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To all my contacts, friends, I request that: With the recent changes in FB, now one can see things from people who are not in your contacts list. Just because a contact of yours makes a comment or “likes” in some activity of that person. I do not want people to contact me, and would like that they not read and see all my comments and stuff. But I can not change this myself because facebook has configured it this way. But you can do it for me. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (do not click), a window will appear and move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. Click “COMMENTS & LIKE” and it would thereby remove the CHECK. By doing this my activity amongst my friends and my family does not become public. A Thousand Thanks! Paste this on your wall for your contacts, if you care about your privacy.

The message above has circulated within Facebook several months back and is again proliferating. As we can see it provides instructions on how one’s friends in FB can help a user protect his privacy by following the said instructions.

This is bullcr*p. This is based on an old Facebook setup, and contrary to what the most privacy paranoids may believe, Facebook does attempt to give its users a bit of control over what one’s “Friends” see. How to circumvent privacy issues involved in what FB does for its income in marketing is totally different and is not covered by this tirade/instructional guide.

First of all, the instructions in the quoted area above, while precise, may not work to the requestor’s benefit, because people hate following instructions because they hate instructions because they just want to click around in FB to see what’s up with their family and (so-called) friends.

Secondly, it puts the responsibility of protecting the one’s privacy in the hands of people who don’t know how to follow instructions, or really don’t care.

Third, not all of one’s friends will see the request. With the speed at which one’s newsfeed updates these days, especially if one has more than 50 “friends” one’s newsfeed can run like a treadmill with Stephen Kiprotich on it.

So, what to do? Read this article by Jared Moya on Zeropaid.com, which gives simple but precise instructions on how to use customized friends lists on Facebook to limit the audience of your status updates, photos, and notes.

After you’ve followed the steps he details and have set your default privacy for posts etc. you can check the results on your timeline itself.

If you’re already in Timeline, this is how to check how your “re-classified” friends see your Facebook posts, photos and whatever. Just under your cover pic, to the right, you have the buttons “Update info” and “Activity log.” To the right of Activity log, you have a gear icon and a down arrow. Clicking on the down arrow will give you two options, “View As…” and “Add a badge to your site.”

Click on “View As…”

After you have done that, look to the upper left corner of your browser screen, under the Facebook logo, just above the cover pic.

If you scroll down your Facebook timeline while in this mode, you will see how the public, meaning people who are not your friends but have somehow found their way to your timeline, by clicking on a common friend’s link or something similar.

But if you enter a friend’s name into the box provided — a friend who is NOT in the customized friends list that you have set as default — you will see what that friend will see if he/she/it were on your timeline page.

Try it and compare it to what you actually see, when you click on the “Back to Timeline” button to the right.

Note that this only applies to posts that you have reclassifed. You can go back as far as you would like to reclassify every post you’ve ever made, OR you can set older posts visibility. You can read about stricter privacy controls on Facebook here.

And there you go — restricting who sees your own content may help reduce stress. And inadvertent intrusions on your privacy.

How to Protect Your Facebook Privacy (2012)

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One thought on “How to Protect Your Facebook Privacy (2012)

  1. thank you! this is truly informative. if i have enough time one day, i’ll go try it all out, to reduce stress from unwanted stuff in FB. 😀

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