Facebook Privacy Overhaul

I've been meaning to really clean up and lock down my Facebook account, given that I'm going to start looking for jobs in the near future. And given all the general privacy concerns that keep cropping up, I decided tonight was as good a time as any.

I don't really like Facebook, but considering the massive install base, it's not really useful for me to just delete it altogether. There are lots of other services that do specific things better than Facebook does, but they're decentralized. I wrote about how I like that Google Buzz works to correct this, but it's still not all the way there. So for now, Facebook needs to remain. But I wanted to go more draconian on it.

Basically, I set up 3 main contact lists: Friends (for close, personal friends), Family (for family members, and family friends), and Professional (for work-related contacts, past and present). I then went through every one of the privacy settings, and set which of these groups were allowed to view that aspect of my profile (or if it was open to my entire friends list).

Most of my profile is visible only to those on the Friends or Family lists, with select things made more or less restrictive, depending. For example, only people on the Friends list can see tagged photos of me, but anybody can post on my wall. The Professional list gets access to some of my contact information that is hidden from the vast majority of my contacts, because the people on that list might want/need to email me, where random kids from high school can just use Facebook to contact me. Things like that.

Of course, this doesn't mean I'm going to just post anything and everything to Facebook, and trust these settings to keep it away from most people. I'm going to continue to be proactive in what gets put online associated with my name and such (as I always have been), and I would recommend that anybody who uses this method still goes through and cleans stuff up manually.

Also, I still have concerns about Facebook's storage and use of my info, so I pulled out a lot of it. Granted, much of it is easily discoverable on this blog, or my site, but at least it isn't being automatically aggregated.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know you could change privacy settings based on categories of people that you create. That's awesome.

You know what I hate? Privacy rules with Facebook change all the time. For awhile, I had it set so that you couldn't see anything but my gender and network if you weren't my friend. Then, because Facebook changed how their privacy settings were laid out, you could see my interests, likes, and pages all of a sudden. And they don't tell you of the changes. You have to check that shit frequently.

Fuckin' goddamn Facebook.

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