Saturday, 7 February 2009

Four tips on protecting your personal information on Facebook

TIP ONE - How to prevent strangers from seeing your Friend list when they search Facebook or when they click on your profile.
  1. Go to MY PROFILE
  2. Click on SETTINGS - link on the top right hand corner (next to the “Search” facility).
  3. Drop down box, click on PRIVACY
  4. Then click on SEARCH (2nd in list)
  5. You should see a check-box list. UNCHECK the MY FRIEND LIST box (and any others, you might want to do)
  6. Click on SAVE CHANGES
Beware that, if you reply to an email in Facebook, that your correspondent will be able to see your Friends for one month.

TIP TWO - How to change your general privacy settings so that only your friends (approved only by you) can see your profile [personal information about you, personal pictures etc.].
  1. Go to MY PROFILE
  2. Click on SETTINGS - link on the top right hand corner (next to the “Search” facility).
  3. Drop down box, click on PRIVACY
  4. Click on PROFILE (1st in list)
  5. I suggest you change all the drop-down box options to “Only Friends”
  6. Click SAVE CHANGES.
Your new settings are operational with immediate effect – you don’t have to sign off and then sign on again.

TIP THREE - How to set up a Limited Profile group of Friends
[A limited profile allows you to distinguish between acquaintances whom you might only like to see certain parts of that profile and real friends whom you might want to see all that you post on your site]
  1. Go to FRIENDS
  2. Click on the Make a New List button
  3. Choose a name, say “Acquaintances
  4. Select your friends whom you want to be part of the “Acquaintances” group
  5. Save the List
  6. Click on SETTINGS - link on the top right hand corner (next to the “Search” facility).
  7. Drop down box, click on PRIVACY
  8. Click on PROFILE
  9. Click on the drop down menu next to Basic Information
  10. Select CUSTOMISE
  11. Select the ONLY FRIENDS radio button and type in “Acquaintances” in the EXCEPT box
  12. Click Okay
  13. Repeat steps 10 to 12 for each of the profile drop down menus.
  14. You may like to consider setting up a number of these groups, say for "Family" or "Colleagues" and customise the settings to each of these
  15. You will need to allocate your Facebook Friends to these groups

TIP FOUR- How to limited who sees your photo albums
[This assumes that you have set up a number of photo albums]
  1. Go to the PHOTOS part of your PROFILE
  2. Click on ALBUMS
  3. Click the ALBUM PRIVACY button
  4. Using the drop down menus select who you will allow to see each album
For example, if you want one album just to be seen by your family
  1. First set up a group for your "Family" [see Tip 3 above]
  2. On the drop down menu for the photograph album, select CUSTOMISE
  3. Select the SOME FRIENDS radio button
  4. Type in "Family" in the box that appears
  5. Click OKAY

[Thanks to Steph Kirton with her help on Tips One and Two]


  1. Thank you. Even as someone who understands e-Security I found this useful. With so many settings to adjust it is hardly suprising that many peple leave their front door open. James

  2. TIP FIVE- How to avoid all the problems entirely.

    Don't use "online social networking" at all. Email is fine for communication, and Facebook shows no additional purpose.

  3. TIP SIX - Don't mix students and teachers on Facebook without a few ground rules.
    It is unlikely that teachers would be invited to be a friend on a student's "social network", yet teachers have seen fit today to comment on students' photos, comments, profiles as to whether they are "tasteful". Security tips are fine but further comments are an invasion of privacy and taste is entirely subjective.

  4. I believe that there should be clear distinctions between pupils and staff on social networking sites - see my previous blog post

    However, it is important that parents and teachers have a presence on social networking sites. These are sites for everyone, not just young people.

    I would encourage everyone to protect their privacy on Facebook. The privacy controls allow users to prevent others from commenting on Facebook pages. If Facebook users feel their privacy invaded then it is most likely that they have not taken sufficient care in setting up their site. I'm not sure that it is fair for anyone to complain when people, who have been allowed by a user to add comments, choose to do so.

  5. I thought your assembly this morning was true, so i changed my 'Privacy' settings to 'Only Friends'. Thanks a lot Mr Steed!

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