All my Facebook posts are public. Anyone with a Facebook account can see all my posts. They may not appear in every Facebook user's news feed, but anyone can see them if they want.
If you are not my Facebook "friend," my posts won't appear in your news feed, but you can go to my Facebook page (wall) and see all of them. You can see all my photos too.
I'm not advocating the same for you, I'm only telling you what I do.
Here is why:
- Posting to "friends" only, gives you a false sense of privacy.
Your friends can share that post publicly if they want to and you can't do anything about it.
If you have a lot of "friends", posting to them only, is like gossiping at a cocktail party and hoping no one will overhear.
It is easy to create a Facebook profile, complete with picture, of anyone you wish to impersonate. Facebook does not ask you to prove you are who you say you are. I know professional skip tracers that do just this, to trick people into "friending" them so they can locate them.
- Posting to friends only, doesn't do anything to increase the odds they will see my posts. They have the same chances of seeing my public posts.
- Posting publicly helps me to think about what I'm putting out there.
Knowing that anyone can see my Facebook posts and photos, helps to keep me from divulging information that would embarrass me or compromise my safety.
It also helps me to be more tactful and sensitive to others feelings. If I know that something I post could hurt someone, I don't post it.
- If a potential employer or customer visits my Facebook page, I don't have to worry about what information they can see. They can see it all!
If I am in the habit of always being positive and friendly, they will see that I am. I will appear more savvy about social networking, something many of them care about.
- I don't have to worry about accidentally posting to "Public." I do it on purpose!
Some people group their friends into lists. They may have a "friends who can see what I don't wan't my boss to know about" list. They may have another list called "friends who can see what I don't wan't my mother to know about." Seems like a sure fire recipe for confusion and accidents to me.
Whenever you create a new post, Facebook's privacy setting defaults to the same setting as your last post. If you post some things to "Friends," or other list, and some to "Public," it's easy to forget to check your settings and post things where you didn't intend to.
I use lists, but only to organize my news feed for my reading convenience. In my blog post -
- I explain how to create lists to organize a crowded news feed.
- I don't have to worry about who can see my posts if Facebook changes their security policies.
- I don't have to worry about big brother conspiracy theories.
- You can post publicly without compromising your safety.
I use WOT (Web of Trust) to alert me to suspicious links that may lead to malicious websites, because friends can, and often do, pass along suspicious links. WOT will show you a small button beside the link that will indicate its trustworthiness. It also works with links on Google search results pages.
- Posting publicly still allows me to control what is posted on my timeline (wall) and on my behalf.
Just because strangers can see my posts, doesn't mean they can post to my timeline. I do not allow anyone but me to post to my timeline, not even friends. I control everything that is posted on my wall or on my behalf.
There's not much worse than a friend posting something to your timeline that casts you in a negative light, right after you applied for that dream job. What if the hiring manager decides to look you up on Facebook, and there is a post of Cheech and Chong puffing a big doobie, on your page?
I would strongly recommend that you control what goes onto your timeline, by setting "Who can post to your timeline" to "Only me." You should also set "Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?" to "On" or "Enabled." You probably don't want to find you've been tagged in a photo of Miss January on your timeline.
There are other tools that can help protect you on Facebook too.
Remember, even your "friends" may not have proven their identity. You should always protect yourself from phishing, scams and malware, regardless of how you post. A little common sense can go a long way too.
When I first began using Facebook, I was all stressed out about privacy and who could see what. Now I just assume everyone can see everything. No more stress!
You may not feel comfortable using Facebook the same way I do, or posting all your posts publicly, and that's OK. I hope I helped you to understand a little more about Facebook, and why you don't really have to stress out either!
Other resources and tools to help you stay safe on social media:
Web of Trust (WOT) is a website reputation and review service that helps people make informed decisions about whether to trust a website or not.
Bitdefender Safego is a free app for your Facebook account. It protects you, and your friends from malware threats that attempt to exploit the trust you’ve built with them. Safego keeps you safe from all sorts of e-trouble, including scams, spam, malware, and private data exposure.
How to build the ultimate PC security suite for free - PCWorld
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