Facebook’s privacy settings finally make sense — for a reason

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Give Facebook some credit.

A few years ago, its growth seemed unsustainable. Everyone assumed that some other social network would eventually rise up to replace it as had happened to its precursors Friendster and Myspace. And its privacy controls felt purposely confusing.

Now, with more than a billion active users, the site is still growing. Its biggest competitor is Google+, which is isn’t setting the world on fire yet. And it finally has privacy controls that the average user has some hope of understanding.

Why is Facebook finally offering privacy settings that make sense?

Because they’re about to start using your information in new ways that may make you squirm.

You may have already taken Facebook’s tour of the new settings. If you haven’t, you should then consider these 3 recommendations to take control of your profile.

Find this privacy near the upper right hand corner, click on it and select “See more settings” at the bottom of the menu that pops up.

menu

You’ll see this screen:

privacy settings

1. Use “friends” as a default.
Under “Who can see my stuff?” you’ll see “Who can see my future posts?” Unless you have a good reason, go with “Friends”. This will save you from having to backtrack and change the settings on something you didn’t want to get out. Of course, your friends can still share what you put out — as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi learned — so keep in mind that anything you put on Facebook could end up on the front of a newspaper. Also consider using “Friends” as the setting for “Who can look you up using the email address or phone number you provided? and “Who can look up your timeline by name?”

Facebook is going to be making more and more of your information easily accessible. While it’s smart to consider that anything you post on Facebook could easily made public, you may want to restrict what information strangers can easily browse through.

2.  Do not let other search engines link to your profile.
Unless you use your Facebook profile as a professional tool, you probably don’t want it to be one of the first things people find when they search your name. So we recommend selecting “off” for “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?”

3. Turn of “tag review”.
Next click  on Timeline and Tagging on the left menu.

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 6.31.43 PM

You’ll see this screen:

tag

Most people want to allow friends to post on your wall but if protecting your images is your priority, you may want to make it available only for you. Either way, it’s a good idea to select “friends” for “Who can see what others post on your timeline?” This will prevent strangers or even potential mates or employers happening to catch your page right as a friend posted some hilariously sick image on your timeline.

We recommend you turn on “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” This won’t stop your friends from tagging you in something embarrassing but it will stop it from showing up on your wall if they do.

We definitely recommend you enable “Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?” This so called tag review will keep you from being in ridiculous tagged pictures or posts that show up in search results.

If you don’t want to be tagged much or don’t like the idea of photo recognition, you may want to select “No one” for “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?”

That’s a good start. Next time, we’ll walk through Facebook’s security settings.

Jason

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