Facebook Privacy

When signing up for a social media account to keep up-to-date with people around us, we often don’t think twice about giving our personal information away online. As technology advances, so do online scams that attempt to obtain information about users including name, age, and even credit card number. It’s important for people to feel comfortable and aware of the information they share online and where they share it. There are some best practices that can help limit what is shown on your Facebook profile, how to block certain users and activities, and protect your password.

I want a Facebook account but only want my friends to see it. How can I do this?
Facebook has made controlling who can see your profile easy. By clicking on the upside down triangle in the upper right corner of the Facebook home screen, a drop down menu will appear. Then, click on “Settings”, listed near the bottom of the drop down menu. A new screen will appear with the option to click “Privacy” on the menu along the left side of the screen. It is here that you will be able to switch the “Who can see my future posts?” setting from “public” to “friends”. Now your Facebook account is only accessible by people you accept as a Facebook friend.

I was tagged in a photo on Facebook that I want to be removed. How can I do this?
The privacy menu also has the option “Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in”, which also contains a link to Facebook’s activity log. When viewing your activity log, you can see all posts and photos that you have been tagged in. From here, you have the option to remove the content, by clicking on the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the post.

Someone I don’t know is trying to add me as a friend and is sending me messages. How can I prevent them from interacting with me?
From the Settings screen found by clicking on the upside down triangle in the upper right corner of the Facebook home screen, click on “Blocking” listed along the left side. When clicked on, Facebook allows you to block users by inserting the name or email of that specific person. When completed, the user will not be able to send messages and view your Facebook content.

I received an email asking me to provide my Facebook password because there was a problem with my account. What should I do?
NEVER provide your Facebook or any other important passwords via email or any online forum. Your password should always remain confidential. This is most likely an email scam attempting to obtain your personal information. To remember your password, write it down and store it in a secure area.

Facebook continues to ask me to add information, like my education and workplace to my profile. Is this mandatory?
No, you are not required to add this information to your profile. Information such as your phone number can also be hidden from the public. When clicking on Contact and Basic Info, found on the upper left-hand side of your profile page, you can switch the option from “friends” to “only me”.

Internet scams and hoaxes will never fully dissolve from the web. However, as users of technology, we can educate ourselves about how to safely surf the web and what information we choose to share online. The more people that learn about online security and how crucial it is to protect personal information, the less effect these scams and hoaxes will have on the online population. Knowing that you can use social media while maintaining your privacy makes the experience more user-friendly.

Be sure to check out ETAG’s Volunteer Technology Education Program that incorporates learning about passwords and online safety in our beginners’ curriculum.

– Rosario Commisso (Intern and ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)