Twitter and Instagram Privacy Tips
to Share Without
Guest Document (1)
by M. J. Kelly
January 25, 2017
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Behind the fun of social media, every
network offers some privacy management options that you, as a
participant, should check out and adjust to meet your expectations. At
a minimum, we recommend reviewing your privacy settings whenever a site
or app is updated, as default settings may change and new privacy
options can be introduced when a new version is released.
We’ve put together some recommendations
for three popular social networks, Facebook, Twitter
Each platform is different, in terms of the privacy settings offered
and the level of privacy you’ll prefer. Our recommendations will skew
toward greater privacy, but feel free to make selections to suit your
First, let’s jump into Facebook, where you’ll find an
assortment of settings at your fingertips that relate to your
visibility, third party connections and advertising messages. Login to
your account on a computer to get started.
- Do you feel good about your Password or is it time for an
update? (Note to self: read this post about better
password security and update my password.)
- Click the link at the bottom of your Account page to Download
a copy of your Facebook data,
which gives you a full archive of everything you’ve ever posted, ads
you’ve clicked, messages you’ve sent, events you’ve attended and much
more that you’ve done in the history of your time on Facebook. Keep in
mind, this record exists for everyone, so that time when you were
talking trash or confessing a secret crush over Facebook Messenger,
those messages still exist in the recipient’s archive as well as your
own. Message wisely.
True story, I clicked that link, not
realizing it was an ad, and here it is in my Facebook data smirking at
me. TBH, I’d probably eat my beets if Dame Helen told me to.
Take a look through the settings and
select what you feel the most comfortable with.
Who can see my stuff? Friends
You can also set visibility for each post as you make it. By using Friend Lists
can fine-tune and customize the audience that sees your posts. (Which
means I can make a post visible only to friends who are into vampire
romance fiction without weirding out my work buddies. For example.)
Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in
allows you to
remove tags others have added about you.
Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or
This setting lets you quickly change any old public posts
to be more private. It’s going to take three clicks to make it so:
1. Click the Limit Past Posts.
2. Then click the Limit Old Posts button.
3. Click Confirm.
Who can look me up? Friends
Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?
This section has some juicy settings you
Who can post on your Timeline? Only
is a more conservative setting that prevents others from
posting anything to your wall. (Admittedly, this can be annoying when I
want to post a red
panda trying its hardest
to a friend’s wall, but hey, I respect
their choice to control their online environment.)
Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline?
If you’ve ever had someone tag you in a photo or post that you wish
didn’t include you, here’s how to prevent it from happening again. Turn
this setting on so you’re in control of the tagging. (If your friend
didn’t have the good sense not to post that picture of you at
Anthrocon, at least you can remove the tag yourself.)
Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your Timeline? Friends
Who can see what others post on your Timeline? Only me
Review tags people add to your own posts? On
When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if
they aren’t already in it? Only me
means people outside of
your mutual friends won’t see the tagged content.
Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?
Facebook says it “helps save time.” I say it’s creepy.
If you’ve been on Facebook for a while,
you might not realize how many apps you’ve connected to your account
over the years. Make sure you click through all options on this screen,
because this will be like a trip to the back of your closet — keep
digging. You may be surprised by what’s been collecting dust — and your
data — back here.
I don’t even know how to explain this, but
suffice it to say, I’ve cleaned up my app situation after taking this
Can you see online interest-based
ads from Facebook?
By selecting Yes
, you agree to
let advertisers tailor ads “based on your use of websites and apps that
use Facebook’s technologies.” This is known as
, which in this case basically means what you
do off of Facebook (like visit a leather lingerie site or search for
airfare to Seoul in 2018) can be tracked and used as advertising
opportunities on Facebook. On the plus side, you’re getting relevant
ads. (I know, I know, I feel gross even writing that.) On the negative
side, you’re being tracked all over the web. Yuck. What’s more,
Facebook says: “If you turn off online interest-based ads you’ll still
see the same number of ads, but they may be less relevant to you. You
may also see ads based on things you do on Facebook.”
Can your Facebook ad preferences be
used to show you ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies?
When you click Yes, you’re letting Facebook use the
data it has gathered about you to target ads to you throughout its
“Audience Network” elsewhere on the internet and in other apps.
Clicking No won’t eliminate the ads, it will just change the
kinds of ads you see.
Who can see your social actions
paired with ads? No one
If you select Friends
here, advertisers will be able
to target your friends with ads based on your likes and shares. And
since you won’t see the ads, you won’t know that you’re appearing to
endorse advertisers unless your friends mention it:
Check your Facebook
. Here’s where you’ll see how your likes and clicks
add up to the ad profile Facebook has created about you. Brace
yourself, some of this might look strange. See something you’d like to
remove? Simply X it out.
Facebook has also produced a Facebook guide to their ad
system that you might find enlightening.
So there you have it, a deep dive into
your Facebook privacy settings. Now let’s look at Twitter
Published on January 26,
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