How much privacy do I really have on Facebook? (Cyber Security Minute)

This week’s question is “How can I keep my information private on Facebook?” And, to answer that question, I have asked Tamera to assist.

Well, it seems like just about every day Facebook decided to go ahead and change the privacy controls. Let’s consider this example and see if our privacy remains. Your friend just found a box of old photos of you that may be slightly embarrassing. Take for example, this one of Jason. (Hey!) Now, if I post this on my Facebook page and select “Friends” for privacy, and tag Jason in it, who can see it?

Well, since I posted it, all of my friends can see it. And, because Jason was tagged in it, all his friends can see it to. So, we have two circles of friends now viewing this embarrassing photo. This is the default setting Facebook has set up.

Now, if you are Jason, what can you do about this? Well, you can go into your Facebook settings and selecting “Timeline and Tagging”, then choose change your audience to Only Me. You can also set your settings to allow you to approve tagged posts. However, if you have previously tagged things that are embarrassing, you can also untag yourself so it will no longer show up in your feed for your friends to see.

For the person posting, you can also be nice and go into the settings of who can see the post and select friends, and Deselect friends of friends tagged. I guess I will be nicer from now on and deselect Jason.

If this is the first time you have ever messed with your Facebook privacy settings, I highly recommend going and limiting all your past posts. There is a quick method to switch ALL old posts to friends only, even if you picked public or friends of friends before.

There are many other ways to tweak your personal privacy depending upon the level you want, either being fully open, or locked down to where no one can find you unless they really know you. Take some time to play in your settings and pick the best ones for you.

What do you think about your privacy on Facebook? Is keeping your posts and photos private important to you, or is giving up our privacy just part of the deal when we get onto the social networks? Please leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts!

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Jason Dion, CISSP No. 349867, is a Adjunct Instructor at Liberty University’s College of Engineering and Computational Science and Anne Arundel Community College’s Department of Computing Technologies with multiple information technology professional certifications, including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Network Defense Architect (CNDA), Digital Forensic Examiner (DFE), Digital Media Collector (DMC), Security+, Network+, A+, and Information Technology Infrastructure Library v3. With networking experience dating back to 1992, Jason has been a network engineer for the United States Navy Southern Command, served as the Deputy Director of the Theater Network Operations Center Middle East, and the Information Systems Officer for Navy Information Operations Command Maryland. Jason holds a Master’s of Science degree in Information Technology with a specialization in Information Assurance from University of Maryland University College, a Master’s of Arts and Religion in Pastoral Counseling, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Resources Management from New School University. He lives in the greater Washington D.C./Baltimore, Maryland area with his wife and two children.