Have you checked your Facebook settings?

November 9, 2009

by Mark Ollig

So, you made the big social networking plunge onto Facebook, congratulations.

You have made new friends, re-established contact with old ones, and now you are posting links, photos, videos, and responding to comments on a daily basis.

Being part of the world’s largest online social network is great, isn’t it?

Since we are sharing our information with so many others on Facebook, we need to be aware and in control of who sees it the best we can.

For example, say you were at a late-night party wearing that fashionable flaming red lampshade (again) and pictures of this were taken by a person who is one of your Facebook friends.

This person thinks how “funny” it would be to post this embarrassing picture of you on Facebook. Imagine – not only all of your Facebook friends will see it, but all of the picture taker’s Facebook friends will, too.

And, one of his or her Facebook friends could be your fellow employee, boss, future employer, or – gasp – even your mother.

This friend has just uploaded the lampshade photo to Facebook and proudly “tags” it with your name.

Now, all your friends on Facebook will be made aware of this newly tagged photo and will see this picture. Remember, it is just not only your friends who will see this, but friends of your friends, as well. When they hover their mouse over the photo, your name will pop up in bold type.

How would you feel about being “tagged” on any photograph a friend chooses to upload to Facebook?

What if you do not want your Facebook friends to be sending tagged pictures of you for all of Facebook to see?

For myself, I have not seen any tagged photos of me that are too embarrassing (yet).

Your humble columnist will admit to uploading and tagging a few photos of his sons onto Facebook for all to see.

Baby pictures are so cute, and they are particularly useful for embarrassing “twenty-something” adults I discovered.

My revenge for all those diapers I changed.

I imagine after these sons read this column, they may consider changing their photo tag setting options.

There are ways to protect what others can see and do with your profile on Facebook.

We can still have our friends on Facebook and feel comfortable knowing we have control over our privacy via the Facebook settings.

Let’s say you do not wish to have those Facebook friends seeing your name tagged in photographs.

You can control who can see those pictures your friends have tagged of you.

Here is how to do it.

On the main Facebook page, hover your mouse over “Settings,” then click on “Privacy Settings” from the drop-down list.

From here, you will see the “lock” icon next to the word “Privacy” in bold.

Now click on “Profile.”

Here you will see various sections of your profile where you will be able to control who can see certain information about you, including “Photos Tagged of You.”

To change this parameter, click the “v” to the right of “Photos Tagged of You” to choose from “Everyone,” “Friends of Friends,” or you can leave it at the default value “Only Friends.”

You can also select “Customize” to prevent one of your particular friends or those from your friends’ Friend Lists from seeing a tagged photo of you.

You can also restrict the tagged photo to be viewed only by you by selecting “Only Me.”

Another choice is “Some Friends.” This option allows you to choose specific friends who can see any tagged photographs of you on Facebook.

Other selections you can control others from seeing includes your Profile, Basic Info, Personal Info, Status and Links, Videos Tagged of You, Friends, Wall Posts, Education Info, and Work Info.

From the Facebook homepage, hover your mouse over the “Settings” menu and choose “Privacy Settings” from the drop-down list. On the next page, click “Applications” you will then be on the “Overview.”

Now, click the tab that reads “Settings” which is next to the “Overview” tab.

On this page, you can check and uncheck boxes next to your personal information others can see about you, including profile picture, current location (city) you are in, groups you belong to, pictures taken by you, relationship status, education history, religious views, and more. This section controls what information those accepted Facebook applications can see about us.

I was surprised to find out my friends’ Facebook applications I have accepted can see my personal information – if I don’t make any changes here.

Visit the “www.facebook.com/security” link for more details and support about Facebook security. You can pass this link along to all your Facebook friends using the “Suggest to Friends” link.