How to Work Around Facebook’s New Privacy Settings
For better or worse, our generation has learned to accept less and less privacy. So, Facebook’s new policy — that your “name, profile photo, list of friends and pages you are a fan of, gender, geographic region, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available to everyone” — isn’t nearly as bad as the time your parents disowned you upon seeing tagged pictures of you naked at a Dave Matthews concert. (They really hate Dave Matthews.)
All joking aside, we got dicked a long, long time ago. If Facebook ever betrayed its users, it’s when they let non-students in in 2006. That was the first step towards less privacy. That’s when your employers could see you drinking and your parents could see your weekend plans. So, people like Jason Calacanis and the other tech pundits — please, pipe down. You wouldn’t even be on the social network if it weren’t for less privacy.
Don’t list it. You can always take down your profile picture. It might sound lame-o, but it’s not, really. Once people are friends with you, they can see all your tagged pictures anyway — that’s the fun part. The same applies for your city and gender. Listing your city and gender is still optional, so you can remove that information and keep it private. (Select “Select Sex:” to disable gender.)
Lie. As one Facebook rep mentioned, you can still have fun with your profile information even though some of it is public. You can make your profile picture a snap shot of a beer mug or list your city as “Uranus.” You can also make your profile picture one that includes other people as well, obscuring what you look like.
De-friend and de-fan. Probably the biggest privacy overhaul is that your friend list and fan page information is public. Well, it’s about time you sorted through your thousands of friends, anyway. If there’s a friend that reveals a secret past or a fan-page that indicates a private piece of information, now’s the time to remove it.
That aside, there’s a lot more you can do to protect your privacy in Facebook. In general, you should use friend lists, remove yourself from Facebook/Google searches and keep status updates private. All three are pretty self-explanitory if you just go into the Facebook privacy menu but All Facebook has a decent guide if you still need help.
[photo via CC 2.0, Flickr user PetroleumJelliffe]