Monday, December 7, 2009

Taming the Facebook Beast pt. 1

Facebook has a number of tools to help you control who has access to the information you put up on your pages. They include:

1. Configurable friend lists
2. Ability to remove yourself from Facebook search
3. Remove yourself from Google
4. Avoid photo/video tags
5. Protect your albums
6. Prevent stories from showing up in your news feeds
7. Control Application published stories.
8. Make contact information private
9. Avoid embarrassing wall posts
10. Keep friendships private

Let's look at these in a little more detail:

1. Configurable friend lists
Friend lists allow you to put your friends into groups according to your own preference. You can group your friends by how you know them (work, church, social group, etc.) and then set what you want each group to see. The steps to limiting what a list see are:

a. Go to the Settings Menu and select "Privacy Settings"
[caption id="attachment_199" align="alignnone" width="214" caption="Go to Settings-Privacy Settings"]Go to Settings-Privacy Settings[/caption]

b. Select "Profile"
[caption id="attachment_213" align="alignnone" width="376" caption="Select Profile"]Select Profile[/caption]

c. Select the pull down menu next to the type of info you want to limit access to, then "Customize"
[caption id="attachment_205" align="alignnone" width="270" caption="Select the data type: Customize"]Select the data type: Customize[/caption]

d. In the Custom dialog set who you want to see your info, and set any friend or list you want to keep from seeing it in the "except these people" field.
[caption id="attachment_208" align="alignnone" width="405" caption="Use the custom dialog to limit access"]Use the custom dialog to limit access[/caption]

2 & 3. Remove yourself from Facebook and Google search.
It's important to note that if you don't tell Facebook you don't want to be listed in Google searches shortly after signing up for Facebook, you will be listed on Google. But once you choose not to be in Google search you will gradually sink down in the listings. Of course, if people search for your name, even being low down the listings may still have you on the first page. To tell Facebook not to release your information to Google:

a. Go to Settings-Privacy Settings again.

b. Select Search
[caption id="attachment_215" align="alignnone" width="376" caption="Select Search"]Select Search[/caption]

c. Choose who you want to be able to find you and what they can see.

d. If you have "Everyone" selected in the "Search Visibility" field, you will also have the option to allow your profile to appear in Google searches. If you don't want to appear on Google, uncheck the box.

That should be enough to swallow for one day. We'll cover 4 & 5 tomorrow - Wednesday if I'm too strapped for time. There will be some type of post Tuesday either way.