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Facebook Privacy Hoax {and the Top 3 Ways to Set Boundaries and Protect your Privacy on Facebook)

Facebook Privacy Hoax

Shocking I know, but sadly, yes, this is a HOAX. I am talking about this silly message that is flying around Facebook at the moment and is probably the status message of many of your friends (and maybe yours too)….

WARNING!!! FACEBOOK HAS CHANGED THEIR PRIVACY SETTINGS ONCE MORE!!! DUE TO THE NEW “GRAPH APP” ANYONE ON FACEBOOK (INCLUDING OTHER COUNTRIES) CAN SEE YOUR PICTURES, LIKES, AND COMMENTS. The next 2 weeks I will be posting this, and please once you have done it please post DONE! Those of you who do not keep my information from going out to the public, I will have to DELETE YOU! I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. I post shots of my family that I don’t want strangers to have access to!!! This happens when our friends click “like” or “comment”… automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it that way. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (DO NOT CLICK), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “LIFE EVENTS” and “COMMENTS & LIKES”. By doing this, my activity among my friends and family will no longer become public. Now, copy and paste this on your wall. Once I see this posted on your page, I will do the same……

This is not real. This is not Facebook. But if you have posted this message as your status, don’t be ashamed, it is easy to fall for this sort of thing. The facts sound so real and the consequences so dramatic. However this is someone’s sick idea of fun & games and it’s got millions of people scrambling to change their settings this week then proceeding to unfriend people that have not done so. This is a variation of another hoax that also went viral a few months ago.

The fact is, Facebook’s latest Graph Feature does not make any of your personal data public at all. The instructions given here are also incorrect. All you would be doing by following these steps above is unsubscribing yourself from your Friends’ “life events” and “comments & likes” and these will no longer appear in your News Feed. This defeats the purpose of being “Friends” with that person in the first place so the person that started this scam is just leading you up the garden path and mucking with your News Feed….

So why do folks spread these sorts of Hoaxes? Unfortunately, there are certain individuals out there that like to create mayhem and confusion, who have little else to do with their time, and who probably suffer megalomania-type symptoms. Seriously, folks who make it their life’s work spread email viruses and Facebook hoaxes have a lot to answer for.

Which brings me to my next point. There are only three ways to protect your data on Facebook…..

Top 3 Tips to Set Boundaries and Protect your Privacy on Facebook…

1. Update your Privacy Setting to “Friends Only”. To do this, go into your Personal Profile,  click on the little wheel on the top right hand corner of your screen then click on privacy settings. You can edit all your settings there to be “Friends only” or “friends of friends”. You can also leave your data public if privacy is a non-issue to you.

2. The only other way to stay private on Facebook, is to get off Facebook. This is the internet, and at the end of the day, all the data you enter will be used by Facebook in one way or another.

This practice is called “Data Mining” and has been common since the Internet was invented. Google uses Data Mining everyday when it serves up Ads to you in little yellow boxes. So if privacy concerns you, you need to seriously consider getting off the Internet all together. I hear that a whole swag of reliable carrier pigeons are going cheap to a good home?

3. Setting Boundaries on Facebook. Now may be a good time to re-assess the boundaries between what parts of your life are okay to be public, and how much of your life needs to be private. And while you’re at it, you may want to consider which data everyone sees including your acquaintances, and which data you want only your close friends to see…

You can be negative about Facebook and fearful about the privacy of your data. Or you can Just Set Boundaries. Be clear. Make a decision and stick to it. Perhaps a bit of “Online Housekeeping” may be in order….

Online Housekeeping: a Few Things to Consider when Setting Boundaries on Facebook…

  • If you don’t want your kids photos all over the web and potentially getting into the hands of paedophiles (I certainly don’t), then don’t post your kids’ photos on Facebook. Just make it a rule, your rule. Either you will or you won’t post your kids’ photos. Simple.
  • If you don’t want Facebook to know that you are a shop-a-holic so that they stop serving you “shopping” related advertisements, then stop talking continuously about shopping. Be Mindful about what you talk about, because everything you say online is being kept in a database.
  • If you are not comfortable with a certain person seeing any of your posts, then unfriend them. Collecting as many friends as you can so that you can have a big friend-count is childish. Only be friends on Facebook with the people that you like in real life.
  • Which brings me to my next point, don’t accept a friend request from someone you don’t actually know in real life. If you want Facebook to be a private, personal and meaningful place for you online, then keep it that way, simply don’t allow people into your circle that you don’t know.
  • If you want to be friends with your parent or child on Facebook, but don’t want them to see everything you did last weekend, then create a different list for those that are close to you (the ones that you are happy to see everything you do). To do this, go to your list of Friends, then scroll down the list to the person that you want to limit what they see of you, hover over the “Friends” button to the right of their name (don’t click it, just hover) and tick whether the person is a close friend, acquaintance or whether you want to add them to another list. To create another list, click on “Add to another list” and add a new list there. Then every time you post, before you click “Post”, choose who you want to see what you post by changing the privacy option to the left of the post button… Take the time to set some boundaries then enjoy the freedom this gives you.
  • If you don’t want anyone (or Facebook for that matter) to know which school or high school you went to, or where you last worked, then make these fields blank. It’s your choice whether your data is placed into a database or not. You don’t have to have a valid reason for removing this data. Just do whatever feels comfortable to you.
  • If you don’t want anyone (or Facebook) to know your age, sex or marital status, then remove these fields too. Similarly, if you don’t want anyone to know what music or movies you are in to, you can remove these too.  These are not mandatory fields. The only pieces of data Facebook needs from you is your name and email address. Anything else is a bonus.
  • You don’t need to upload photos of yourself or your family either. There is no rule to say we have to see your holiday pics, family pics, work pics, what you cooked last night or what you had for breakfast. YOU CHOOSE what you upload onto Facebook. You have full control over the data you post.
  • The bottom line is, there is no-one making you use an online system to stay in touch with your friends and family. Facebook openly admits they use your data to serve ads back at you. I don’t have a problem with how Facebook uses my data, but I only reveal a tiny fragment of my life on Facebook. The rest of my life is private and I like it that way. Therefore if you are not comfortable with Facebook’s terms and conditions, then the solution is simple, don’t use their system. Facebook is just a computer system after all and it is your choice to use it every time you log in.

And if all of these privacy issues on Facebook irkle you, then there is nothing wrong with good old-fashioned email to stay in touch with friends. Or there is another option, step away from technology and catch up for coffee instead. Old-School I know.

Soy Chai Latte anyone?

To discover more of what to do and what not to do on your Facebook for Business Page, the next Facebook MasterClass starts soon in Bangalow. This is a 3-day Intensive and Interactive Workshop with stepping you through the 10-step process to build a successful Facebook Page. The Workshop is run at the beautiful SummerHills Retreat Byron Bay. For more info or to book your seat, click here…. If 1-on-1 is more your style, I can help you progress further with a personal session and to enquire about a coaching session click here. Or if you prefer to discover at your own pace, my book contains a 10-step method to help you get rocking on your Facebook Business Page, to purchase the book click here….

Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

And I would be as happy as a buzzing bee in a field of blooming flowers if you shared this post with your friends in your favourite online playground. Thank you xx

With Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Strategist, Author, Speaker & Social Media Business Specialist

{Photo Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net}