Improve your privacy, security on social network
However we personally feel about it, Facebook has become enormously popular. But one issue facing Facebook, as well as many other social networking and online services, is the privacy and security of its users. Sadly, the small percentage of the global population that wants to commit a variety of cybercrimes has found that social networking services are a fertile hunting ground, and Facebook is no exception. Facebook is well aware of the problem and actively revises its system and policies in order to mitigate the risks to its billion users. While Facebook does what it can to secure its system, users must be cognizant of several facts when they post anything on a social network. First, nothing posted online is totally private, and regardless of selected settings, it is always possible for others to access postings. On Facebook, anytime a user clicks on a “Like” button, some of their personal information is gathered by the “liked” page and can be used for a variety of purposes as the users’ data can be collected and catalogued. Also be aware that once something is online, it is effectively forever available, even after being deleted by the user. Facebook might become a virtual diary that may be accessed later by potential employers, social acquaintances, government agencies, and others for both legitimate purposes and dangerous, dishonest use. In the initial registration process when becoming a Facebook user, personal information including name, e-mail addresses and other information is provided to Facebook. Users need to determine who can find their personal information and contact them, and then set privacy settings accordingly. Personal listings access may be restricted. While many users take pride in their huge number of friends on Facebook, that also means that the same huge group of friends is more likely to include users who may pose privacy and security threats. Facebook users can easily access and modify security settings by opening the account control menu by clicking on the “gear” icon on the top right edge of the Facebook menu bar, and then selecting “Privacy Settings.” Once the “Privacy Settings and Tools” window is open, the left margin offers additional security controls. Under the “Timeline and Tagging Settings,” the user can control who can post on their timeline and who can view the user’s timeline, and can control the tagging and posting of images and posts. Some Facebook users are unfortunately the victims of cyber stalking and cyber bullying. The “Blocking” menu icon on the left margin opens the “Manage Blocking” window. It is here that the user can create a “Restricted List,” which controls who can see information and posts. From this location, unwanted users can be blocked, which means that the person blocked can no longer be your friend on Facebook or otherwise interact with you. Using a similar simple procedure, the user can easily block app requests or event invites from other specific users or groups. Individual apps can be stopped from contacting you and accessing your non-public information. Facebook itself offers substantial privacy and security assistance and information that users may used to improve security and safety. At the “Family Safety Center” at facebook.com/help/safety, users can get a wealth of information including tools and resources, teen and family safety, Facebook resources for parents, information that teachers can use to teach online safety, and additional information on Facebook safety, security, and privacy. Facebook also offers detailed safety, security and privacy tips and related information on its page at facebook.com/security. There are currently several third-party utilities and resources available that can help implement appropriate privacy and security settings on Facebook. On my primary computers, I have Trend Micro’s Titanium Maximum Security, which offers as one of its features a Facebook privacy utility. Trend Micro runs a utility that checks and verifies all of the privacy settings, displaying any potential privacy threats; in my Facebook account, Trend Micro found one privacy threat suggesting that I turn off the “Instant Personalization” feature on my “App Settings” menu. Other similar utilities are available as browser plug-ins and include Facebook Privacy Watcher for Firefox (www.daniel-puscher.de/fpw/), Privacy Fix for Firefox and Chrome (privacyfix.com/start), and others. The popular technical support websites all have some form of Facebook privacy and security information. Gizmo’s TechSupportAlert.com website offers several sources of Facebook privacy and safety information. One such Web page, “Seven Tips To Improve Your Security On Facebook,” is available at techsupportalert.com/content/seven-tips-improve-your-security-facebook.htm; another Gizmo directory of comprehensive Facebook (and other social media) safety information is included in its master security directory, under the “Online Services - Social Media Privacy” heading. By implementing the privacy and security recommendations of these pages and software utilities, users may greatly enhance their privacy and safety while utilizing Facebook, one of the world’s primary social media networks. Listen to Ira Wilsker’s weekly radio show on Mondays from 6-7 p.m. on KLVI 560AM.