Okay, let’s face it, we’re all pretty tired of facebook changing things and making it hard to keep the things we post private but this last round of changes has really taken the cake. With this new ticker feature scrolling on the side of the screen all the time, I can see things about people I don’t even know about. From my facebook ticker, I can see things like “X commented on Y’s Post on Z’s Wall:” and I only know X. Not a clue who Y and Z are but somehow I’ve been dragged into a conversation between them because X chose to make a comment and facebook’s algorithm thinks I should know it. FYI, I do not care!
Now, I know that this won’t matter a bit in most cases, but there are cases where it could. Maybe I don’t want to know that my Aunt Fanny commented “ooh, love those hot buns” on some woman’s photo of a Chippendale dancer. And I sure don’t want my boss to know that I Liked the candidate his friend is running against in the next election. Ensuring our privacy on facebook can be pretty important. So, how to do it?
First, set your default privacy to Friends. Not friends of friends because you don’t know who they are, do ya?
Go to the upper right corner in facebook, next to your name and the word, Home and click on the arrow. Then Privacy Settings.
Then choose Friends as your default setting. Note the three types of icons for Public, Friends, and Custom. They’ll be important in a minute.
If you choose Custom, you can choose specific groups and people or choose the seemingly innocuous Friends of friends. You think maybe that’s not so bad, right? Friends of friends. But do you know how discerning your facebook friends are in choosing who their friends are? What of the people who have several hundred or even over a thousand friends? Think about it.
Now you’ve done your part. But you can’t control what others do, of course, so you have to take some personal responsibility now when you post comments or “Like” someone’s post, photo, video, or link. So before you make a comment you might not want public or “Like” a photo of your ex-boyfriend’s new tattoo, check the settings on that post, picture, or video. In the bottom right of that post there will be a little icon of people or a globe or a gear. A gear may mean it is set to Friends of friends. Hover your mouse over the icon to see exactly what that post is set at. Is it public? Will it go out to friends of friends? Well, your comment will be too, as far as I know. Now, consider whether you want to make that comment or not. Do you really want your facebook friend’s eighth-grade classmate to see your comment? Think before you post.
There are other things you can do like make lists but I’m just sharing some basic stuff here that I think to be true. It seems everyone has different ideas about this privacy stuff and I don’t think facebook has made it nearly clear enough, nor simple enough, for us to know exactly what each setting does. So tread carefully while I go check out that picture my Aunt Fanny liked.