Facebook is a fun and intuitive community which allows the world to become more open and users to interact with each other in a plethora of ways. One of the major things that must be understood in order to make the Facebook experience safe as well as fun is the security settings. The following is a highly detailed and in-depth look at the various ways users can adjust Facebook security settings to mold their experience as they see fit.
Beginning on the profile page, users can find a lock icon on the top right of the screen. This icon, when clicked, gives access to the various privacy settings available for people to use. Initially, a pop-up appears, giving users a privacy shortcut menu for most basic settings. By clicking on the “see more settings” link toward the bottom of this pop-up, users are introduced to a more comprehensive, “advanced” menu with settings they may wish to alter.
The security icon on the left toolbar in the advanced menu gives way to very technical features many are unaware of. Most people will want to enable secure browsing, forcing Facebook to encrypt the connection and preventing hackers from gaining access. Security codes and code generators can be activated to ensure that it is the actual user who is logging in each time. This extra layer of security is oftentimes a hassle, but some, more careful users, opt to use this setting. Another very important feature here is the “deactivate your account” option. By clicking on this link, users can temporarily or permanently suspend their Facebook account for whatever reasons they may have. This is useful for college students studying for finals or for jaded users who wish to cut ties with Facebook but don’t want to leave any unmonitored, personal material behind.
Who Can See My Stuff?
By clicking on the “who can see my stuff” icon in the shortcut menu, three new options will appear. The “who can see my future posts” section provides a bountiful of options to customize how far the content posted on Facebook reaches. One can adjust this setting to allow only friends to see posts, friend of friends to see posts, or the general public to see posts. Some, more advanced users, can opt to customize exactly who can view future posts. These customizations can be made by clicking on the “custom” option in the drop down menu and selecting various groups, lists, and even specific people who may or may not view future content.
In order to gauge how large one’s Facebook footprint is, a user can use the “activity log” to examine all the posts, photos, and things he or she is tagged in or connected directly to. This includes everything that the user has liked and commented on as well as the photos he or she may be tagged in. By checking this link, Facebook users are reminded of how influential their actions on Facebook can be and are nudged into adjusting their habits if they do not like the scope of their Facebook footprints. Furthermore, this tool is can be helpful to parents in ensuring that their children are not sharing too much personal information online or interacting with questionable persons on the website.
Finally, in the “view as” section of the menu, users can, as per its namesake, view Facebook through the lens of different users or the general public. This allows one to accurately understand how different friends, acquaintances, and general users perceive his or her Facebook page. This feature gives way to greater experimentation in that it allows the people who use Facebook to judge how powerful or weak certain settings are. By doing so, Facebook, overall, can achieve a certain level of security while still holding true to its fundamental goal of allowing people to engage and interact with one another.
Who Can Look Me Up?
This section, under the “privacy settings and tools” tab in the advanced menu, provides three options to monitor how people find the user. First, users can determine who can or cannot use personal information such as a phone number or email address to them up. This setting can be changed to only allow friends, friends of friends, or everyone to look up that user with these two pieces of personal information. Next, Facebook allows users to adjust which people can find them by simply typing in their names on the search bar. This is, by default, is set to “everyone”, allowing anyone who types in the user’s name to find him or her using the search feature. This can be adjusted similarly to the personal information search setting. Finally, users can determine whether or not search engines can link directly to their Facebook timelines. It is usually recommended to not allow this to happen.
Timeline and Tagging Settings
In this section of the advanced menu, Facebook users can adjust how their friends interact with them on their timelines/walls. Here, users can adjust who can post on their timelines, who can see the various posts on the timeline, and who is able to see items in which the user it tagged. Generally speaking, these settings are straightforward and, in order to ensure greater security, only friends should be allowed to perform these three functions.
Who Can Contact Me?
In this menu section, one can find the ability to allow Facebook to filter certain private messages. It is highly recommended that those who wish to have a greater level of security opt for the strict filter setting. With this activated, Facebook will attempt to identify strangers and other individuals who do not likely know the user and prevent their messages from being sent. This setting is especially useful for younger account holders and teens that are more susceptible to targeting from online predators and scammers.
Another option which may be useful for some is the “who can send me friend requests” setting. Though most prefer to allow everyone to send them requests and have the opportunity to accept or deny them, some may go down the route of only receiving requests from friends of friends. This may prevent some people from receiving requests from newly met people or old friends who may have just started using Facebook.
How can I Stop Someone from Bothering Me?
If a user is being harassed by a scammer, bullied, or stalked, he or she has the option of completely cutting ties with that user. By simply typing in the name of the user who is causing the problem into the appropriate box in the menu, Facebook will shut that user out and prevent him or her from contacting or viewing any activity related to the person who is making the complaint. This can help prevent malicious users from gaining too much strength and causing problems on the social media site.
Final Word and Other Useful Information
Social media websites, Facebook in particular, generate revenue through understanding many personal aspects about their users. For these websites, it is in their best interest to, by default, set low security standards. Due to popular demand and outrage, these websites have installed opt-in increased security measures which most users have failed to take advantage of. By following the aforementioned guide, anyone can become safer and have more fun using these outlets.