Last week, a poll said that as many as 70% of Facebook users expressed concerned about privacy. In response, several sites published worthwhile lists about Facebook’s privacy settings.
Mashable offered “Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know”. All Facebook answered with “The 10 Facebook Privacy Settings You Need To Know”. Then NetworkWorld focused on “Facebook Privacy: 4 Valuable Yet Hard to Find Settings”.
All of these posts are quite useful. They all focus on Facebook Places, Instant Personalization and the secure browsing setting Facebook recently enabled. Some of these features are only available to people in the US and the UK. Yet of these features are far less important if you become a master of Facebook’s most crucial privacy feature.
What is this one feature that you can use properly and make all the other privacy settings irrelevant?
You guessed it: the “Share” button.
That’s right, if you don’t share things you that might embarrass or harm you if the wrong people see them, you won’t have to worry about your privacy on Facebook.
No matter what your settings are, you cannot stop someone from sharing something you’ve posted. A judge in the US recently ruled that once a photo gets posted, it’s free to be shared no matter what your privacy settings are.
Of course, you can master the privacy settings. You can limit your friends list to those you truly trust. You can even decide on a case by case basis who you want to see your posts.
But you still have to recognize the public nature of sharing on Facebook. That’s why I stick to emailing the information and media I don’t want to share with the world.
Facebook’s privacy features are complex and—when it comes to apps,Instant Personalization and photo tagging in particular—questionable. But Mark Zuckerberg and his 650 million friends can’t force you publish anything you don’t want to publish.
So if you truly want to protect your privacy, use that “Share” button very carefully.
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