Facebook Graph Search is here, and with it’s official and universal rollout, Facebook users are nervous – feeling a surge of anxiety, again, regarding their Facebook Privacy. Every single time that Facebook releases an update, for some reason there is an influx of wrongly associated Memes and Copy-and-Paste Status Updates. I cam across an interesting one this morning making the rounds:
“You all know that Facebook has changed its privacy configuration once again. Thanks to the new “Graphic app,” any person in Facebook anywhere in the world can see our photos, our “likes” and our “comments.” “
The Facebook status update goes on to say that “those of my friends who do not maintain my information in private will be eliminated from my list of friends, because I want the information I share with you, my friends, to remain among my friends and not be available to the world.”
And it continues to provide detailed instructions on how this person’s Facebook Friends need to follow a set of steps on their personal Facebook Page to ensure their personal Comments and Likes will “no longer be made public.”
This kind of thing really frustrates me, and I’ll tell you why – Facebook users love to hate Facebook. They love to complain about privacy settings, and yet they refuse to see past the myth and look to the reality. In most of these situations, the very people who are afraid of Facebook privacy are the very people who are unaware of how to secure their Facebook privacy. Instead, they promote these false fears. So, I’m here to give you the facts, and nothing but the facts.
Internet Privacy and Big Data
Did you know that Google tracks your every click? Did you know that the purchases you make on your debit or credit card is not only tracked, but categorized into Big Data for marketing purposes? Did you know that any time you use a brand loyalty card (Target, Fry’s) your product purchase, prices, date and time are also categorized for marketing purposes? Everything from the food you buy to the books you read to the vacations you take to the street you live on to the income you make and the amount of kids you have is quantified for remarketing. And you’re concerned with something you post on Facebook?
In fact, just last year Facebook teamed up with Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon – companies that specialize in collecting this Big Data – to offer greater targeting options to Facebook Advertisers. I personally use this Big Data in every single Ad campaign that I run for clients. I can literally target a demographic by zip code, age, sex, family status, shopping habits, interests, activity habits, hobbies, and so much more.
Privacy does not exist. Even if you spend cash on every item and refuse to use the internet (even if you use the internet at the library you most often need a library card, directly connected to you personally), your habits can still be tracked.
How to Set Your Facebook Privacy
With all of that said, there are specific and realistic things that you can do to protect your privacy on Facebook after the Facebook Graph Search update.
Step 1 – Find your Privacy Settings in the upper-right-hand corner of Facebook.
We’re digging deep, so click on See More Settings.
Step 2 – Set your Future Posts Privacy by selecting how each status update from here on out will be seen. For example, I currently have all status updates set to Custom, where all Business Lists are blocked as well as Restricted Lists. This will restrict all future status updates to a specific set of Friends. This will be the default when you update your status.
Step 3 – You can Review all posts using the Activity Log, which is where we go next. Click on Use Activity Log. This page shows you absolutely everything that you have posted throughout your Facebook time, as well as what you’ve been tagged in, what photos you’ve posted, which comments and pages you’ve Likes, the comments you’ve made in the past, and so much more. This is the money load when it comes to your Facebook Privacy! This is where you have complete control of everything.
I suggest you go down the list and set the privacy controls for each and every Post, Comment, Like, Photo, and anything else that might be on there. If you want the world to see it, set it to public. If you want only your friends or specific friend lists to see certain activities, change those privacy settings.
If you have Liked a friends status update that was perhaps, let’s say inappropriate, and you don’t want future employers or current clients to see that Like, simply alter it with the Activity Log.
Step 4 – This is where you will Limit your Past Posts to make them invisible to Facebook Graph Search. Any posts that you have made in the past will instantly become only visible to your Friends. I suggest doing this.
Step 5 – Click on Timeline and Tagging on the left-hand-site of the Privacy page. This is where the settings are located for what will appear on your Timeline, what other people are allowed to put on your Timeline, how Tagged photos are handled, and much more. As you can see, many of my settings are controlled by Custom, which means that I have absolute authority over who sees my Timeline items.
Final Step – Finally, you’ll want to go to your profile and select the Friends tab. Notice in the upper-right an edit box. This is where you will edit who can see your Friends and your Followers. I suggest customizing this as well.
There you have it! With the new Facebook Graph Search, I recommend taking about 15 to 30 minutes to review your Facebook Privacy settings. While there truly is no such thing as privacy online, Facebook does offer a variety of options, giving you complete control over who sees what on Facebook.
My best advice, however, is this – if you don’t want people seeing your posts, your family photos, your interests or Likes, don’t put them online.