Facebook is the most popular social networking site at the moment.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that almost every person on the plant has an account on Facebook.
Facebook is about networking with your friends and relative across the globe.
Everyone wants to share information with their near and dear ones, but also want to keep their personal information from spreading like a wild fire.
The key to keeping information secure is first of understanding the working of Facebook.
To protect your privacy in this social networking world of Facebook, you would need to update your settings from the default ones to those that are acceptable at a level that will keep your information safe at a preferred level.
Let us analyze the different ways through which one can change the settings on Facebook to achieve the desired level of privacy.
Your Visibility to Others
Most of the time the privacy settings on Facebook defaults to everyone if during the initial setup due attention is not given. This means that everyone on Facebook would be able to view your information i.e. photos, wall posts, status updates, etc.
To change this behavior, you can navigate to profile information under the account tab and for each category select the option that fits your privacy needs. This feature would give you the most granular control over your privacy settings on Facebook.
Controlling your Updates
Unlike any other social networking site, Facebook has the most robust option to choosing who can or cannot view the updates that you are posting on Facebook. To select people who can see the update posted by you, before posting, click on the little pad lock icon on the right hand corner of the status post option which would be defaulted to everyone. Here you can select who can view the updates you post for each and every message. This is an option that you should utilize before posting any message.
Hide yourself from Google
Facebook has the feature whereby your profile shall be listed on the Google, Yahoo and Bing search results if anyone performs a search by your name. This would make your profile visible to almost each and every person on the planet that uses Google and would have somehow managed to type your name in the Google search box. This can be disabled by going to Account Settings -> Privacy Settings -> Search and unclenching the public search engine results box. This will result in the removal of your profile preview from the above mentioned search engines.
Disabling Instant Personalization Option
Facebook has another feature whereby users can like stories of articles that they like in other users profile or sites or pages. Now this particular "like" is visible to all your friends and friends of friends, Facebook and the site itself. The option that is liked with this like option is the feature whereby the sites that you visit would be able to customize its contents according to your like preferences.
This seems to be harmless superficially, but if thought for a while, it is like spying on the user’s preference. So users will be served content according to their liking which again is through sharing of their personal information. To disable this option you can uncheck the option of instant personalization pilot program by navigating to Account -> Privacy Settings -> Applications & Websites -> Instant Personalization pilot program.
Disable Photo Tagging
Photos are the most revealing pieces of information out there. Many a times there are cases when you might be caught up in a very awkward situation and one of your friend’s has clicked your photograph and then posted it on Facebook later and tagged you. To prevent this from happening, go to Account -> Privacy Settings -> Profile Information -> Photos & Videos of Me and select the option that is preferable to your privacy orientation. The best option would be not to share anyone of those until you decide to show them on a photo to photo basis.
Every album you post on Facebook will be visible with everyone by default. To change this option while posting an album, make sure that you tune the privacy setting for each album by clicking on the option that suits you under Privacy option of the Create Album window.
Hiding Contact Information
Don’t ever put any contact information that shouldn’t be made public on Facebook. If you are inclined toward posting that information on Facebook due take care to lock it down for friends only or for the minimum number of people who you surely know wouldn’t mean any harm to you if that information was available to them. To change the settings for the various contact information, navigate to Account -> Privacy Settings -> Contact Information -> and for each option select who would be able to view that piece of information.
Delete Facebook Applications that you don’t use
Recently Facebook made a change in its policies wherein the application partners will have the capability and permission to store information of its users indefinitely. Previously these partners were asked to request this information every 24 hours. But now this has changed. This is again invasion of privacy as your information would be stored with the application servers and you wouldn’t have control of what activities they might perform with your information.
The best option is to delete the application that you are not currently using or do not plan to use in the near future. This can be done through Account -> Application Settings. Change the view to have the authorized applications listed and then click on the X mark next to the application names to have them deleted.
Learn about twitter privacy settings.