There’s nothing wrong with open networks, but there are some things you don’t want to be public. The important point is to be aware what information is public, and treat it accordingly. The annoying part is that Facebook keep changing the rules! Most people on Facebook think of it as a way to share info just with their friends, but that isn’t really true any longer.
Certain information on Facebook (your Name, Profile Picture, Gender, Current City, Networks, Friend List) is always public, you can’t hide it. So, don’t make your profile picture too embarrassing. Your friends list being public is an interesting one. On the Internet, as in the real world, people can make assumptions about you on the basis of the company you keep. For example students at MIT discovered that just by looking at a persons online friends they could discover if someone was gay.
If you become a Facebook fan of a Page (by clicking the blue Like button) this is also public information. Facebook calls it a Connection. You can show up on the Page, and these connections are shared with marketers. You might be OK with this, you might not – depends what you Like. The list of likes on your Facebook page is now assembled from your Connections – you can’t just type in what you choose any longer, so if you want to share your interests to your friends you also have to share them with the world.
Some of your information is not automatically public, but is visible to your friends (ok?) and any apps and Facebook partner websites your friends use (maybe not ok?). Review the settings for what friends can share
and untick anything you’re not happy with. By default some pretty sensitive stuff like relationship status, photos you are tagged in, your birthday, and religious and political views can be shared this way.
Facebook’s latest feature is called Instant Personalisation. If you are logged into Facebook, this allows websites you visit to see information from your Facebook profile and customise themselves accordingly. If you don’t like this idea:
- Go to the Instant Personalization privacy setting and uncheck the “Allow” button. Click confirm. Come back to this page.
- Go to the page for Microsoft Docs, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.
- Go to the page for Pandora, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.
- Go to the page for Yelp, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.
One last thing: do check the privacy settings for your profile information. By default, lots of info is shared not just with your Friends, but with Friends of Friends. That’s a lot of people. If your friend is friends with your boss, then do you want your boss to see your photos?