Locking Down Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook is starting to do some pretty controversial things with user information.  They’re changing their privacy policies constantly, and setting everybody back to wide open defaults with every policy change.  You really have to monitor your settings and tweak them to make sure that all of your most personal information isn’t being spewed out to everyone on the web, when you think you’re only sharing it with your friends.

The general open defaults are bad enough, but there are two “features” that can put your personal information in places that you don’t want it to be, and you may not even know they exist.

The first is a pretty simple option called “Things your friends can share about you”.  The problem with this is that the default enabled list of these things is pretty much every personal detail on your profile.  So if you go through the trouble of setting all your profile privacy to “Only Friends”, then one of those trusted friends that has their profile open to everybody can share your information, which you had set tight privacy on, to anybody that requested it via their friend link with you.

The second issue is the new “Instant Personalization Pilot Program”.  This currently only works with Docs.com, Pandora , and Yelp, but whenever you are logged into Facebook and visit one of those sites with this option on, they have access to your Facebook data.

To make matters worse, you really have to investigate every nook and cranny in the Facebook privacy options to get all of these things disabled, removed, or blocked.  I’ve made a video showing how to give your Facebook privacy settings a good once over and how to counter the two main issues I listed above.