Everything You Wanted To Know About Facebook Privacy Issues

Facebook Privacy Issues

Facebook has been at the face of many, many controversies over the years. Among the biggest complaints come from privacy advocates, who have two issues of which they take umbrage: how much information the social network shares with third parties, and how complicated they make their privacy terms and services.

These two points have been brought up again and again, and criticism hasn’t stopped with changes in those policies. If anything, they got worse until the very recent move by Facebook to create an interactive, step by step walk through of their privacy settings, policies, and how the website uses and presents your information.

For the first time, those same critics have stated that Facebook is finally taking steps in the right direction, using their easier to read format. So far, this is only a guide to privacy basics. But they are promising an additional amendment that will be easy to understand in the New Year, for all users around the world.

In the meantime, here is a breakdown of all of your privacy settings, what information you are exposing by agreeing to their terms, and how to lock down your account to be more secure.

What Facebook Takes From You

Everything you post there. When you sign up for Facebook, you are agreeing that you have no real privacy from the site itself. It will take your information as demographics, and it will sell those demographics to third party advertising and marketing companies. These companies will use that information to sell things back to you, do product research, etc.

This has always been the case, and with Facebook now one of the primary social advertising networks on the web, it is even more pervasive than ever before. Ads will be targeted toward your interests, or just your gender, age, location, sexual preference, familial status, and other elements of your personality, based on where you have been on the web.

This happens on pretty much every site, anywhere on the internet. It is anonymous, so no agencies are seeing who is providing the information they are using.

You can stop Facebook from using your preferences in advertising, but it has to be turned off manually. This will not prevent sponsored ads or ads in general from showing up on your account or featured posts from random groups and brands on Facebook.

To control these features, go to the arrow in the right-hand top corner of your account and click “Settings”. On the left-hand side will be a menu going down the page. Click on “Ads”. You will be able to change the settings on “Third Party Sites, Ads and Friends”, and “Ads Based On Your Use Of Websites Or Apps Off Facebook”. This last one you can opt out of across the whole site, through a single order.

Basic and Advanced Privacy Settings

There are other Facebook privacy issues that you need to be concerned about, rather than just how advertisers use your anonymous data. We will go through each of those main areas now. Access them all through Settings.

Security

Security

Here, you can get alerts about anyone logging into your account from a new device or browser, set up your phone so it has an extra layer of protection that requires verification, generate security codes, set different passwords for apps, pick contacts you trust to help you regain control of your account if you are locked out, save browsers as the ones you use most, see where you are currently logged in (from what devices), and log out remotely.

You can also deactivate your account.

Privacy

Privacy

Here, you are able to decide who can see what you post, review all posts you are tagged in, limit posts you have already shared, decide who can contact you, and how, decide who can search for you by email, phone, or search engine. All of this gives you more control over your content and who can access it, whether it is old, new or future posts.

Timeline and Tagging

Timeline And Tagging

Here, you can say who is allowed to post to your wall, allow tagged posts to show on your Timeline with, or without, manual review and authorization, see how others view content on your Timeline under current settings, decide who can see or review posts you have been tagged in through your Timeline, control tag suggestions, tags added after content has already been posted, and who can see what in the event of later tagging.

Blocking

Blocking

Here, you have two main areas related to users. The first is your Restricted List. You can add friends to this list that limits what they are able to see of your posted content. Only posts made Public will be accessible to them. They will not know that you have restricted their access, as Facebook doesn’t tell them.

The second area is a list of people you have blocked, which can be removed there. Under this, you can block people from sending you app invites (in cases of those friends who won’t stop trying to get you to play Candy Crush), block apps, or block pages.

Followers

Followers

This is the last section that would technically be listed as a privacy setting, though you can customize a number of other things in your Settings area. It will control who can follow you, and so see the information you post.

By default, this is your friends. But you can choose to let others do so without adding you. It turns your profile into something more like a page, and opens it up while still giving you control over individual posts, images, and other content you share.

View As

View as

To see what your profile looks like to a specific person, or to the public, go to your profile, click on the ‘…’ button under your Timeline cover, and select “View As…” From there, you can select whether you want to see your profile as a public user or a specific user on your friends list.

Conclusion

Knowing who can see what, and how your information is viewed and shared, is important for anyone who uses Facebook. Currently, the privacy policies are still complicated and leave a lot to be desired. Hopefully, Facebook is true to their word and make it more accessible and easy to understand in 2015.

Until then, you can at least lock things down tight, and keep strangers from learning too much about you.

Have you been impacted adversely by Facebook privacy issues?

Let us know your experience by leaving a comment below.

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By Jessy Troy

Jessy Troy is the social media enthusiast and reporter tweeting as @JessyTroy

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