Access settings in Facebook by clicking “Account” tab in the upper right of the interface. Click “Privacy Settings” in the drop-down menu, then the “Choose Your Privacy Settings” screen will appear.
Click the “View Settings” link. It’s a good idea to choose “Friends Only” for all settings. In most cases, that will be the most restrictive option available, and that’s what will give you the best protection. Strangers don’t need to know your personal information, and your friends will already have it.
“See my friend list” is the first item on the list that offers something stronger than “Friends Only”. You will want to select “Custom” here, and in the “Custom Privacy” pop-up window, under “Make this visible to”, choose “Only Me” from the drop-down menu. This will protect your friends, who might not necessarily want to be contacted.
Similar options exist for “See my education and work”, which is yours to modify as you choose, but bear in mind that this opens your profile up to your co-workers and colleagues, which you might not want. The same considerations apply for “See my current city and hometown” and “See my interests and other Pages”.
Return to “Choose Your Privacy Settings”, and move on to “Sharing on Facebook”. Click on “Customize settings” at the bottom of the list. In the resulting page, pick and choose your settings as you want, but pay particular attention to the following settings:
“Birthday” should be restricted to “Only Me”, as this information can be used by phishers who are after your identity.
“Places I check in to”, “Include me in ‘People Here Now’ after I check in”, and “Friends can check me in to Places” can be dangerous settings to leave open to everyone, as they give away your location. Do you want everyone to know where you are?
“Photos and videos I’m tagged in” is important to restrict if you’re searching for a job. You don’t want a potential employer seeing that embarrassing photo of you that a friend has posted. And to reiterate, keep everything in your “Contact information” set to “Only Me”.
Move on to “Applications and Websites” to the bottom left of the “Choose Your Privacy Settings” page. Click “Edit your settings”. Part of the fun of Facebook is playing all the games available, but try to restrict the information sharing to “Friends Only”.
In the “Info accessible through your friends” section, uncheck everything for maximum privacy. If someone you don’t know wants to know something about you, make them ask you themselves. The “Instant personalization” option is related to specific websites that use your Facebook information to give you a “personalized experience” when you visit those sites.
There is no real need for your information to be visible to anyone who visits those sites, so uncheck “Enable instant personalisation on partner websites”.
Finally, uncheck the “Enable public search” option unless you want people to find out things about you using Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Remember that the Internet is forever and anything you choose to put online can be searched for, and in many cases, can be difficult to remove. Be safe, and share only with people you know!
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