Seven Steps to Take Control of Your Privacy on Facebook

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In December, Facebook introduced a new facet to their privacy settings. They would default them to be viewed by everyone, which means that anyone with a Facebook account can view your settings. It caused a huge uproar by some people, but I wasn’t one of them. I had come to realize awhile back that Facebook gave its users some of the best control over their accounts than any other social networking site. However, many people had no clue about it. I would tell people about how I had people on different lists that allowed me to decide what information I wanted groups of people to see. They didn’t even know the feature existed. If you want to change yours, here is a guide to get you up to speed on how to change your Facebook privacy settings.

First Step: Put people on lists

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Facebook lists provide a way for users to group their friends for two reasons: to organize your friends and to have more control of your privacy by using these lists. I haven’t seen any restrictions on the amounts of lists that you can create. Additionally, you can place a friend in multiple lists, if you desired. Therefore, it provides Facebook users flexibility and ultimate control of their friends. It is also very user friendly andy easy to create, modify, or delete lists that it doesn’t take a Facebook expert to work with them. To create a list, login to Facebook. After you have successfully logged in, click on the Friends link above. Press the Create List button. Enter the name you wish to call your list, and you can enter the friends you want to add to that list.

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To modify, you press the Edit List button, and you are sent to the same window where you can modify the name and/or people in that list. You can also delete the list by pressing the Delete List button. Another way to add or remove friends from a list is by clicking the list arrow next to their name. A pop-up window opens up, and you can choose as many list as you want to add them to. Very quick and painless.

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Second Step: Check your profile privacy settings

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After placing everyone into lists, you want to modify your privacy settings. To do so, go to Settings and then Privacy Settings. In the Privacy Settings window, go to Profile Information. Profile Information is where you can control what people can see on your profile. The default provided to Facebook users are:

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If you are fine choosing one of the first four, then you are done. However, you can also customize who can view your profile information. This is where the lists you created in the first step come in handy. When you choose Custom, then you can select the people and networks (only the ones you are in) can view this part of your profile.  You can also hide your profile from a specific friend or friend list.

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In this area, you can also modify the privacy settings for your photo albums. If you go to Photo Albums, and press the Edit Settings, you can modify the settings for each individual photo album.

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The choices are similar to the rest of the privacy settings where you can also customize it, if you choose to.

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Step Three: Check your contact privacy settings

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In the Contact Information window, you are able to control who sees your contact information.  Modify each privacy setting in the same way that you did for your profile information. As in Step Two, you can also customize the privacy setting to your liking.

Step Four: Check what applications and web sites have access to what information

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You should always check what information applications and web sites have access to. Also, what kind of information your friends can provide about you. There is a quick guide that you can access if you press the Learn More button. If you want to modify what information your friends can share about you with third-party applications and web sites, press the Edit Settings buttons in the What your friends can share about you section. I suggest sharing as little information as possible, but it’s whatever your preference is.

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In the Blocked Applications area, you can block certain applications that you don’t want them to have access to your information whatsoever. You can also ignore application requests from specific friends.  Currently, you can only do it by typing an individual’s name. It would be nice if Facebook added the capability of ignoring an entire friend list.

Step Five: Control who can search you

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You can control who can search for your Facebook profile by going to the Search area. You can select from five choices: Everyone, Friends and Networks, Friends of Friends, and Only Friends. You can modify if search engines can pull items that you post that you label to be viewed by Everyone.

Step Six: Block people who you don’t want access to any of your information

In the Block area, you can block certain people who you don’t want them to have access to your Facebook information. Note that if you have checked the Public Search Results check box, blocked people can still view your information through a search engine.  Therefore, you should be weary as to what you have labeled for everyone to view.

Step Seven: Remember your privacy setting when posting items

If you use the Facebook bookmarklet or directly post from the site, remember to always check the privacy setting on the item your posting. On the lower-right hand corner, you will see a lock icon. If you click on it, you can modify who can view that item. One neat thing is that you can also customize the view to the way you see fit.

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Facebook provides a way to control who can view the information the way you choose to. You should now be able to modify your privacy settings with no issues.

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