Facebook, privacy, social networks

Uproar on Facebook Privacy & New tool to set your privacy

There is another wave of facebook privacy concerns – driven in part by the new ‘instant personalization’ feature that Facebook is now offering.

In general, Facebook is allowing websites to tailor their online content by showing what your facebook friends like and share.   This is explained far better by Liz Gannes in a recent post about Facebook Instant Personalization. As Liz explains Facebook is also allowing deep sharing with three partners Microsoft, Yelp and Pandora – which is cause for upset.

I have seen a number of new privacy options by Facebook – finally, I can control who sees my crazy wall posts but the changes happen so rapidly that most users have facebook ‘default’ privacy settings.    My other personal privacy complaint is that I can not control who sees which fan pages I’ve joined.  When I join a fan page, for instance, most of my friends get blasted with this update.  No controls on this yet.

Fascinating is today’s public reaction with several well known tech profiles publicly announcing quitting facebook over privacy concerns.   Not to mention that google searchs for “how to delete my facebook account” is at an all time high.    For the record, I am not quitting facebook – I use it too much and I’ve narrowed down my privacy settings.  I do restrict my foursquare access now to friends only.. but I digress.

And then there is MYOPENBOOK.org

Openbook is a new site that allows any online surfer to search key terms like “divorced”, “dna test” or “cheated” and get publicly available facebook wall posts by individuals with loose privacy settings.  The site is created by individuals who want to outline what information is now public  (see the green learn why this is bad button).

Fortunately Openbook also provides a link to Reclaimprivacy.org, a great new scan tool for understanding how private your facebook settings are.    (note:  to drag the tool to your bookmarks toolbar – you have to make sure that it is a toolbar that is active and viewed.  Go view, toolbars and ensure bookmarks toolbar is checked off).

Facebook, fans / loyalty

Keeping your personal life private on Facebook using limited profiles

I was starting to accept that my Facebook personal life would careen into my business life.  Though I’ve worked hard to keep my personal and business lives separate, my use of “Friends only” in my privacy settings was starting to lose its effectiveness.  I fell into awkward ground this past July when I started to manage corporate Facebook fan pages on behalf of clients.

To manage a clients’ page, I have to be befriend the administrator on Facebook.

The reverse holds true as well.  For me to provide administrative rights back to clients for pages I’d set up, I can not do this until we are “friends”.  And though I do truly like all my clients, having instant deep friendship presents its awkward moments.

But there is a fix for all this.  You can add your business connections to Facebook and keep your privacy too.

As heavy social networker, I definitely use Facebook to hold pieces of my personal life.  I mostly connect with friends and family, and a number former colleagues with whom I share a healthy, personal respect for.  Like many people, Facebook holds my wedding photos, major milestones my children’s lives and really bad high school pictures.  I’ve even used Facebook to reunite my 14 cousins through a group and there within we share all our vintage photos of our mutual grandparents.

But there is a fix for all this.

There is a little known Facebook feature called a limited profile that can provide greater privacy.

Creating limited profiles and managing them is not intuitive so up till now I’ve added people to my limited profile but have not specified what this limited profile can and can not see.  And worth noting is that if you do not take an extra step to exclude your limited profile from key information, then your ‘limited profile’ friends see just as much as your regular ones.

As my business keeps creeping in on my personal life, and local politicians want to become ‘friends’, I decided to master this feature.

Here are a the steps:

First assign a friend to the limited profile list.

You can do this one of two ways:

  1. When you accept the friendship of someone, you have an option to add them to a list.  There will be a Facebook added list name (or tag) called ‘limited profile’.
  2. Alternatively, you can go into your ‘friends’ section and choose ‘limited profile’, a menu pick on the left hand side, and then add friends to this list.

With a list of limited profile chosen people – you then need to identify what this list will NOT see in your Facebook profile.  Remember, the default is that they can see everything your friends see until you specify what they can not see.

Indicate which profile sections are excluded from your limited profile.

In Settings (top right hand corner), choose privacy settings.

Customize limited profile Among your privacy settings, choose “profile”.  Under ‘basic’, you will see a number of sections of your profile.

Using the pull down menu, choose ‘customize’.    [that was always the menu pick that trumped me .. it was not obvious that I had to customize to specify limited profile]

You will get a little popup box asking who can see this section.  Go to the red “except these people” section and start typing “limited profile”.

Exeception limited profile

The information you may want to hold dear are:

*  Status and links
*  Some photos tagged of me
*  Some photo albums
*  Videos tagged about me

Note – you can also exclude your limited profile list from contact information section too. Just follow the same logic as above.

And voila!  You now can mix some business with pleasure on Facebook.

Do note:  For those who want to delve deeper into Facebook privacy, I found an excellent blog post about this a while back called 10 privacy settings every Facebook user should know by Nick O’Neill.

HeadshotThis original post was submitted to the Community Marketing Blog’s Blogging contest

Laurie Dillon-Schalk is the Chief Marketing Strategist and founder of Social Wisdom – a Toronto based digital marketing agency that helps firms and individuals use social media and the web wisely.

You can find Laurie on Twitter at twitter.com/Ldillonschalk or on her blog at Socialwisdom.ca