It seems like every few months this pops up again. Your friends start posting status updates on Facebook that ask you to change your settings to protect their privacy. This is misinformed –

1. Fact Check Before You Post

Please always check out the validity of something before you repost it to your own status.

  • Check with the actual source: Facebook. I googled Facebook Graph App and this link came up: ‘Introducing Graph Search‘ at facebook.com. Facebook Graph search is in beta for US audiences only – so not something that is even happening in Canada yet.
  • Check with Snopes. For example, I typed Facebook into the search bar and snopes.com and immediately found information about the most recent statuses posted about Facebook Graph App and Privacy.
  • Here is a another resource: urbanlegends.about.com.

2. How to (Really) Protect Your Privacy

  • The number one rule for protecting your privacy on Facebook (and everywhere on the Internet) is: ‘Don’t share anything that you don’t want public.‘ There is always the chance that something will become public, so don’t take that risk. Even Mark Zuckerberg’s photos became publicly visible on Facebook by accident – if he can’t keep on top of it, there’s a chance it will happen to you, too.
  • Check out this great article at the likeeffect.com “The Facebook Privacy Hoax and the Top 3 Ways to Set Boundaries on Facebook“. I give out very similar advice during my Social Media workshops – it’s important to have your own personal social media policy about what you share on these platforms.
  • Other people can also share things about you – and you usually have no control over that. This applies to the entire Internet (and really your whole life), not just Facebook.
  • Profile photos and cover photos are always public.
  • Change your privacy setting so that you have to approve tags on your posts and photos. ‘When you approve a tag, the person tagged and their friends may see your post. If you don’t want your post to be visible to the friends of the person tagged, you can adjust this setting. Simply click on the audience selector next to the story, select Custom, and uncheck the Friends of those tagged and event guests box’ facebook.com.

3. Facebook’s Graph App Allows Anyone to Search For Photos of You

Facebook Graph App is coming to Canada eventually, and these searches of you can already be conducted in hte US, so this is a good time to prepare. The Graph App allows anyone to search for photos by tag and the visibility is based on the privacy settings of the person who posted and tagged the photo.

  • Changing your privacy settings will not help.
  • Asking your friends to change the settings described in the status update circulating above will not help.

Here are some tips from techcrunch.com if there is a picture on Facebook that you don’t want visible in the Facebook Graph App.

  • Untag yourself.
  • Ask your friend to remove the photo.
  • Flag the photo (request that it is removed from Facebook)