Facebook Security 102: Protecting Your, and Your Friends’ Interests

Summary version (at the wife’s request):

  1. Click your name in the upper-left to go to your timeline.
  2. Select “View As…” from the gear menu in the cover image, to see how your timeline appears to non-friends.
  3. When you’re done, click the X in the dark banner at the top of the page.
  4. Hide your friends list from your non-friends, by clicking the Friends button, clicking the pencil, and changing the privacy settings.
  5. Review the additional privacy settings at https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy
  6. Manage the security of individual posts by clicking the gray heads next to the time and place of the post.
  7. Review your timeline and tagging settings at https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline

Longer version:

First off, thanks to everybody who liked and shared my Facebook 101 post.  It’s gratifying to know that the information was useful.  In case you missed it, you can read it here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/dj-padzensky/facebook-security-101-locking-down-your-account/10151650182232310

Facebook, as a website, is all about building community (yes, I know, they’re really all about data mining, but let’s not go into that).  So, there are a number of security defaults of which you which be aware, and their implications.  Fortunately, Facebook makes this very easy to do.

Start by clicking your name in the upper-left corner, to bring up your timeline.  At the bottom-right of your cover image (the banner image that you chose), there is an Activity Log button, with a gear next to it.  If you click the gear, a menu will pop up.  Select View As…, and you will immediately see how your Facebook page appears to your non-friends.  Click through the Timeline, About, Photos, and Friends, and other tabs, to see what other people can see, without first having been friended by you.

In particular, you may notice that your friends list is exposed to the entire world.  You may want this to be the case, but do realize that you’re making it that much easier for your friends to be cyberstalked.  To turn this off, click the X in the dark banner at the top of the page, to go back to viewing as you, then click the Friends button at the top of your timeline page.  Finally, click the pencil button next to “Find Friends” to edit the privacy settings for your friends list.

Next, go to https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy and verify/modify your privacy settings.  There’s a rather interesting feature here: the ability to limit past posts.  This resets the security on all of your previous posts, to be friends-only.  Use it with care, as you cannot undo it, but it’s a very useful tool, to reset yourself to a known state.

Whether or not you choose to use that feature, be aware that you can, at any time, manage the security of any one of your posts.  Next to the indicator for the time and place of a post, is a gray icon that looks like two heads.  Click it, and you can select the audience that will be able to view it.  Bear in mind that, if somebody is tagged in the post, then they can always see it.

Finally, https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline contains your Timeline and Tagging Settings.  You might want to lock some of these down to friends-only.  Also, I like the ability to review tags that involve me or my posts, before unleashing them to my timeline.  That’s also on this page.  Enjoy!