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Check Facebook settings often

So, this weekend I’m showing a friend, someone who has had a Facebook account for some time but who has seldom used it, how to raise his privacy settings and limit what his applications do with his information.

It used to be that clicking on “Applications” under settings was enough to reveal all the Facebook and third-party apps on a user’s account. Now, however, only the ones most recently used will show up. In my friend’s case, the list numbered about six.

Exploring a little further, we clicked on another option in the applications menu, and suddenly a whole range of other applications popped up before our eyes. He was stunned, and worse: most of them he hadn’t even heard of before, let alone remember granting full access to. He had about two dozen applications all data-mining his page and contacts, many with no privacy settings at all.

Fortunately, they were digging in a barren mine, but should he become more active, they could hit pay-dirt, completely without his knowledge.

One by one, we clicked through every setting on every app, and every setting tab within every app, setting access at the highest privacy levels available. Then we deleted every unwanted app.

Why re-set the privacy levels first? Have you ever tried deleting your Facebook page? Check back in three months and it will still be there; why should we trust that apps will be any different? I think of it as being like deleting and then multi-pass wiping a retiring hard drive before smashing it.

I then went and checked my own page, and made a similar discovery. All in all, we probably spent half an hour at it, maybe more.

It was a good reminder to check all Facebook settings frequently. Is Facebook a wonderful service? Sure. Private? Not so much. Set-and-forget? Most certainly not.

About Erin Anne Beirne

I use storytelling and "content marketing" to promote my clients' work. I develop and implement communications strategies using all the on- and offline tools and media at our disposal, publish books and ebooks and market them internationally, or even just simply create a new website and teach the client how to run it. If you have something interesting to say, a valuable service to offer, or an important cause to promote, I'd love to work with you, too!

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