How To Protect Your Personal Information In Facebook (Privacy)
It’s only been a day since Facebook announced sweeping changes to their platform at their F8 conference, but already the implications are being seen around the web. Check out what Levi’s is doing on their site…very cool stuff. Essentially, they are personalizing each web page you visit based upon your Facebook friends and their preferences. As I’ve pondered and discussed what this means to marketing, to brand and to consumers, one question comes up again and again…what if I don’t want to participate?
It’s a fair question. As it stands right now, if you do connect to a web site that is using the new Facebook Open Graph Protocol you are sharing a lot of information by default, including your activities & interests, your birthday, photos you’ve been tagged in, even your family and relationship status! This can present a fair amount of concern for many people when it comes to their privacy, especially since the 24 hour caching requirement has been removed, effectively getting Facebook out of the way of the relationship between developers and their users. In other words, your information can be stored and used in ways that are only limited by the mind of the designer and developer of a site.
If you do not want to expose your personal data to sites outside of Facebook, there are a couple of things that you need to do.
- Log into your Facebook account and go to the privacy settings, which are under Account–>Privacy Settings–>Applications and Websites (you can find this in the top right corner).
- At the bottom of the page is an area called “Instant Personalization”. Uncheck the box that says “Allow” UPDATE: The checkbox is no longer on this level. Instead, you now need to click “Edit Setting”, which will take you to another page. If you wish to opt out, uncheck the box at the bottom of this page, it will say “Allow select partners to instantly personalize their features with my public information when I first arrive on their websites”
- Also on that page Click back one page to Privacy Settings–>Applications and you will see a section called “What Your Friends Share About You”. Click “Edit Settings”. Once inside, uncheck every box you see, all 16 of them! Yes, sixteen. Don’t forget to click “Save Changes” at the bottom.
- While you’re at it, go to Account–>Privacy Settings–> Profile Information and make sure that everything is set to “Only Friends”. Anything that you have set to “Everyone” is open to be viewed by those outside of your immediate network of friends.
You personal details are now as protected as they can be. Of course, if you are truly concerned about your information being shared without your permission, remember that Facebook and all other social networking sites are opt-in…meaning nobody is forcing you to use them; the choice is yours as far as what you do and do-not publish. Think twice before publishing private information, because the internet never forgets…