I sometimes hate acknowledging it, but Facebook changed our lives. Whether you’re a sharing animal who uploads his entire life to Facebook, or a privacy-keeping individual who generally stays quiet, some of your information is out there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to close your Facebook account. But while we have it, we need to constantly remember what it is and what its there for. Most importantly, that it’s NOT private, no matter what we do.
Using Facebook as evidence in divorce cases is an increasing phenomena. Facebook posts are even becoming common grounds for breakups. These situations are avoidable. Here are some quick Facebook tips that will help you avoid these romantic conflicts and protect your privacy (if needed).
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
We all love posting pictures on Facebook. Whether we want to show everyone how well we can photograph or we just want them to see how much fun we had wherever it was. We usually don’t think twice. But we should. Especially if there’s something to hide.
Were you having fun somewhere when you were supposed to be somewhere else? Were you enjoying the company of someone controversial? Why let the whole world see and end up in your own Facebook divorce?
Remember, even timing is important. Facebook keeps your uploading date visible to everyone who can see the album. Now try to explain that the event actually took place two years ago but you only decided to upload pictures now.
Don’t be fooled by privacy settings – if you upload those pictures, they might reach the wrong person. So just don’t.
How Tags Work
Did someone else upload pictures of you? You can regain some control over tags in your privacy settings under “How Tags Work”.
Facebook recently added a tag suggestions feature. This means that when your friends upload pictures of you (or not of you), they could be prompted by Facebook to tag you in those pictures. Facebook is only trying to help of course, but what if you don’t want to be tagged in every single party picture out there?
Go to your tags settings and do the following things:
- Disable tag suggestions – don’t let Facebook suggest you in picture that “look like you”.
- Enable tag review – authorize tags of you before they are published.
- Disable “Friends can check you into places” – because why should they be able to?
From here you can also choose who can see posts you’re tagged in. This will increase your control over the fact that people can just share things about you with everyone. It can still happen, of course, but at least you can limit it.
It’s surprising to see how many people hold private conversations on their walls. It’s as if people forget that their wall is not only visible to all their friends, but sometimes to all of their friends’ friends, if not worse.
Not everything is meant for the public eye. No matter what, don’t “message” your friends using the wall. If you understand this but your friends are a bit behind, you can control who posts on your wall:
In your account menu go to “Privacy Settings”, scroll down to “How You Connect” and click Edit Settings.
Here you can block the option to post on your wall entirely, and this is exactly what I did. Even if you have nothing to hide, why should other people be able to post whatever they want on your wall? From here you can also control who can see your wall posts, but remember, even if it’s only visible to friends, someone can share it.
Facebook’s ability to hide certain activities is existent, if somewhat lacking. If you want to remove from your profile all traces of comment activity (i.e., your comments on other people’s pictures), friending activity (who you become friends with) and/or wall activity (what you post on other people’s walls) – there’s an easy way to do this.
Note that this will remove the posts from your profile page, but not always from the news feed itself. So you can’t completely hide everything, but you can prevent it from being permanently stuck to your wall.
To do this, choose an activity on your wall and click the “X” icon on its right. You will now be able to remove this post individually, or hide all comment/friending/wall activity. If you choose to hide some of these, your profile page should gain at least some privacy.
Don’t Fall For New “Privacy” Options
The latest hit from Facebook is the ability to decide who will be able to see each and every post (Google+ circles, anyone?). Don’t fall for it. Even if you feel like you really need to vent your anger or frustration – Facebook is not the platform.
Remember that even if you set it so only a few chosen friends can see it, the minute they comment on it, all their friends might be able to see it. And they can always share it, whether by good or bad intentions.
No matter how comfortable Facebook tries to make us feel, it’s important to remember that this is a sharing platform. Don’t share what you don’t necessarily want everyone to know.
These tips may appear trivial to some, but it’s surprising to me how many people forget how public Facebook is. It’s best not to have anything to hide from your partner of course, but keeping these simple privacy rules can prevent unnecessary conflicts – no one likes to find out something important on Facebook.
And remember, even if you go all the way and block someone, they might be able to see your activities if other friends comments on them or share them.
What do you think? Should people prevent crises by extra-guarding their privacy, or does it beat the purpose of Facebook? Should people just share what they like and deal with the consequences if the wrong person finds out? Share your opinion in the comments.
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