How to Keep Your Privacy Safe(r) on Facebook

That done, you should pay particular attention to the Privacy Settings Applications and Websites page. This page determines what your friends can share about you. I don't know about you, but I want to be the one in charge of my information, not my friends. Here, I un-check everything. Facebook, bless their no privacy little hearts, wants to let my friends share everything about me both to Facebook and to other Web sites. I think not.

Another simple, for once, page you should pay particular attention to is the Instant Personalization Pilot Program. This is Facebook's new toy, which lets Facebook -- excuse me, you -- share your information with third party Web sites. Maybe you feel the need to share everything that's public about you on Facebook with, say, Microsoft via Microsoft Docs, but I'm not so trusting. Just say no and don't allow it access.

The privacy settings let you clean up a lot of the mess, but it doesn't take care of everything. Let's say that you want to get out of some groups like, "IAlwaysGetDrunkonFridays." Facebook doesn't make it easy to just dump all the silly groups from one page. Instead, you need to go to each group and leave them individually. Look for the "Leave Group" link below the group's image on its page and click it. Then, move on to the "IalwaysGetDrunkonSaturdays" page and leave it. You get the idea.

Next, let's get rid of any applications you don't need. Applications are especially bad about sharing your information with people so you should show no mercy in getting rid of them. To do this, head over to Account, select Application Settings, and then use the "Authorized" filter. Do not, do not, think that you can use the Facebook Applications link to do this. That only shows you a small fraction of all the applications you've authorized for access to your account.

If you're like me, you'll be amazed at how many applications you've given leave to raid your account for information. You could edit each application for how much it can show the world about you, but personally, I found myself zapping almost all of them. The Monty Python Gifts app., for instance, was funny once; it's not funny for all time.

Once you've got all this done, you'll be relatively safe on Facebook. Of course, Facebook can throw up another security hairball at any time and, goodness knows, we can always make fools of ourselves with our own efforts, but at least this will keep your information as secure as Facebook will currently allow. Good luck.

Sign up for ITworld's Daily newsletter
Follow ITworld on Twitter @ITworld

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter

Comments