Sanjay ilovecold at gmail.com
Fri Apr 30 07:22:14 EDT 2010

Be sociable and safe with our Facebook privacy tips

Social networking websites such as Facebook (www.facebook.com) can keep you
touch with friends and family.  However, as people share more of their
life in this public domain, the risk is that hackers and cybercriminals will
your personal data for their own gain.

It's important that you keep personal details about your activities and
interests, as well as sensitive information such as your phone number,
within a network of friends.  If in doubt, don't share it at all.  Facebook
updated its privacy features in December 2009; here, we provide our top tips
keeping data safe on the revamped site.  The same principles about sharing
apply to any networking site.

1. Protect your profile

Your Facebook profile information (including your name, profile picture,
and current city) can, by default, be viewed by everyone online, which could
compromise your privacy.

To ensure your profile is protected, click Settings and from the drop-down
click Privacy Settings.  On the next screen click Profile Information.  This
will list the information contained within your profile; for instance, your
Status and links, personal information, and Facebook photos where you've
tagged.  Use the drop-down menus beside each of these to dictate whether
yourself, friends, friends of friends or everyone can view these personal

2. Filter your friends

Many people include their boss among their Facebook friends, forgetting they
have a different relationship with them than others on their friends list.
help you manage differing relationships, Facebook lets you categorise people
into separate groups.  To do this, click Friends and then All Friends.
Create New List and give it a name, 'Colleagues', for example.  To add
people to the list click on their names.

Next, click Settings and then Privacy Settings.  Click the drop-down arrow
beside a privacy setting and select Customize.  In the pop-up window, you
select who can see content, including an option for 'Specific People'.
There's also a box titled 'Hide this from' where you can type in the
person's name to exclude them.

3. Keep news to yourself

Facebook's news feed is a digest of recent activity; yours, or your friends.
If you edit your relationship status (from Married to Divorced, say),
comment on
a friend's photo or post a message to a group, all your friends will see
activity in their news feeds.

To change the default setting for your posts click Settings > Privacy
Settings >
Profile Information and look for the Post By Me option.  From the drop-down
menu, select who will be able to see your posts - from friends, friends of
friends, to everyone or customiseit to restrict it to certain people.

Regardless of your default setting, you can adjust the privacy setting for
and every post you make.  Before you share your post, click on the lock
icon.From the drop-down menu, select who can see this post.

4. Who's asking the questions?

A popular Facebook distraction is its wide variety of games, polls and
By signing up to these applications, you're giving the people who developed
permission to access personal profile information that has been made visible

You can avoid this by not using the Everyone option in your Privacy
However, your details are still at riskif your friends also use these

To solve this, go to Settings> Privacy Settings and select Applications and
Websites.  Click the Edit Settings tab next to What your friends can share
you.  Untick all the fields you don't want sharedin this situation, such as
your profile, picture,and photographs.

5. Search results

Facebook members can search for you and then add you as a friend.  They can
view your profile photo and friends list or even send you a message.  This
allows long-lost friends to find you online, but you may also receive
communications from strangers.

You can edit and restrict how your search result looks so that only minimal
information is displayed.  To do this, click on Settings and then Privacy
Settings.  Click Search and under Facebook Search Results choose who you
want to
find you in a search.

If you choose Everyone but don't want your listing to appear on external
search engines like Google, make sure the box Allow indexing next to Public
Search Results is unticked.

6. Share photographs

Facebook is a great way to share your pictures but you may wish to restrict
can see them.  To do this, click on Settings> Privacy Settings.  Click on
Profile Information and then the Edit Settings tab next to Photo Albums.
the down arrows beside your individual albums to restrictwho sees them.

Others may post and tag images of you to their own Facebook accounts that
you'd prefer weren't made public.  To remove the tag (the text that
identifies you in the photograph) go to the photograph and click remove tag.
This doesn't remove the photograph but it does disassociate it from your

7. Keep tabs on your name

The easy way to find out what information others can see about you is to
for your name.  You can also set up a Google alert for your name.  You'll be
emailed when new information appears online.  Go to www.google.com/alerts to
one up and choose how regularly you wish to receive the alert - once a week
should be enough.  Be aware that if you have a common name it's likely that
you'll receive a lot of false positives.

8. Read the small print

Read social networking sites' privacy policies regularly to see how they're
using your information.  Facebook's policy is at
www.facebook.com/policy.php?ref=pf.Go to Settings > Account Settings then
the Facebook Ads tab to see how the site could be using information about

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