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Facebook Privacy: Keeping Up with the Constant Changes
By: wubayou
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    Facebook never seems to stay put when it comes to shuffling around its site’s features. As new features and functionality come into play on the social network, privacy can be affected. Here are some recent changes you should be aware of to ensure that your privacy level is not compromised.

    Keep Your Subscription Settings As-is

    The subscribe feature was implemented by Facebook to give users that ability to view updates from others without having to actually friend them.  If you subscribe to a person, their public updates will appear in your news feed, which seems like a good idea for those who want to see what their favorite celebs have to say.  The average Joe, however, probably does not want strangers to see their updates.  By default, your profile will not be open to subscription from non-friends.  You can change this if you are willing to let outsiders in on the action, but just beware that your privacy will not be at its highest level.  On the flip side, if you subscribe to a person and comment on one of their updates, photos, etc. your related commenting or actions will be viewable as well, so be careful.

    Watch Your Friends Lists

    Facebook instituted the capability to group your friends into different lists for better organization.  This is particularly handy if you have a lot of friends and want to group them according to their affiliation to you.  For instance, you can place people into lists for Family, Close Friends, Acquaintances, etc.  It’s important to remember to group your friends wisely, as they will be able to view similar information as others in their respective lists.  Thus, if you make work related posts that are visible to co-workers, make sure it’s not something you want to hide from your employer.  Also, if a friend adds you to their co-workers list, you will get a notification asking you to confirm whether or not you work at that location.  You can ignore it to not disclose such info, which is a good choice if you prefer to keep your Facebook information out of the watchful eyes of your boss.

    Block Facial Recognition Used in Tag Suggestions

    Facebook’s somewhat new facial recognition feature enables technology that saves time when tagging photos.  Referred to as tag suggestions, the feature will suggest adding your tag when a friend uploads photos if the technology detects your presence through facial recognition.  It won’t automatically add the tag and your friend has the option to ignore the suggestion, but the simple fact that your name will be constantly publicized and suggested while uploading photos is probably something you want to avoid if you value your privacy.

    The facial recognition feature is enabled by default, but you can disable it by going to your profile’s privacy settings.  Click on Edit Settings under the How Tags Work section, and click on Tag Suggestions.  Select Disabled from the drop-down menu.  While this does eliminate any automatic suggestions to your uploading friends, they will still have the option to tag you in photos manually.

    Remove Summary Information Used for Tag Suggestions

    Keeping with the tag suggestions theme, removing your summary information is another step towards increased privacy on Facebook.  The social network uses summary information that essentially compares photos to help enhance the tagging experience.  Friends will receive suggestions on tagging you, and photos can also be grouped according to such information on file. 

    Removing summary information takes a bit more effort, as you will have to contact Facebook directly.  This is done via the Help Center under the Facebook Basics section.  You should see a topic on how to remove summary information, which contains a direct link to the request.  Once finished, the info will be removed, but any existing tags will remain and your friends will still be able to tag you manually.

    Limit Your Chat Availability

    Facebook’s chat function offers a nice integrated avenue for quick chats with friends.  When Facebook announced the availability of video chat, the social network upped its functionality even more.  Of course, adding another way to connect with others also means privacy becomes more at risk.  Luckily, you can limit your video chat availability to only a select set of Facebook members.  This will help to ensure that you don’t begin to receive requests for video calls from everyone in your friends list.

    Limiting your chat availability is simple to do.  Begin by clicking on the chat section in the bottom right-hand corner of your profile.  Once it is maximized, click on the small gear icon to see your adjustable settings.  Click on the Limit Availability option.  In the drop-box in the new window, there will be two options.  The first is Make me unavailable to, which lets you choose which groups of friends you want to block from video chatting.  The second option of Only make me available to lets you elect the groups of friends you want to video chat with.  After making your selection, click on the boxes of friends that you want to limit availability to, and click Okay.  You will now be able to enter chat without having to worry about unwanted video chat requests. 



    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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