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Facebook Protection – Part 1

January 12th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Facebook may have been around for a few years, but it is only gaining momentum now in the population. Last week I held a training course, covering tips on how to secure your Facebook information. Through a show of hands, a clear majority of the group had only signed up for Facebook within the past 6 months. I don’t need a set of analytics to tell me that Facebook’s growth rate is increasing with exposure. When Facebook reaches the masses in a non-technical manufacturing industry, it is reaching the masses of Middle America.
Facebook Growth Rate

Yearbook CollectionI have only been on Facebook for a little over a year, yet this recent surge in growth is redefining Facebook itself, and how we use it. We are being pulled out of the private groups or elite networks of friends, into a trampling mob of acquaintances that you met along the way. It reminds me of every “coming of age” movie when having the ultimate house party when your parents are away sounds like the best plan ever. Then you find out that everybody is all of a sudden your friend, and when the doorbell rings, you better be ready with an answer to let people in or not.

Last week I had to pull out my old yearbooks, just so I could have a reference manual for some of the friend requests coming in. While I appreciate that I left a lasting impression on so many people over the years, I really didn’t intend to share with them some of my closer moments in life.

The good thing is, Facebook is not your parent’s house. They have lined up some powerful tools to help you sort people into specific room, or perhaps even let them sit outside the window if they really aren’t the friends you thought they were.

Basic Security
There are some basic security settings I typically preach to everybody, and are important to review first. Facebook itself is a method for people to connect to you. If they need your address they can ask. Otherwise, keep the extra information off your profile.

  • Remove the year from your birthday.
  • Use your town and state, but do not put your street address.
  • Turn off Beacon (Settings – Privacy Settings – Applications – Settings)
  • Turn off Facebook Connect ( Settings – Privacy Settings – Applications – Settings)
  • Do not make your Profile Public ( Settings – Privacy Settings – Profile – Basic – Settings)
  • fb_profile_onlyfriends1

    Use a real profile picture.
    This is hard for a lot of people who don’t like pictures of themselves. You will help weed out those people asking us to join their network or group, as they can identify who you are. Adding a picture of your dog or kid doesn’t help if the person hasn’t seen you in 20 years. On my first search, I came up with 425 Stephen Burke accounts in Facebook.

    Now that we have some basics in place to protect us a little, we will talk about sorting and filtering what people can see in part 2.

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