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New Facebook Privacy Concerns


With the launch of Facebook’s Timeline profile, Facebook and users of other social media sites should be more concerned than ever regarding online security and privacy, and take steps to assure they are protected. Timeline is Facebook’s new profile tool, which basically replaces your “Wall” and “Profile” with a timeline of imagery and events that tells the story of your life. Well at least the part of your life that you have shared with Facebook. By combining your pictures, updates, and profile data, Facebook creates a reverse-chronologically ordered timeline of you. The move to Timeline does create some privacy concerns, because Timeline reveals things about you that you may not have wanted  to be so easily in view to others.

ComputerWorld’s Logan Kugler lays out five ways to “lock down your profile in the post-Timeline [Facebook] world.” Here’s a summary of Kugler’s five recommendations:

  • Limit your connections. Access Facebook’s “How You Connect” option, which contains five privacy settings. The first three settings determine who can look up your profile and see your contact information, who can ‘friend’ you and who can send you messages. Change the first and third to “Friends” in order to maximize privacy. Setting the fourth and fifth settings to “Friends” is “relatively safe while still allowing the sharing that makes Facebook fun,” according to Kugle.


  • Tailor your tags. Tailor “How Tags Work” in Privacy Settings. The first two settings are particularly useful, Kugle writes. When they’re enable, they allow you to review posts and photos that Friends tag you in, as well as the tags Friends add to your own posts– all before the information is broadcast publicly.
    • Set Maximum Timeline Visibility to ‘Friends’ or customize it for certain Friend lists or networks to ensure that tagged posts, once approved, aren’t accessible to everybody.
    • Disable Tag Suggestions, the fourth setting on the Timeline settings list. This makes it more difficult for ‘friends’ to “tag large quantities of photos featuring you or people that look like you,” and limits others’ access to your Facebook info.
    • Turn off the fifth Timeline setting, which enables whether or not friends can check you in to places. This avoids others being able to constantly broadcast your location without your express permission.


  • Limiting Facebook’s app permissioning is essential to securing and assuring your privacy on Facebook, but it’s not exactly a simple process, according to Kugler. You’ll need to go to Privacy Settings and Edit Settings next to the Apps and Websites entry and edit each app permissioning individually. Even so, some permissions, such as sharing basic profile information with the app, can’t be changed.


  • Kugler also recommends disabling other permissioning in the Apps, Games and Websites privacy settings. Doing so will disable others’ ability to take your personal information with them when they use apps and websites. “Uncheck the box next to each information category listed (there are 17 of them) to prevent others from using your personal data,” Kugler writes.


  • Reduce your social footprint. Disabling Recent Activity updates is another key step to take to protect your privacy and security on Facebook. This feature broadcasts “new friendships, groups you’ve joined and any other changes in your basic information. Just click on the X next to a Recent Activity update on your timeline and select Hide Similar activity from Timeline,” according to Kugler.

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