As Facebook continues to grow their massive 750 million active user empire, many of said users are unaware that Facebook actually has a very extensive and, at times, quite confusing, process to customize your privacy settings.
One of the biggest issues seen by users is that many of the privacy settings change with little to no warning, leaving you even worse off than you were before you finally figured out the previous settings. With more than 170 privacy options to choose from, where do you begin?
We’ve put together a list of the top 10 privacy settings for Facebook to help you protect your information and enjoy a safe browsing experience.
1. Enable HTTPS browsing
Account > Account Settings > Account Security > Secure Browsing (HTTPS)
Facebook has now added the option of accessing the site using a HTTP Secure (HTTPS) connection which greatly increases security for users.
2. Sharing on Facebook
Account > Privacy Settings > Sharing on Facebook
When you share information on Facebook, it is essential that you are aware of what you are sharing and with whom. Facebook has made this process a bit less painstaking by allowing you to share content with Everyone, Friends of Friends, or Friends only.
3. Checking in on Facebook
Account > Privacy Settings > Sharing on Facebook > Customize Settings > Friends can check me in to Places
Facebook Places is a newer feature on Facebook that allows users to check in via mobile devices in physical locations. This setting under sharing generally goes unnoticed and can be very frustrating for users. If you do not want your friends to check you into places and let everyone in the world know where you are and what you are doing, then make sure to disable this function.
4. Existing Photos and Albums
Account > Privacy Settings > Sharing on Facebook > Customize Settings > Edit album privacy for existing photos
Make sure you go back through your old photo albums and apply these settings to your existing photos. This can be done individually or by album.
5. Connecting on Facebook
Account > Privacy Settings > Connecting on Facebook
The privacy settings for sharing content on Facebook are different from the settings for connecting on Facebook. This information includes: profile picture, gender, age, education, hometown, etc. If you wan to customize your settings to determine who can see what information about you, this is the place to do it.
6. Apps, Games, and Websites
Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites > Apps You Use
This is one of the privacy settings that can be a bit more effort to set up, as many users have collected dozens of apps and each of them have their own individual privacy settings. A general rule of thumb is if you can’t remember what the app is, you probably don’t need it!
7. Instant Personalization
Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites > Instant Personalization
Instant Personalization allows third-party websites to personalize your experience based on your personal data. This can make for a more interesting browsing experience, but be aware that you are allowing access to your personal data.
You can choose to opt-out of Instant Personalization on individual third-party websites by just clicking “No Thanks” when asked about it. Facebook also allows you to completely disable it by leaving the check box before “Enable instant personalization on partner websites” unchecked.
8. Info accessible through your friends
Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites > Info accessible through your friends
Many users are unaware, but this is a privacy setting that users should take note of. Even if you have all of your privacy settings safe and secure, you still are sharing a portion of your content with other users, even if it is with some of your closest friends. This is where the issue arises that if THEIR security and privacy settings are not customized, they could be sharing YOUR information with third party websites. This setting allows you to set exactly what information is available to apps and websites if your friends use them.
9. Public Search
Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites > Public Search
Search engines like Google and Bing will show results of your public profile when someone searches your name. If you don’t want to share this information, make sure you turn this option off.
10. Friend Lists
Friends > Edit Friends > Create a List
The average Facebook user has 130 friends and is connected to more than 80 pages and groups. Most people don’t want to share ALL of their information with everyone, so Facebook has made it a bit easier to determine what you share and with who.