Facebook is undoubtedly one of the most popular social networking sites in the world wide web today. Millions of people log in everyday and share their thoughts, feelings and moments of their daily lives in this site.
However, if there is one thing anybody and everybody on the net knows, it’s that, the web can be a pretty unsavory and dangerous place. People across the world are waking up to the dangers of cybercrime.
This is all the more important when we take into account that Facebook is a site which is based on the concept of people sharing their information online. That is why Facebook has a lot of security and privacy options built into it.
How Secure is Facebook?
Facebook strives to keep the information shared by its users as secure as possible. To that end, they have built in a lot of security options to help a user attain his or her privacy needs. The various privacy settings on Facebook ensure that each piece of the user’s content is shared with only the people he or she wants.
The Privacy Settings Explained
There are a number of privacy settings and options for the user to customize in Facebook. The numerous Facebook privacy settings can cause headaches if one is not acquainted with them.
These settings can be accessed through the gear icon at the top bar of Facebook. The options have been broken down into ten points for easy comprehension.
#1 Search Engines
Facebook allows people to search for you via Facebook and through other search engines like Google. There is an option on the privacy page of settings which can be used to disable people searching for you through search engines.
It is possible for people to get an overview of the timeline of a person by searching for him or her on, say, Google. The overview will be shown even if the person searching is not on Facebook.
Preventing search engines from accessing the timeline is easy. In the section titled ‘Who can look me up’, the option for search engines can be turned off.
#2 Instant Personalization
Data mining is a serious concern for many. Numerous reports have documented the practice of websites gathering data about visitors without their knowledge. Data mining can be used for nefarious activities by unscrupulous people around the world or it can be used in much harmless acts.
Facebook is also into data mining. It allows a number of websites to gather data from a user’s profile so that those sites can showcase specialized data meant for the user. In other words, when the user visits those sites, the sites will highlight those items which will interest the user.
The sites know the likes and dislikes of the user automatically from the user’s profile in Facebook. In the security page, there is an option called apps and websites. There, a sub-heading called instant personalization can be found. By clicking edit, one can turn off the feature.
Not every thought that is posted on Facebook is meant for the world. Before posting any status, one can select the group of people who can view it.
There is a bunch of groups like everyone, friends only and so on. The names of the friend lists are also shown. This can help in limiting the audience of your posts.
#4 Friend Lists
Friend Lists are quite important in the realm of Facebook. By categorizing your friends into different lists, it becomes much easier to handle the privacy of yout profile. The good thing is that one person can be included in two different lists.
Therefore someone can be in your school friend list and your colleague list. The lists can be used to restrict the audience of posts, mentioned earlier, and photos among other things. There is an option for creating and managing lists in the left pane on the Facebook page.
This is similar to the entry on posts but with a difference. A particular photo can be shared with the people you want. This can be changed by the audience selection option while uploading and is similar to posting statuses.
Then there are albums which are used to categorize images. These albums have a gear icon on them through which the audience can be selected.
#6 Different privacy settings
When you post or comment on somebody else’s timeline or post, then your privacy settings do not matter. That somebody’s settings will determine who will view it. So, it is best not to go around posting things on others’ timelines which you may have cause for regret later.
Tagging is one of the niftier features of Facebook. Any photo or post can be tagged with friends for sharing. This is all very good but what if it is a status you would not rather be associated with? Facebook, by default, notifies you if you get tagged.
There is also an option called Tagging in the settings page. There you can select if you would like to review the post before you are tagged. There a few other tagging options there which can better your privacy.
In the settings page, there is the option of Timeline. Here you can select the people who are allowed to view and post on your timeline. This is important as, by default, anybody can read posts on your timeline without you knowing.
There are many cases where people have posted something inappropriate somewhere but couldn’t delete it because they have forgotten where it was posted. That is why Facebook has created the Activity log which can be accessed via the privacy option in the settings page. There you can review all your recent activity and delete some if necessary.
#10 Personal Information
Every new Facebook user needs to enter some personal information which can be viewed by the public. The information can be edited later by clicking the username on the top bar of Facebook and then navigating to the About tab. There you can also select what and how much of your personal information is visible and to whom.
Facebook privacy settings: Last words
Facebook can be a great place but privacy is important. Anybody can go to Facebook login and search you out. Privacy on the internet is rarely found and easily destroyed.
The Facebook privacy settings offer some modicum of security but the user must utilize them efficiently. All the Facebook Privacy Settings will mean naught if the user deliberately leaves his account unprotected by not using those settings to his advantage.