7 Essential Facebook Safety Tips

7 Essential Facebook Safety Tips

Social media is everywhere. Even my mom and dad, who were initially wary of sharing their lives online, now have Facebook accounts. While it’s a habit to open up the Facebook app on your phone to check your News Feed multiple times a day, how often do you tweak your privacy settings?  The next time you open Facebook, take the following precautions to be sure that you’re sharing what you want, with who you want.

Perform a privacy check

Over the years, Facebook has worked to improve its customized safety options. While the default settings are pretty secure, it’s important to ask yourself this question: “if someone I don’t know searches for me on Facebook, what will they see?” Check your settings and see what you are sharing with people.  

  Make sure your profile is not public. "Friends" should be the default, but do a quick check to be sure.

Make sure your profile is not public. "Friends" should be the default, but do a quick check to be sure.

Review posts you’re tagged in

Have you ever been tagged in a friend’s status or photo that you didn’t want to be included in? Instead of allowing people to tag me, I always review the tag before it appears on my timeline. This is a great feature if you have a friend who just won’t stop including you in status updates. Rather than "defriend" this person, simply allow yourself to choose what you want to share on your timeline.

  If you feel like you're being bothered by someone, either turn on your ability to review tags, or don't allow others to see posts or left by others on your timeline.

If you feel like you're being bothered by someone, either turn on your ability to review tags, or don't allow others to see posts or left by others on your timeline.

Don’t accept all friend requests

I can’t tell you how many strange friend requests I’ve received over the years. My rule is: If I don’t know you personally, you will not be my Facebook friend. Another thing to watch out for are “celebrity” friend requests—it’s best to decline these requests and report the user to Facebook.

  If you are getting too many friend requests, you can tailor your settings to determine who can send them.

If you are getting too many friend requests, you can tailor your settings to determine who can send them.

Speaking of friends…

Have you ever accidentally accepted a friend request from someone you don’t know? I have.  While it’s great to have tons of friends on Facebook, you don’t want a stranger to have access to your personal information. Every 3 months or so, I take a look at my list of friends. I am always surprised to see a handful of people I don’t know. Defriend these people.

Clean up old posts

How long have you had Facebook? I signed up very early on, so much of what I was posting to my timeline in the mid-2000s is outdated or (if I’m being honest) kind of embarrassing. Take a look at your older photos and status updates and delete anything that doesn’t represent who you are today. Note: Facebook has no easy way to “mass delete” old posts so this will take a while.   

Think before you post

How many times a day do you share a thought, photo, or check-in on Facebook?  Furthermore, what kind of content are you sharing? We all have that one friend with a bad case of TMI, and while sharing is the point of social media, make sure you share responsibly. If you have a lot to say, consider starting a blog—it can very rewarding. J  

Most importantly…

Don’t ever share your personal financial information with ANYONE on Facebook. No matter how tight your privacy settings are this information should always stay safely offline.

Next week we’ll tackle how to help keep your kids safe on social media. Stay tuned.

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