Monday, January 20, 2014

Facebook Privacy Settings

Many Facebook users just go online and set up their personal pages. Most of the time, the average user doesn't give much thought to privacy in general. I thought I would educate social media users about a few privacy issues and some cautionary thoughts.

Vital Statistics--yes, Facebook asks for your birthday with the intent to share that information and let people know when to regale you with happy-birthday wishes. Here is the rub -- identity theft. Thieves can slowly gather enough of your vital information to pull together enough data to steal your identity. What you can do is alter your birthday enough so that they can't get a hold of it or don't provide the data at all. The sniff, sniff downside is no birthday wishes on your special event. You might put the actual date wrong and get Happy Un-Birthday wishes if you need to feed your need for acknowledgement.

Privacy Settings--you can lock down certain pieces of information two ways. When you set the About information, use the pull-down menu to "lock" or make "public" information about, for example, your relationship status. You can also go to the right-hand corner and pull down the general Privacy settings. Some little known information: you can make your Wall viewable only to the "public" or "friends" or just yourself. What most people don't know is that if you make your wall viewable only to friends, your actual connections can see all of your pictures and the public can only see up the date you made it exclusive to friends. Current posts and pictures are no longer viewable to the public. The public will only see your updated banner picture and profile pictures. If you make your wall "public" then everyone can see all current pictures and posts, but they cannot like or comment on anything.

The difference between "un-friending" and "blocking"--if you decide someone is getting on your nerves or doing something you don't like, you can un-friend or block. What is the difference? If you un-friend they can still see your Wall, and it depends on your privacy settings what they will be able to see on your wall. Remember, public allows everyone to see everything and not comment; friends only allows people to see everything up the point that you changed your settings. Blocking though is the ultimate you-can't-see-or-find-me. When you block someone even if that person tries to search for your page they will not be able to find you or the page. It will be as if you are not on Facebook at all. I consider blocking the ultimate "slap-down" for someone who is somehow bothering you. I personally think that "un-friending" is enough. They can't comment or see any new photos. Blocking (to me) is an extreme action to erase that person from your purview.

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