Approvals this should be required. I use this and what this will do is when you access Facebook from a new device you will be send a Text message with a code you will use as verifications. So when that Ex-girlfriend tries to access your account you will get a text message with the code not her. Very good security and prevents anyone new from getting at your profile.
- App Passwords these are similar to the login approvals except for when you access an App.
- Recognized Devices this is the list of all the devices, apps, browsers you have as trusted. If you use one of these recognized devices you will not get a security code texted to you. If you want to remove a device go in here and take it out. I believe there is a limit of 100 devices.
- Active Sessions this will tell you all the places you have actively connected to Facebook. Again to track anyone not authorized connected to your profile. You can remove those sessions and kick people out.
Account Settings > Privacy
The Privacy settings is where we start locking down your profile from the world to see. If you want to keep your posting private amongst your Friends only the settings are pretty simple to set. If you are wide open and want the world to see everything then you are on your own. I am an advocate of Social Networks being between you and your social circles. If you want a wide open window into your life then start a blog, a Fan Page or anything but Facebook personal profiles because some day in the future it will come back to bite you in the butt.
- Who can see my stuff?
- Future Posts - Friends
- Review things you are tagged in - This feature will bring up everything other people have tagged you in. Tagging is a pain in the butt because anyone can tag you in anything. Later we will lock that down as well but review what's out there. The drunk picture may not be on your profile but if someone else tagged you and their profile is open, people will find it even though your profile is locked.
- Limit Past Posts - If you are serious about locking down your profile I recommend do this. This will take all your old posts back to the start of your profile and make them ALL Friends Only. If you have something you shared to the world years ago this will make it Friends only.
- Who Can Contact Me? This sets who can send you a private Facebook Message. I have mine set to Friends of Friends because this is no different than email in my mind.
- Who Can Look Me Up?
- Look me up by email? People can search for you by your email or phone number. I recommend this being Friends or Friends of Friends.
- Look up your Timeline? This should be Friends. Your Timeline is your info. Keep it private.
- Search Engines This one goes to show you that Facebook wants your data out there. Shut this off.
This section lays out who can post to your timeline and who can tag you in photos.
- Who can add things to my timeline?
- Who can post? This should be limited to your Friends.
- Review posts when you are tagged - This should be turned ON. Then if people tag you, you are alerted and need to approve the Tag before others can see it.
- Who can see things on my timeline?
- Review what other people can see - This feature is HUGE!!! This allows you to see what your profile looks like as a Public user on the Internet. So to check all your settings use this to make sure it's the way you want it. This is how you ensure your public facing information is visible or hidden.
- Who can see posts you've been tagged in on your timeline? This is the other way to limit what other tag you in can be seen or not seen. Otherwise leave it on Friends.
- Who can see what others post on your timeline? Again if you have co-workers, your boss, teachers as "Friends" limit this to just you to prevent the random wild picture from being seen by all if another Friend posts it on your timeline (if you allow them to anyway).
- Manage Tags
- Review tags before they show up in Facebook - This should be On. You need to verify the Tag before it's posted.
- What do you want to add to the Audience - To be honest I am not sure what this means, I locked it down to only Me.
- Who sees suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded? - This is Facebook's face recognition system. I have this set to No One. Shut it off.
Access Controls > Blocking
Blocking is a little overkill and ironic if you have your privacy settings correct up top. The real benefit here is apps and annoying invites.
- Restricted List - This is where you add your Friends and they can only see things that you make Public. So really it's the same as not having them on your Friends list. It asks the questions, what is a Friend then?
- Block Users - This disallows a person from being your Friend ever or interacting with you on Facebook. Within Apps is not covered by this since the apps are not technically Facebook services.
- Block App Invites - Have a friend who is addicted to games that require invites to play? Block all app invites from that person here. This is just app invites, not the person themselves.
- Block event invites - Same idea as apps except it's events.
- Block Apps - Have an app or two that is a spam bot, annoying or you hate it. Block the app forever.
Account Settings > Apps
I am going to jump down to the Apps option but I want to make a note of the 3 other links I skipped for pictures.
- Notifications Link - This sets up emails and alerts when Facebook does certain things, when people post on your timeline or message you, or when and app notifies you.
- Mobile Link - This is where you setup your cell phone number to get the security code texted to you.
- Followers Link - If you want people to follow you but not be in your Friends list, enable Followers. These people will only see public posts and you can keep messages to Friends private.
- Apps you see - This one is VERY important. Because some apps by default will post things Publicly. So you may think your clever Pinterest jokes are only seen by Facebook Friends, in reality they are public to the world under your profile. In this section turn ALL apps to Friends only.
- Apps others use - This is an information sharing feature. I have all the checkboxes within turned off (not checked), but apps require some information to be accessed. In combination with the other security settings they will not be full public.
- Instant Personalization- Turn this OFF.
- Old versions of Facebook for mobile - The switch to the new Facebook timeline made older mobile apps obsolete. So this changes the privacy on those old posts. I set this to Friends.
- Third Party Sites - Pay attention to this one. This is a sneaky, slimy setting if you ask me. When you edit this you will see the option say If we allow this in the future, show my information to: -> Set this to NO ONE. This basically a backdoor of Facebook to open this to their advertisers and not have to notify you when they do it because of this setting. So right now set it that NO ONE will get your information IF (and when) they turn this on.
- Ads & Friends - This too set to NO ONE.
If you want to lock down your account or maybe just go in and see how open your profile truly is go through this post and share it with everyone else that you think should do the same. I post updates as Facebook changes things but right now it's a good time to get control of your social networking information. You don't want to get passed over for a job (or fired), not picked for college, or profiled before a first date because you are posting things that you think are private and in reality they are freely visible from Hometown, USA to Beijing.
End of Line.