Global TV Tech Buzz: Facebook Is Public, Here’s How To Be Private

Facebook is now public. The more than 900M users of the social network can now each claim ownership (should they choose to buy stock) of the site they have made.

It is the information that is poured into Facebook daily that makes it so valuable. From where we live, to where we work, who we’re friends with, parties we go to, movies we like, and more, some have suggested that Facebook has more intelligence about people on the planet than the CIA.

We’re hooked.

300M photos are uploaded to the site daily. 526M people hit the site each day. 400M people are active on Facebook at least 6 of 7 days a week.

Now that Facebook is public, something Mark Zuckerberg didn’t want to do but was forced into by investment rules, it’s the perfect time to take your profile more private. A third of female profiles, and more than half of male profiles are totally public, no privacy settings whatsoever. Everything you do online is visible by anyone, friend or not.

I like to play a game I call “Facebook the Bad Guy”. When you see a terrible person in the news, put their name in Facebook and look at their profile. More often than not it’s not a shock the person was busted.

Social networks are filterless, what we post is stream of consciousness, and they really do give a sense of who a person really is.

It’s hard to keep tabs on the constantly shifting privacy settings. Just this Monday, they were holding a Q&A on yet another set of information use changes. Last week they took the many different bits and pieces of the privacy document and made it one item. One 7 000 word item. Who’s going to read that?

Still look how privacy on the site has changed over the last 8 years. What used to be locked to the site, is now open to the internet

Here are 3 privacy settings you should check, and lock down.

First things first, cull your friends list. Jimmy Kimmel started National Unfriend Day to run every November, but if you’ve never celebrated it, don’t wait. You don’t have to be friends with every person you met at a club, dinner, charity event, high school, etc. While it may seem social norm to accept every friend request, not every friend request is worthy of knowing everything about you.

There are two parts to this. If you do have many different people, you can sort them into lists to manage the privacy settings of each group. When you add a status, say baby pictures, you can touch a corner of the status box and set the level of who sees what. The lists also help you sort what you see, so you don’t get inundated with updates from people you barely know but need to be connected to.

The privacy page will also let you manage applications. When you access sites that let you login with Facebook Connect, you’re often giving them access to your profile. Have a look at which sites you’ve let access in the past, see if you’re still using them. If you’re not, delete them. Don’t let it become a junk drawer.

Facebook also has frictionless sharing now. That means if you click on a news story from an app, like Yahoo! or Washington Post, everyone can see that you read it. Check to see if you have those apps and make sure you are fine with everyone knowing everything you read online.

The entire privacy settings page is much easier to understand and should be reviewed. You can set the levels of your visibility in search, who sees your posts, who can friend you, who can tag you, and more.

Facebook went public, but it’s okay for you to still be private.



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