What the Tech: Facebook privacy

If you’re on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’re sharing information with people you’d rather not: where you live, what your kids look like, where you work, when you’re gone on vacation.

The way Facebook works is if you don’t take steps to protect your privacy, anyone can find it easily.

Next time you’re on Facebook, take a minute to see what you look like. Namely, what people see when they go to your account. 

Click next to the tab that says “view activity log” and select “view as,” and “public.” That lets you see what the rest of the world sees when they find your Facebook page. That information is available to anyone — not just Facebook users, but anyone on the Internet — unless you change it.

A globe icon next to a photo or post you’ve published means everyone can see it, while a icon of two people means only your friends can. Public is the default setting, but you can change it. 

In Facebook’s privacy settings, change “who can see my stuff” to “friends. If you’ve shared everything publicly and want to reel some of that information back in, you can limit the audience for past posts. You can go back, post by post, clicking “edit” along the way to make the change.

Or you can do it all at once. Back in “privacy settings,” under the “who can see my stuff” section. limit the audience for posts you’ve shared. Then, click “limit old posts.” Only friends and people tagged in the photos will be able to see your history of posts.

There are two things that Facebook requires to be public: your cover photo and your profile photo. You can’t make those private.

Of course, there’s a balance. You want to be social, but maybe not with everybody. And you probably want your real-world friends to still be able to find you on Facebook, but it’s been around for a long time now. Is it possible that everyone you’d want to find you already has?

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