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Have you been giving your stalkers your address inadvertently? Take a look and find out.
Even if you think you’ve got all your privacy settings properly in place on Facebook, you may be surprised to find a big privacy breach in the form of your Facebook Places map. What’s even scarier is that if you’re using your smartphone to upload photos you might accidentally be giving all of your Facebook friends the exact location of your house, your office and where your kids go to school. It might be worth checking this out.
What’s On Your Facebook Map?
Your Places map has all sorts of information on it, including photos with a tagged location, any updates you or your friends tagged you in with a tagged location, plus the location of anything Facebook knows about you. For instance, on my map you can see a little academic cap marking where I got my degree. It’s quite scary how much information people could piece together with all these locations put together on a map.
Basic Map Removal
If this has you worried, the first thing you might do is to hide your map. It’s a start, anyway. To simply turn off your map, head to your About page and scroll down until you find Places, or follow this link:
Click on the pencil icon to edit the section and choose “Hide this section”. You can also get rid of the map by heading to your About page on your timeline, clicking the pencil edit button, choosing “Manage Sections” and un-checking the Places section. This is also how you’d get the map back.
Why Hiding The Map Isn’t Enough
As you might well guess, hiding this map doesn’t actually remove your map from Facebook. It merely makes it a little more difficult to see as it is no longer on your About page. Any real stalker will know that they can still go to the map by the direct URL and see what’s on it. For instance:
So, on the off-chance that you have a real stalker out there, it would be best to actually remove any location data from photos that are in sensitive places and clean this map up. It’s a good idea to remove location data from photos at your house, friends’ houses, workplaces, schools, favourite parks, favourite cafés and the like. Basically remove the data from anywhere you want yourself and your family to be able to go to regularly with safety.
Stop Sending Location Data With Photos
The next step is to take a look at your Facebook app on your smartphone and tell it to upload photos without any GPS locations attached. This is different for every app and phone OS, so you may need to rummage around in the settings until you find it.
For the standard Android app, choose the photo you want to upload, and when you get to a screen much like a regular Facebook update you can choose the privacy of that update. If you hover over the place icon in this screen you’ll be able to remove (or add) location data for the photo.
It’s also possible to sync photos automatically using this app, but the best privacy move if you’re using this is to set the privacy settings for your entire “Mobile Uploads” album. Note though, this won’t stop the location data being uploaded. I believe the situation using an iPhone is much the same, though there are other apps available for Facebook users that work differently.
Do this again every time you start using a new app for Facebook on your phone. I would also go so far as to turn GPS off whenever I am near my house, so the location of those photos is always a little vague.
Another thing you should do while in your Facebook app’s settings is to disable your Messenger location services, which automatically reveal your location to anyone you chat with through the app.
Limit Who Can Tag You
Head to the “Timeline and Tagging” section of your privacy settings, then change it so that only your friends can tag you. Also change the settings to limit who can see the posts you’re tagged in. Then make sure you set tagging review options so that everything needs to be reviewed before it’s posted to your timeline. This way, no-one else can give away your locations for you.
Cleaning Up Your Location Data
Go through your photos and make sure the albums and photos don’t give away specific location information (be sure to include photos you are tagged in by friends). Also, go through your activity log and review all the posts you’ve been tagged in, removing or reducing the visibility of tagged posts as you see fit.
Personally, I think that your physical location is one of the most important things to keep private on social media. Wherever possible, keep things vague and not precisely up-to-date.
How do you keep your location safe on social networks?