FacebookFacebook is an extremely useful and entertaining form of social media; connecting over 1.1 billion users and facilitating an easy way of sharing a variety of content. However, despite its numerous benefits, Facebook does raise the issue of privacy with regards to the distribution of your personal information.

Staggeringly, research has shown that 25% of Facebook users don’t bother with privacy settings. Moreover, recently Facebook has been involved in a privacy scandal wherein 6 million users’ email addresses and phone numbers were leaked. Although Facebook’s security team had promised to “work doubly hard to make sure nothing like this happens again”, these incidents highlight an increasing need for users to exercise caution over the information they distribute via social media networks such as Facebook, particularly as more and more children are frequenting social media networks.

Although these social networks are highly useful educational platforms for teaching children; “how to use and become proficient with technology, developing their creative abilities, appreciating new and different perspectives, and enhancing their communication skills”, many educational institutions advocate the severe importance of establishing privacy measures.

Educational agency Maths Doctor enthuse about the “benefits of technology for education, but strong need to implement privacy settings to protect” the welfare of children whilst they are online. Subsequently, listed below are several processes which users can follow in order to safeguard their social media platforms. By exercising caution with regards to privacy settings, users of all ages enjoy the wealth of benefits Facebook has to offer, all the while assured that their confidentiality is being protected.

How to control what information others can see on your Timeline

  • Although anyone can see your public information, (such as your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, username etc), you can easily edit who views your basic Timeline information. Simply click Update Info (located underneath your cover photo) and then click the Edit button next to the section of information you wish to edit. Next to each piece of information there is an audience selector so that you can tailor who is allowed access to it.
  • You can also control who sees the information that other people post onto your Timeline. Before photos, posts, or any other app activities in which you are tagged appear on your Timeline, you can approve or dismiss them by switching on Timeline review. Subsequently, you can set an audience for who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your Timeline. To do this, select Settings on the top right hand side of the page, click Timeline and Tagging in the left column and search for Who can see what others post on your Timeline?. Upon clicking Edit, you can select your chosen audience members from the dropdown menu.
  • There is also a helpful View As tool, which enables you to see what your Timeline looks like to other people who visit your profile. Subsequently, you can alter your Timeline accordingly to suit your personal privacy preferences.

Privacy settings on older Timeline posts

  • If you wish to change who can view a previous post which you have shared, simply return to the audience sector mentioned earlier and pick a new audience.
  • Within your Account Settings, there is also the option to adjust the audience of multiple posts in one action. To do this, select Settings and then Privacy from the left menu. Locate the Who can see my stuff? section, and proceed to click Limit the audience for posts I’ve shared with friends of friends or Public. Under this section, click Limit Old Posts and you will be able to modify the privacy settings for previous Timeline posts.

However, with this tool, it is worth bearing in mind that if you wish to undo this universal privacy application in the future, you will need to adjust the audience of each post individually. Moreover, if you have shared a previous post with a Custom audience- for instance Friends or Close Friends-this universal privacy tool will not change the audience for those past posts; you will need to change these settings individually.

Furthermore, if you tagged someone in any of these previous posts, the audience of the post will still include the person which you tagged and any people they include in posts in which they are tagged. Finally, this tool only controls the audience for posts which you personally have shared. If you have been tagged in someone else’s post, then they are in control of the audience for their particular posts.