Facebook Privacy Settings Explained

I don’t know about you but Facebook updated their privacy settings earlier this year after undergoing some heat about people’s photos being all over the internet. (One girl’s dead mom showed up in a Facebook ad).

But the settings are a bit confusing and need to be deciphered. Why? Because some questions read like you should say yes, but really say no, comparable to Proposition ballots at the voting polls.

This is a long post. But here are a few things you need to know:
1. How to edit your privacy settings

Log into Facebook . In the upper right corner it will say Home, Profile and Account. Click on Account to edit the settings I detail below.

2. How to change your info from when you originally signed up.

Log into Facebook. In the upper right corner you will see Home, Profile and Account. Click on Profile.

Now let’s start with the Privacy Settings. There are multiple areas you need to fill out. This is worse than doing your taxes.

  • Profile
  • Contact
  • Applications and Websites
  • Search
  • Block List

Let’s dissect:

Privacy Settings

  1. Profile – controls who can see your profile and who can post to your wall
    1. About Merefers to the About Me description in your profile
    2. Personal info – refers to what you listed as your interests, activities, favorites when setting up your profile.
    3. Birthday – will show your birth date and year (if you filled out the year part, but know that it’s optional and you can just fill out the month and day)
    4. Religious and Political views – refers to what you filled out in this section. It is beyond my comprehension why anyone would fill this out. But if you do, probably best to either limit it to just your friends or customize it.
    5. Family and relationship – refers to what you entered in Family Members, Relationship Status, Interested In, and Looking For fields when setting up your profile.
    6. Education and work – refers to what you filled out under the Schools, Colleges and Workplaces fields when you set up your account.
    7. Photos and videos of me – – refers to Photos and Videos you’ve been tagged in. Now when you are tagged you can go to the pic or video and Untag yourself. Once you do that you can’t be tagged again in that photo or video.
    8. Photo albums – you need to edit each album as you put it up. You need to click on Customize so that you can determine if you want only you, some friends (people you specify), friends of friends, everyone (default). Otherwise it defaults to Everyone (aka. Millions of Facebook users)
    9. Posts by  me – refers to who sees your  Status Updates, Links, Notes, Photos, and Videos you post. again, probably best to limit to just friends or specific people.
    10. Allow friends to post to my wall – check the box if you want to allow your friends to post to your wall. Leave it unchecked if you don’t want anyone to be able to post to your wall.
    11. Posts by my friends – sets who can see your status updates, links, notes, photos, and videos you post. Strongly suggest you set this to the same as Posts by Me above.
    12. Comments on Posts – controls  who can comment on posts you create. Again, suggestion is to set this to whatever you have Post by my Friends set to above.
  2. Contact – controls who can contact you on Facebook, see your contact info and email
    1. IM Screen Name – refers to what you listed in your profile when you set up your account.
    2. Mobile Phone – refers to what you listed in your profile when you set up your account.
    3. Other Phone – refers to what you listed in your profile when you set up your account.
    4. Current Address – refers to what you listed in your profile when you set up your account.
    5. Website – refers to what you listed in your profile information
    6. Hometown – refers to what you listed in your profile information
    7. Add me as a Friend – controls who can add you as a friend from search results for your name and from your profile. This can only be set to Everyone or Friends of Friends.
    8. Send me a message – this controls who can send you a message from search results and from your profile. Do you want everyone on the internet who does a search for you be able to send you a message via Facebook? Probably not. Suggestion is to set this to only friends.
    9. Your email address (physically listed) – Suggest to list it to only your friends or Customize so that only you can see it. Because honestly, if you only friend people you know then they probably already have your email address.
  3. Applications and Websites – controls what information is available to Facebook-enhanced applications and websites.
    1. What you share – Applications you use will access your Facebook information in order for them to work. For example, a review application uses your location in order to surface restaurant recommendations.When you visit a Facebook-enhanced application or website, it may access any information you have made visible to Everyone (Edit Profile Privacy) as well as your publicly available information. This includes your Name, Profile Picture, Gender, Current City, Networks, Friend List, and Pages. The application will request your permission to access any additional information it needs.

      At the bottom below the image, you will see a note that says:
      ”You can view the full list of Applications you have authorized on this page.” This page is hyperlinked and when you click on it you will see the list of all of the applications you have said Yes to and you can edit your settings there.

      An example:
      Causes – When you click Edit Settings there are a few things that appear such as whether or not you have a box on your FB page or a tab at the top (where it says Wall, Info, etc). It also lists Info section – this is listed under the Info tab on your home page. If you want people to see it there, great, if not, remove it. And finally, there is a privacy setting here where it controls the visibility of, for example, the Causes’s Box or Tab on your Profile. You can limit it to Friends, Everyone, Friends of Friends, Only Me or Customize.

    2. What your friends can share about youOMG! This is a nightmare and a MUST edit. Suggestion is to uncheck everything. But entirely up to you.When your friend visits a Facebook-enhanced application or website, they may want to share certain information to make the experience more social. For example, a greeting card application may use your birthday information to prompt your friend to send a card. If your friend uses an application that you do not use, you can control what types of information the application can access. Please note that applications will always be able to access your publicly available information (Name, Profile Picture, Gender, Current City, Networks, Friend List, and Pages) and information that is visible to Everyone.

i. Personal info (activities, interests, etc.)

ii. Status updates

iii. Online presence

iv. Website

v. Family and relationship

vi. Education and work

vii. My videos

viii. My links

ix. My notes

x. My photos

xi. Photos and videos of me

xii. About me

xiii. My birthday

xiv. My hometown

xv. My religious and political views

    1. Blocked  Applications – is exactly how it sounds. It’s a listing of applications that you have blocked and it allows you to unblock if you want. But you cannot block applications from here.
    2. Ignore Application Invites – Ignore application invites from specific friends
    3. Activity on Applications and Games Dashboards – controls who can see your activity in the Friends’ Recent Activity, Friends’ Applications and Friends’ Games sections of these pages.

4. Search – who can see your search result on Facebook and in search engines

    1. Facebook search results – limits who can see your search result on Facebook. Your choices are Friends of Friends, Everyone, Only Friends.
    2. Public Search ResultsThis setting only allows search engines to access your publicly available information and any information you set to Everyone. This does not include anything you’ve shared with just your friends or friends of friends. Suggestion is to uncheck ‘Allow’. Think about it, only people you don’t know would look for you on an internet search engine.

5. Block List – who can interact with you on Facebook

    1. The place where you can create a blocked list of people you do not want interacting with you on Facebook. Note that blocking someone may not prevent all communications and interactions in applications, and does not extend to elsewhere on the Internet.
    1. IM Screen Name – refers to what you listed in your profile when you set up your account.
    2. Mobile Phone – refers to what you listed in your profile when you set up your account.
    3. Other Phone – refers to what you listed in your profile when you set up your account.
    4. Current Address – refers to what you listed in your profile when you set up your account.
    5. Website – refers to what you listed in your profile information
    6. Hometown – refers to what you listed in your profile information
    7. Add me as a Friend – controls who can add you as a friend from search results for your name and from your profile. This can only be set to Everyone or Friends of Friends.
    8. Send me a message – this controls who can send you a message from search results and from your profile. Do you want everyone on the internet who does a search for you be able to send you a message via Facebook? Probably not. Suggestion is to set this to only friends.
    9. Your email address (physically listed) – Suggest to list it to only your friends or Customize so that only you can see it. Because honestly, if you only friend people you know then they probably already have your email address.
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