Social Networking and your Personal Information
With the increase in social networking popularity, it is very important to be aware of how to secure your personal information. Most social networking sites will have options for you to define your own security or privacy settings. These setting should be reviewed periodically, to make sure you are aware of what information is being shared and how. At times, these social network sites can be changed or upgraded which could affect how your personal information is made available on the internet.
Facebook, currently the largest social networking site with over 800 million accounts, has recently been adding new features and functionality. One new feature on Facebook is the Timeline. The Timeline is a collection or aggregation of your personal information and postings, organized in a date time order. It is a digital scrapbook that includes old postings, photos, updates, and can also include what you are listening to, watching, or reading. You can manage what is on your timeline, and remove items that you may not want to share.
The Ticker is a sidebar that immediately shows Facebook updates from your friends. Their updates don't always appear in your news feed as soon as they make them. But with the Ticker, their updates will appear in real time for you. You can click on any update to comment, Like, or share the entry.
Facebook encourages even more public sharing, from what you’ve watched on Netflix, to what you’ve listened to on Spotify, to what you’ve read in The Washington Post. You no longer have to Like something to share it - in many cases, that will happen automatically. Many apps and web services will now have permission to post to your profile or timeline automatically, but only if you tell them to. Read the sharing terms carefully before installing new apps.
Remember, all of your friends can see information about you on your Facebook page – and possibly more than you thought (Friends of Friends) if you have not taken a closer look at some of the new features of Facebook. Take advantage of Facebook’s newly tweaked privacy settings to limit their view. You can also do this on an application-specific basis under “Apps and Websites”.
As the new features in Facebook are implemented, you have a limited amount of time to adjust your privacy settings before the content is made visible! In fact, you only have one week to adjust your past posts and privacy settings before your Timeline is live for everyone to see. Here are a few recommended actions to protect your information on Facebook:
- Make your posts available to Friends-Only: In your privacy settings--- select "limit the audience for past posts"
- Limit the posts by others on your Timeline: This limits visibility to comments posted to your wall by your friends. Go to the privacy settings page-- select Edit Settings (next to How you connect)--selec the drop down menu next to "who can see posts by others on your timeline" and choose Custom. Enter the name of the people or the lists that you want to exclude from viewing posts on your wall by others.
- Edit every post manually: although this is quite time consuming, you may want to control which posts appear on your timeline.
Remember, these settings will only appears once the new Timeline feature has been implemented on your Facebook account. Then you'll have 7 days before it is automatically published. Make sure you know what is being shared!