Guard your privacy – Amp up your privacy settings to beat Facebook’s invasive Graph Search

Note: This is an unedited version of my cover story published in November 2013 Issue of Spider Magazine.

First step towards using Facebook privacy settings is deciding how you would like to use Facebook and what are you comfortable sharing with your friends, family members, colleagues and any random person who stumbles upon your profile.

[ol]

  • Review the About section on your profile and set privacy of each piece of information available there by clicking on the Edit Button and then selecting privacy option against it. Note that setting privacy to Public means anyone using the internet could view it. To avoid this make use of Lists and choose privacy settings wisely.
  • Select audience for your future posts by clicking the Lock icon on the top right corner showing Privacy Shortcuts à Click on ‘Who can see my stuff?’ à Choose the privacy setting for ‘Who can see my future posts?’
  • To restrict audience for your past posts shared with public or friends of friends to Friends only, click on ‘See More Settings’ under the Privacy Shortcuts à Click on ‘Limit Past Posts’ under ‘Who can see my stuff?’
  • Privacy of each individual post on your timeline could also be modified from the privacy dropdown available against it.
  • Do you still like what you liked once? One way you could land into graph search done by people you do not know is through your page likes.  Click ‘More’ on your profile page then click Likes.  You will be able to see and unlike (if required) pages that you have subscribed to, section wise for e.g. TV shows, Restaurants etc below the suggestions.   Click ‘Other Likes’ to see the pages that do not fall into these categories.
  • Check your photos privacy by navigating to Photos. You can set privacy of each Album you have uploaded separately. In case of mobile uploads and timeline photos, privacy of each picture could be set individually. Click on ‘Photos of You’ tab to see the pictures uploaded by others that you are tagged in. You could either untag yourself from those pictures or could also hide them from your timeline by clicking the Edit option available against each.
  • If you wish to control how you are tagged on Facebook, navigate to more settings from privacy shortcuts à Click on Timeline and Tagging option available in the left panel and turn on the ‘Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?’ setting. For stricter control, you could also turn on the ‘Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?’ and set ‘Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are upload?” to Noone.
  • Finally to keep a check of who could see your activity on Facebook, click on ‘Activity Log’ option available on your profile and it shows the visibility of the activities you perform. By clicking on the timeline option available in the right panel, you could review visibility of activities time-wise and may choose to hide or delete some from your timeline.
  • [/ol]