This post is not related to Game Development or Programming but I find it relevant to spread this. Nonetheless, I hope you find this useful for your online reputation.
Have you ever had a stranger like a picture on your Facebook? Or someone you don’t know suddenly commenting on your status? Or did you know that whenever you get tagged, it shows up on your wall without your permission? But most importantly, do you want to have more control over the privacy of your Facebook profile?
Let’s admit it: Facebook is a great way to stay connected with your friends and families. However, Facebook is a social network with the ambition to connect everyone. Unfortunately, this platform has a default privacy settings that’s not so private. Here’s a step-by-step guide to enhance the confidentiality of your accounts.
Step 1: What is Facebook to you?
The desired privacy settings may differ from one person to another. Some people use Facebook to connect with new people of similar interests. Some use it to keep in touch with their family and friends. Others use it as an alternate news feed by following companies and news sites. Other people use Facebook to keep track of their personal life by tagging people in their photos or places they’ve visited. Your reason for using Facebook could be a combination of the aforementioned, or maybe even more. If you haven’t, I strongly suggest that you find out what Facebook is for you.
I use Facebook to connect with my friends and family. The things I post mix from motivational quotes to geeky tech news to my awkward adjustments studying in a different country. Hence, I want to keep my profile as private as possible while still be reachable by those who know me outside the digital world.
If your purpose is different, not all my recommendations may be applicable. Feel free to adjust it to your needs.
Step 2: Go to Settings
With a purpose in mind, let’s now go to settings.
You can find the settings of your profile by clicking on the small arrow on the upper right corner (red arrow). Select the Settings in the menu (orange arrow).
We will be editing the Privacy and Timeline and Tagging which you can find on the left side.
Step 3: Privacy
Select the Privacy from the left menu.
Here are my recommended Privacy Settings.
Who can see my stuff?
I strongly suggest that you set Who can see your future posts? to Friends. If you’re using Facebook for personal reasons without letting anyone see your posts, then set that to Only Me. This way, your posts cannot be publicly viewed unless you explicitly do so like below.
Clicking on the button, indicated by the orange arrow, you get to make this post public. Understand that this changes your Privacy Settings. Go make another status and set this back to Friends, or whichever, to reset back to your desired Privacy Settings. You don’t have to actually post this other status, just change the audience to change the Privacy Settings.
You may also want to Limit the audience for your posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public? but that’s entirely up to you. Basically, it will just set the privacy of your previous posts. This may take a while though, so you might want to do this as a last step.
Who can contact me?
I suggest that only Friends of Friends can add you. This way, you are guaranteed that you have a mutual friend with the person that wants to add you. My message inbox uses Basic Filtering. I get alerted when I receive messages from my friends, otherwise, I still receive the message but I don’t get alerted. It’s placed in a separate folder called “Other”.
The other option is Strict where only your friends could message you. Others won’t have the option to send a message at all.
Who can look me up?
I’m quite lenient with this section. I allow Everyone to add me either via e-mail or mobile number. It’s not like they can add me anyway unless we have a mutual friend. They can still message me which I’ll eventually read. Though if they really wanted to message me, they could reach me by my website or e-mail, both of which are public.
Step 4: Timeline and Tagging
Here are my recommended settings for Timeline and Tagging.
Who can add things to my timeline?
What if your best buddy posted a drunken picture of you on your wall for all your friends to see? Let’s not even get there. Prevention is better than cure. In my opinion, it is critical to set this to Only Me.
Who can see things on my time line?
The first option here is very useful. Let’s say you want to check out how your wall looks like from the Public or how it’s viewed by your parents. Click this to see how it’s seen by others. This is a way to test if you’ve properly set your privacy settings right without logging off.
The second option is useful for me since I belong to multiple groups. For example, my friends list include my cousins and my former students. What if I get tagged in a family photo where I’m pigging out? I don’t want my students to see that side of me. By setting the second option to Only Me, any picture I’m tagged in (that doesn’t belong to me) will only be seen by the audience of the owner of the picture. The only time my former students could see that picture is when they’re friends with my cousins (which happened, unfortunately).
The third setting is only applicable if you allow others to post on your wall. If ever you do allow that, you can limit who can see those posts.
How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?
The first option is to restrict other people from tagging friends in stuff that you post. I set this to Off so my friends can tag people in my photos for me.
The second option determines who can see the posts where you’re tagged in. I strongly recommend setting this to Only Me. These are the kinds of posts that pop in your wall saying your friend was tagged in without knowing the owner of that post. It’s like going to a private party where all your friends could see the “aftermath” because you got tagged in a few pictures you didn’t even take. These are also the photos that others will see when they click on “Photos of <insert your name here>” in your profile.
The third option is not that critical. It’s the setting to either allow Facebook to suggest you when others have pictures of you. I just set this Off since I know my face will be suggested for every buddha pic on the net.
Step 5: Basic Netiquette
In case you’re still questioning as to why you should not use the default Facebook settings; here are a few examples.
“Yehey! 3-week family vacation to Japan!” Yes, invite all the thieves.
“I am sexy and I want to show it off!” Go ahead! Just make sure that those who do see it are your intended audience and not some creeper.
“I hate ****, you are <insert negative comment here> and <insert racist comment here>.” Behave in Facebook as you would behave in real life. Someone could easily take a screenshot of your wall and spread the hate.
“I am not wearing underwear today” Some things are meant to be private. You may have limited the audience to your profile but still, imagine the pain that your friends will need to endure.
In the future, you might apply for a company that will make a background check on you. Their HR will be trained to find you in all social platforms and see what kind of image you carry, as this will affect the reputation of the company. Keep this in mind.