Everyone is on Facebook — so is everyone’s business (and mother and aunts, etc.) Connecting with your business network on Facebook is nice, but not everyone wants to mix personal and professional. There are some ways you can segment who gets to see what, so you’re not sharing your spring break pics with your business contacts, but can still keep in touch with your family.
1. Privacy Settings
Make sure you know what you’re sharing with whom. Under Accounts in the upper right, click on Privacy settings. You can edit these down to very customized levels where only people in certain groups can see things. You may be surprised to see who can see pictures — especially troublesome is “friends of friends.”
2. Application Settings
Under Accounts in the upper right click on Application settings. Sure it may be fun to add every application Facebook has to offer, but you’re giving each of them access to post to your wall. Go through this list from time to time and remove applications you’re no longer using. You can also change whether certain applications are allowed to post to your wall — in case there are ones you’d like to keep but don’t want their messages appearing (I’m looking at you, Farmville adicts).
3. Facebook Ads
Under the guise of relevancy, Facebook may share your information and that of your friends with advertisers. Under Accounts in the upper right, click on Account Settings, then on the Facebook Ads tab. Make sure the drop-down menu says “No one” and click save so that Facebook doesn’t share your info with advertisers (unless you like that sort of thing).
4. Choose Your “Likes”
Choose carefully which pages you “like” — not only will their posts show up in your feed, but you’re also giving them permission to send you messages and invite you to events. This can get pretty spammy. These pages also get access to your demographic data — not specifically to you, just in general.
5. Group Your Friends
If you group your friends, family and business contacts into groups, you’ll be better able to control who can see what. Under Accounts in the upper right, click on Edit Friends. Click on Create List at the top of the page and select which friends should go in that list. To control who can see what, use the Customize Settings link in the Privacy settings discussed above — you can make it so all your friends except for certain lists can see certain content.
Maintaining Healthy Separation
Facebook’s privacy settings are confusing. There is a lot of control (for the most part — until they change their privacy settings, again), but it is difficult to setup and understand. A little tweaking can help you maintain a healthy separation between personal and professional networks while still maintaining contacts.
How do you protect your privacy on Facebook?
(photo by Alan Cleaver)