Digital Citizenship Week: Controlling Facebook Privacy

Social media is a blessing and a curse–sometimes, simultaneously! The price we pay for staying in touch is a loss of privacy, and that is true in multiple ways, depending how philosophical a person is inclined to be.

You have more control than you might know you have, however. Understanding Facebook’s privacy settings determines who sees what and how much of your life can be accessible by your friends, family, or strangers.

Here are three points you need to understand before looking at Facebook’s privacy:

  1. If you have a Facebook account, you are how Facebook makes money. You are the product they sell to advertisers. You can’t change that, and you should realize that regardless how you set your privacy, Facebook knows what you’re posting. You can lock down your account so that very few people can see it, and make it so that specific people only access specific info, but Facebook still knows–and they keep extensive data. That’s the price of having social media.
  2. Facebook updates its site, which includes the privacy settings, fairly often. Sometimes when they update, they set new or updated features to the most liberal privacy. That means that you need to check your settings once in a while–setting them once and leaving them alone after that is not a good idea.
  3. Because Facebook is constantly updating, if you look online for hints and help for dealing with your account, check the dates of the sources so you’re sure the info is current. Using Facebook’s online help is often enough, and it’s reasonable to assume their info is up to date.

Note: These same warnings apply to other social media, like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and SnapChat. If you use those, you should learn how to set your security to a level you’re comfortable with, also.

TODAY’S TO DO SUGGESTION: Go through the privacy settings for all the social media sites you use. Make sure you understand what you’re allowing, changing any to levels you prefer. Also, if you are an educator, familiarize yourself with The Ohio Education Association guidelines for teachers who use social media.

The video (below) is a very thorough demonstration of Facebook’s privacy settings as of early 2015 (at this point in 2016, these directions are still applicable).

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