Can We Really Trust Facebook? The 5 Setting You Should Check Now

Last week was a pretty eventful week for Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. Not only did his company have a multi-billion dollar IPO, but the following day he married his long-time girlfriend.

His friends thought they were coming over to celebrate the company’s IPO but it turned out to be a surprise wedding. I’m always amazed when famous people are able to pull off a wedding without the paparazzi finding out (see Beyoncé and Julia Roberts).

Two of the biggest complaints about Facebook are their constant layout changes and shisty default security settings.

Here are five setting you should check ASAP and update to something you feel more comfortable with.

Default Privacy Settings

Account > Privacy Settings > Control Your Default Privacy

There are three options for controlling who can view your updates (status, photo, place, or life event). There are three options

  1. Public. The viewer doesn’t have to be logged into Facebook to view your status update.
  2. Friends. Only your friends can view your status updates.
  3. Custom. This allows you to restrict viewing based on a customized friend lists you created.

Privacy Settings on a Post-by-Post Basis

If you want to change who can view your status updates on a post-by-post basis, select the appropriate setting before you click the post button.

Apps Settings

Account > Privacy Settings > Ads, Apps and Website > Apps you use

Have you ever clicked on a link to read an interesting article only to be taken to the screen asking for your permission to gain access to your personal information? If granted permission, these apps will create a status update on your timeline showing the article you just viewed.

In the spirit of social networking and sharing, this allows for you and your friends to discover interesting things. In actuality, it might be a little embarrassing for your friends to see that you like reading articles about people missing their pinky toes. Check your app permissions settings and delete any that you don’t recognize or no longer want to have access.

Location Sharing of Photos

Both your cell phones and digital cameras typically enabled tagging photos that are taken with GPS coordinates (a process called geotagging). In theory this is great, but should you post geotagged pictures to your Facebook profile, that data could potentially compromise your safety. This article provides a great summary of how you should handle geotagging and tips to protect yourself.

Protect Yourself From Your Lax Friends

Account > Privacy Settings > Ads, Apps and Websites > How people bring your info to apps they use

An interesting setting that I wasn’t even aware of is related to what personal information is shared with apps that your friends use that you may not have given app access to. As puts it, “what you share with them [your friends] doesn’t necessarily end with them, especially if their privacy settings are lax. In the end, your friends might be sharing your info with third-party services, which is precisely what you want to avoid. “

Update this setting, to protect yourself from apps that your freely-app-permission-giving friends have granted access to.

Final Words

Ignorance or indifference is definitely not bliss. Take a few minutes to review your security settings on Facebook. If you’re not sure what type of security setting to select, default to no access.

So what has been the most embarrassing or funniest status update that you’ve seen on Facebook?