If you’re using social media, then it’s more than likely that you have a Facebook account. (I know I do! 🙂 ) Facebook is great for staying in touch with friends and family, but the security and privacy settings can be a little tricky. Every once in a while, the team at Facebook is known for changing the user account rules of who sees what in your timeline and other settings. That’s weird and it’s also an important reason that you need to check your settings occasionally to make sure that they’re set the way YOU want them to be.

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In today’s tutorial I’ll show you how to increase the security and privacy of your Facebook account. Let’s introduce basic rules and options:

1. Use a strong password and change it regularly.

Changing your password: Sign into your Facebook account. Click the arrow in the upper right corner and select Settings.

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In the Password field you’ll see the last time your password was updated: 10 months – like you see in the picture – is way too long! I recommend changing your password at least every 2-3 months.

Click Edit.

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In the fields shown, enter the current password, your new password, and then retype your new password to make sure you didn’t enter a typo.

I suggest that you use the Sticky Password generator that you know from previous tutorials.

Click Save Changes.

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2. Think carefully about who you allow to become your friend

Just think about how much personal stuff you post on Facebook. It may sound like fun to (virtually) ‘meet’ new people, but don’t forget that just because someone posted a nice picture of himself or herself on Facebook, doesn’t mean that that really is the person that’s seeing your private pictures and hearing your private stories. Make sure that you know who you let into your circle of Facebook friends.

3. Be careful when you see ads and updates that promise exciting, scintillating, stimulating, sexy headlines.

You know what I mean, the stuff that grabs your attention like: ‘Politician X eats lizards for breakfast.” or “Check out the ugly dress Actress J wore to McDonalds.” or stuff like “Check out this YouTube video of you.”  While not all posts like this may be a risk to your security, too many of them are risky for you to feel comfortable clicking on everything. In general, the rule is when you’re asked to  click a link to view something unbelievable, DON’T CLICK.

4. Create and use your Friends lists.

Sorting your friends into groups allows you to decide who sees what from your posts. For example, you may not want your manager at work to see your private family photos from a wedding or vacation – or from that club you visited last weekend with your friends. 😉

Creating your Friends list: Click More in the Friends section (More appears when you hover your mouse pointer over the FRIENDS section in the left column.)

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Now you can create Lists (it’s the Facebook way of saying ‘groups’) of friends, e.g. people from work in one list, family members in another, etc. Enter a name for your new List and then, in the Members field, add the Friends that you’d like to include in that list.

Click Create.

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Using the Lists you create, you can select the group(s) of friends or colleagues (or however you grouped everyone in your Lists) that will be able to read each of your status updates or see photos that you’d like only selected friends to see.

To take advantage of Lists, write your status update and before you post it, click the Friends button and select More options.

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Here you’ll see the Lists you have created. The default setting is Friends – that’s everyone that you are friends with on Facebook.

If you leave Friends checked, ALL of your friends on Facebook will be allowed to see your post! Click on one of the Lists you’ve created to limit who’s news feed it will appear in.

Click Custom for even more ‘directed’ sharing options.

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5. Check your Privacy settings.

Select Privacy in the left side panel.

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Review your privacy settings in each category. Make sure that you are comfortable with who gets to ‘see your stuff’. I recommend that only your Friends should see ‘your stuff’, and that only your Friends can ‘look you up’.

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6. Check your Timeline and Tagging settings

Select Timeline and Tagging in the left panel.

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Review your settings in each category. For safety and privacy reasons, only Friends should be able to add or see things on your timeline. You can also use create custom Friends groups by clicking Custom in each category.

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TIP: How can I see what my profile looks like to other people?

Go to your profile.

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Below your timeline cover photo, click the three dots next to View Activity Log to reveal the drop-down menu. Click View As… Now you’ll see “what your timeline looks like to the public or a specific friend. Remember: Things you hide from you timeline still appear in news feed, search and other places on Facebook.

 

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That’s all for today. I’ve introduced you to a set of basic – but important – security and privacy settings. For your own security, as well as the security of your friends and family, make sure that YOU are in control of your privacy and security settings on Facebook, and other social media sites. It takes only a couple of minutes but it’s worth it!