Facebook is an Internet website that provides free services to its users. Advertisers pay to advertise on this site therefore users acknowledge that in exchange for a free service they will be solicited to. The service that Facebook offers is to be a means by which individuals can meet or keep in touch online. Facebook profiles can be personalized by individual users, pictures, messages, contact information, etc., are all exchanged on Facebook. Originally Facebook began as a means for professors and student to better get to know each other. Now, individuals use Facebook as a corporate tool or to keep in contact mainly with High School or college age kids.
As with any Internet site, Facebook is not immune to the influences of hackers or identity thieves who are looking to obtain the information of others to use for their own personal gain. It is therefore important to know about security and privacy settings and to do all that is possible to protect yourself from predators. The following is a brief tutorial of some of the things that you will need to be sure to do while using Facebook to ensure that your privacy is as protected as possible.
Blocking people and protecting your contact info — Facebook only allows you to block access to your profile from individuals that you can identify by name. In order to block certain people from seeing your profile you will need to enter that person’s name on the “privacy” page and search for them. Once the search engine has found the person that you intend to block all that you do is select the box that says “block person.” You can protect your contact info by going to the “privacy” page and following the link to the setting that is labeled “profile.” Once in the profile section, scroll down the menu and select the “contact information” option. Drop down menus will allow you to control who sees your list of contact names, phone numbers and addresses.
Create a “Limited Profile” — Facebook has a unique security feature called a “Limited Profile.” A limited profile is privacy tool that users have that allow them to limit certain people from having a full view of your profile. Those who are only being granted limited access to your profile will not be told that they only have a limited view of your profile. To set up a limited profile you will need to go to the privacy page once you have logged into your account at the Facebook website. From the privacy page click on the settings link that says “Limited Profile Settings.” You will then be directed to a page where you can select the things that will be included in your limited profile. This is done by checking or un-checking boxes that show the display options of your profile. If this security feature were to be left at its default setting everything would be included in your limited profile.
Personal information — Personal information in the wrong hands can be devastating. Not only would thieves try to take advantage of you monetarily but even more dangerous predators with more physical motives could obtain information about your whereabouts if you are not careful. It is never a good idea to make any of your contact information known to anyone but the select few individuals that you have specifically granted access to. If Facebook is a business tool, make sure that your business has a generic address that you can use instead of your home address. Too often teens who use these profile sites are cavalier in what they decide to share with complete strangers. The truth of the matter is that you have no way of knowing for sure who is on the other end of the instant message; it could be someone completely different than what they would have you believe. Protect your information and the information of those that you know.