The social media guide reported yesterday that the May 31st issue of Time Magazine will feature a cover story dealing with Facebook privacy issues. Mashable reports the Time article as concluding that Facebook may be “the Web’s sketchy Big Brother, sucking up our identities into a massive Borg brain to slice, dice and categorize for advertisers.” My advice, buy a copy of the magazine and read the article for yourself!

No matter what you think of Facebook, it is difficult to deny the potential of a platform with nearly 500 million users! No doubt, this has not escaped the attention of the malevolent minority who stalk the Internet and social media platforms. Therefore the upcoming article is a timely reminder of each user’s personal responsibility for their own privacy settings and the protection of their friends. With this in mind, below are a three suggestions to enhance your Facebook privacy and security:
1. Account Privacy Settings. Select “Account” and then “Personal Information and Posts” and examine the privacy setting for each and every category. I recommend you set all of them to “Friends Only”, with one major exception, “Birthday” for which I strongly recommend “Only Me”. Sure you won’t receive birthday wishes from your Facebook friends, but you will hide one of the most important elements used in identity theft. Simply select the “Birthday” down arrow, click “Custom” and select “Only Me”.
2. Protect Your Friends. Select your “Profile” page and you will see your Friends in the left column. Select the pencil symbol adjacent the the “Friends” heading and uncheck “Show Friends”.  Doing so will protect the privacy of your friends from Facebook users who are not your friends.
3.  Instant Personalization. Facebook has provided “select partners (currently just Microsoft Docs, Pandora, and Yelp) the ability to automatically give you a more personalized experience when you’re on their websites.” By default this “Instant Personalization” is activated.  To change your “Instant Personalization” setting go to “Account” > “Privacy Settings” > “Applications and Websites” > “Instant Personalization” and select “Edit Settings”.  To deactivate Instant Personalization uncheck the box at the bottom of the page and confirm your decision.  I did!

Facebook is a marvelous tool for business and pleasure.  It has forever altered the way we communicate.  I for one am very grateful for all the hard work and commitment of the Facebook  team.  Nevertheless, Facebook is not responsible for the actions of all of its users.  It is your job to be responsible for your own actions, and to protect yourself against the actions of the few who would choose the ruin the Facebook experience.  Take the responsibility and make informed and deliberate decisions accordingly.