Navigating the privacy and data settings of Facebook can be confusing. For personal use, many people like to “lock down” their privacy settings to have as much control of their data as possible. This blog entry is a supplement to a radio show I am doing on Wednesday, April 18 in Bozeman, Montana on KMMS Radio. Mark Allen and I will be discussing the basics of social media for the “older crowd.” Since we don’t have “radiovision,” I thought I’d put together this post to help listeners navigate some of our conversation. One of the areas we will touch on is privacy and how our personal data is used on the internet.
This first screenshot shows how you get access to all your privacy and account settings. It’s right next to the “Home” heading on the top tab of your Facebook page. Pull down to “privacy settings” and let’s get started.
The first screen you will see is this general page. You will see that I have the “Friends” button clicked on my default settings on this page. That means that only my approved Facebook friends can see my content, unless I change it. I can customize this, however if I’d like by clicking on the custom button instead right next door.
If you click on the Custom button, this is what you will see. You can set the privacy at the level comfortable for you. Always remember to save changes.
The next setting on the privacy setting page has to do with how you want to connect to others. The first item is one often overlooked: “who can search you by name?” If you don’t want to be searchable by the public on Facebook, be sure you set this to “Friends.” That means only your approved friends can search for you on Facebook.
This next window is under the privacy tab called “Apps and Websites,” which is kind of misleading. The reason I say that is because the last item on this page has to do with searches again–but this time it’s public searches. If you want the general public to be able to search your name on Facebook, check the box on this page. If not, make sure it is unchecked when you go to “edit settings ” on the pull-down menu.
This next screen shows the options under the “Manage Blocking” piece of privacy settings. This is where you can block particular users. I actually prefer the option to “hide every post by this user” (next screenshot below) once you have “friended” someone. That option will not remove them from your friend list–blocking the user will. The “hide every post” option ( hide this post) can be exercised at any time a post shows up in your news feed. That option is shown directly below this screen.
If you want to just “hide all posts” by a user and not “unfriend” (block) them, there is a little gray “ghost” arrow that shows up on the right top of any post when your cursor gets near (see below). If you click on that arrow, the menu below shows up that you see in the next screenshot.
Who Can Use Your Data?
The other batch of important information you control has to do with how much of your personal data Facebook can share with outside sources. That information is what is usually called profile information and is accessed through the “Update Info” tab you see below from your Timeline page.
You may not be aware, but Facebook sells your personal data to marketers. In other words, the more data you fill out on this next page, the more marketers will know about you. I need to let you know, however, that there is an upside to sharing some data here. If you are interested in getting some deals and discounts, those ads on your Facebook page are customized for you by the data you provide. If you really don’t care about the ads and would like to be excluded from the “data stream” that Facebook sells, keep the information you share here to a minimum. You can see I have shared some data here because I want to see certain ads and people group information from Facebook.
There you have the basics of privacy and data for your personal Facebook page. If you’re here because you listened in on Wednesday, I hope you enjoyed our time on the radio with Mark Allen. If you have any questions, Facebook has an excellent help section as well that you can access from this link (just click it).