For many, it’s a daily ritual. Wake up, grab a cup of coffee, scan the news, scan your Facebook newsfeed. Facebook has become the ultimate tool for staying in touch with friends, keeping tabs on long-lost acquaintances, and yes, the occasional shameless stalking of a secret crush.
Recently, Facebook has implemented a series of changes to their photo, friend and wall features that will affect your privacy control settings. One of the biggest buzz topics that has grabbed the attention of national media is the new Timeline, which will allow you and your friends to search every wall post and photo tag since the day you signed up for Facebook. Yes, that means even more extensive tools for stalking your crush. But, as is life, there’s always a tradeoff. If not reviewed carefully, your visibility to the world wide web may be more extensive than you think, especially in light of the new Timeline.
Overwhelmed by all the adjustments and possible privacy settings? Enter Scambook. In our last Facebook post, we told you how to avoid fake online quizzes, questionable Facebook messages and clickjacking. Now, we’re taking you on a step-by-step review of your profile to ensure that you are only providing the information you intended.
Facebook has tried making the process of tagging your friends in albums a little easier with a facial recognition feature that recommends names of individuals in a photo based on their facial features. Everyone is automatically opted into this feature. This was a big misfire in Germany, when the German government found this feature to violate regulations for data storage.
If this feature gets your lederhosen in a knot, don’t worry, you can opt out. To opt out, click the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of your screen and select “Privacy Settings.” Then choose “Edit Settings” next to “How Tags Work,” and click the link next to “Tag Suggestions” to disable it. While you can’t prevent your friends from manually tagging pictures of you singing karaoke or stuffing your face with late-night pizza, you can block automatic tagging.
New Friend Lists and Your Employer
If you’ve decided not to mix business with pleasure, be on alert for a coworker’s request to add you to their list of coworkers. If you accept the message, Facebook will automatically add your employer to your profile. If you don’t want your profile associated with your employer, you can simply click the “X” to ignore the confirmation. This won’t reject your friend’s placement on the list, it will only reject Facebook from adding your employer information to your profile.
Within the upcoming weeks, every Facebook member will have their profile converted to the Timeline. The Timeline will make every status update, wall post and photo you’ve ever shared easily searchable by all of your friends. To reign in the overwhelming amount of personal information the Timeline provides to those marginal friends who you hardly interact with or those Facebook “frenemies” that you don’t really care for but felt obligated to confirm as your friend, you can edit your privacy settings. Simply click “Limit the audience for past posts” under your Privacy Settings page. This will change all of your public posts to “friends only” posts and only people who you have tagged in your post (and their friends) will be able to see what you have written.
If you use Facebook applications, such as Farmville, you are giving Facebook permission to access information on your profile, putting your privacy at risk. With the new Facebook profile will also come new applications with a default setting that allows your friends to see which applications you are using. If you would like to remove applications, go to “Account Settings,” select “Apps,” and click the “X” next to any of the application to remove them.
Remote Sign Out
Forget to sign out of Facebook? Panicking that all of your personal information is available to the next lucky computer user? The remote sign out option allows you to close your Facebook account from anywhere to protect your privacy. From “Account” choose “Account Settings,” then “Account Security.” Here, you can choose to get notified via SMS or e-mail if a new computer or mobile device logs into your account.
While “Facebook” and “privacy” are not always synonymous, there are plenty of helpful resources out there to keep you in the know. For more tips on protecting your Facebook privacy, check out this website, which provides even more ways to keep your personal information on lockdown. Remember, the amount of information you put about yourself on the Internet is within your control. Learning a few simple privacy settings can help keep you from falling victim to internet scams.
Want to report a Facebook problem? Tell us here on Scambook. Share your experience with us and help others navigate the potential privacy problems on Facebook.