How To Deal With Annoying Friends
All these privacy functions are great for protecting your personal information and remaining professional, but what they're really good for is dealing with your more annoying Facebook friends--you know, those people you don't want to defriend or block, but whose two dozen daily comments you don't want to have to see.
Subject #1: The Annoying Acquaintance From High School
You ran into the guy you sat next to in sophomore English at a class reunion; he added you on Facebook, and interpreted the friend request as a license to continue chattering just as you did in class--on every single item you ever post.
The solution: Next time you post an item on your feed, click the lock and select the Customize menu item. In the "Hide this from" box, type out his name, check the box that says Make this my default setting, and click Save settings. Congratulations--you're now dead to him on Facebook (but still friends).
Subject #2: Your Inappropriate Buddy
Your friend is a great guy, really, but he loves nothing more than to saturate your Wall with stuff you don't want your boss to see.
The solution: You could remove the ability for your friends to post items to your wall, but that's a little drastic. Instead, from your Wall, go to Filter > Settings > Who can see your friend's Wall posts, and specify the users you don't want to know about his existence.
Even better, make a Friend List from the Friends page devoted to the people you want to keep this kind of thing away from (you might already have a Limited Profile list), so you don't have to retype their names each time you find something else you don't want them to see.
Subject #3: Your Opinionated Colleague
You have a colleague who is convinced that he knows better about everything, and he's not afraid to let you know that.
The solution: You could use the same settings that you did for subject #1 and disappear from Facebook, but you don't want to let him think he won. Instead, go to the settings menu from the toolbar at the top of the page, click Privacy Settings, and go to Profile Information.
At the very bottom is the Comments on Posts item: Click on the menu, pick Custom, and add him to the Hide This From menu to prevent him from commenting--but not from reading. (At this writing, a page rendering bug prevents the Custom menu item from showing fully, so you have to bring the menu up and click the mouse button right underneath the Only Friends option.)
Add your own Facebook privacy tips (or hilarious disasters) in the comments. Also, check out Five Facebook Schemes That Threaten Your Privacy and Why Privacy Concerns Are Ruining Facebook for more Facebook coverage.
Patrick Miller is a staff editor for PC World. Find him off-duty @pattheflip.