It makes sense to protect your privacy online as much as possible. The problem, though, is that these days it’s hard to keep in touch with friends and family if you aren’t involved in social networking.
Indeed, social networking can be a great way to stay in contact with loved ones — especially if you want to make sure that grandma living three states away can enjoy pictures of her grandchildren. I know my mom loves being able to see pictures of my son on Facebook.
As you post images, though, it’s important to make sure that you understand your privacy options. I prefer my Facebook photos to be set to “Friends” so that only those who are actual friends of mine can see them. This protects my privacy, as well as protecting the privacy of my son.
Limiting Who Can See Your Facebook Photos
If you want to better maintain privacy on Facebook, you need to be careful about who sees your photos. First of all, Facebook now automatically uses your last setting for the privacy setting on your next image. So, if you want to protect your images going forward, just choose a particular privacy setting before uploading a new picture.
It’s also possible to set up custom Facebook privacy settings. I have gone through this process to allow my images to be seen only by Friends, but to let my status updates be seen by Friends of Friends. You can play around with custom settings to limit who sees what.
It’s even possible to put together a list of custom friends to limit which of your friends can see images. So, if you only want grandma and a few other family members to see pictures of your new baby, it’s possible to do that.
It’s a little more challenging to change the Facebook privacy settings on images that have already been posted. You either have to change them one at a time, or use an option that will apply a blanket to all your old posts. In the Privacy Settings and Tools section, you will see a “Limit Old Posts” button. Use that button to hide everything old. If you are unsure, it makes sense to choose this option, and then use your custom settings going forward.
Turn Off Location Services to Enhance Facebook Privacy Settings
Many of us, when using smart phones to take pictures, have the location services turned on. This means that when you snap a picture, the location is saved as well — and posted to Facebook.
That means if you take a picture of your adorable six-year-old at home, the location of your home will be saved with the image and uploaded to your accounts. Let that sink in for a minute.
One way to reduce the chances of your child’s location being known (whether you take the picture at home or in front of his or her school, or at a favorite playground) is to turn of the location services. Most smart phones allow you to do this in Settings.
The good news is that you don’t usually have to turn off the location services for every app. You can customize which apps are associated with location services. I’ve turned off location services for my smart phone’s camera altogether so that I don’t have to worry about it as much. However, location services is still on so that I can use my GPS and maps apps, and so that I can effectively use my stargazing app.
Take the time to customize your settings on your phone, as well as to review your Facebook privacy settings. You’ll guard better against identity theft, and better maintain what shred of online privacy you have left to you.