Monday, 17 September 2012

Please do yourself a favour

It’s that time of the year (month) again: people post those long status updates about the ‘recent changes to privacy settings on Facebook’. Usually these updates are indeed about some recent changes and sometimes they do contain some useful information. This current flow however makes absolutely no sense to me. First of all, because the changes are at least one year old (they were the inspiration for this post). Second, because they have nothing to do with the reality. I don’t want to rant here, but rather share my knowledge of the subject as I do not find it difficult at all and thus maybe can help other people to find their way to a more ‘private’ Facebook existence.

"Because of some changes that Facebook made, everybody can see our activities on your and my wall." Wrong! You have the control of who can see what on your wall.

"It happens when a Facebook friend of you or me likes or comments on our posts. Automatically all his/her friends will see the post, likes and comments." Again, whether or not friends of friends can see that depends on your own settings.

"I can’t change this settings due to restrictions of Facebook." Honestly, I don’t know what restrictions people are talking about. But you CAN actually change the settings. For that go to your Privacy Settings and choose Custom. Then Edit settings for each option available. If you do not want friends of friends to see your posts, you simply do not choose that option. You can restrict your posts to your friends, a custom made subgroup (an extremely useful feature imho) or to yourself only. You can even exclude certain people from seeing what everyone else is allowed to see. Oh, and don’t forget to uncheck the box Allow subscribers under Account settings. How much further do you want to go?

"But you can do this for me.
- Put your mouse on my name in this post (don’t click when you do that).
- Then put your mouse on Friends (don’t click).
- Go to Settings and click.
- Go to Comments and Likes and click to unmark it."

That people certainly can and should do, but this won’t help you much. This way they only control what they see from you in their Ticker (which they can hide altogether) and their News Feed. It will not help you to become less visible to their friends if your posts are open to Friends of Friends (or the Public). Besides, most of your Facebook friends will probably either miss your status update with this request or be too busy or lazy to actually do all this. But don’t let this stop YOU from doing all of the above because you will have a cleaner and more relevant News Feed as a result.

“When you do this my posts and activities will stay among my Facebook friends and won’t be public to anyone else.” Well, wrong, see all of the above.

There are many ways to make your Facebook account fit your needs in terms of privacy and it’s impossible to describe them all in one post. But please feel free to ask, I’ll be happy to answer any specific questions.

Just one more remark: when we worry about our privacy let’s not forget that Facebook is made for sharing, not for hiding. Use other means for passing your very private messages. Snail mail still works too.

A recent find: Souad Massi - Raoui

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