Facebook Changes

October 4, 2011

So Mr Zuckerberg has changed his social media site, yet again! Annoying? Slightly. But the network needs to continue to evolve for fear it would become stagnant and end up in the dusty vaults of social media history along with Bebo and Myspace.

One of the main concerns of people is of course their privacy, which is completely understandable. Changes to the network ultimately means changes to how information is spread.

Below I've outlined a few simple steps you can take to make your Facebook account more private.

Go to Account > Privacy Settings and select Edit settings next to "How tags work." Then hit Edit next to Profile Review and you'll be prompted to turn on the settings. Now, every time someone tags you in a status, photo, or place, the post will appear in the Pending approval section on your profile (in the left sidebar).

When you write your status, click on the small triangle next to the Post button. It gives you a number of options who you want to allow see your post: friends, public (anyone on the Internet), or custom (exclude individuals or lists). 

To change the visibility after you've posted, head back to the post on your wall, hover over it, and click the drop-down menu in the upper-right to change the visibility.

You can dictate what different people see on your profile. Go to your profile > Edit profile. Then head to one of the categories (on the left) and change the privacy  using the drop-down menu next to each item.

Another controversial change to Facebook is the introduction of the timeline feature. It is essentially like a scrapbook, retaining information of everything you do or have done. Allowing the information to be kept and archived forever. So that fly away comment about being hungover at work or professing your undying love for a (now) ex may come back to haunt you years after the event.


Since writing this, interestingly enough, Facebook has removed this functionality within the timeline. I have still left the details below for those who are interested in what they could have done!

By using the new timeline, you can actually see who has unfriended you over the years!
  • 1. Enable the new Facebook timeline.
  • 2. Pick a year in the timeline and locate the “Friends” box.
  • 3. Click on “Made New Friends.”
  • 4. Scroll through the list. Where you see an “Add Friend” box, you know that you are no longer friends with that person. If you haven’t unfriended them, they’ve unfriended you.
One of the bigger (but less in your face) tweaks is the fact that Apps will now only need to ask you once for permission to share stories on your behalf. This means that an App you once gave permission to access your information for a specific reason can now use that information on a regular basis. You can check what Apps you have granted permission to by going into the edit profile section. They are calling this Frictionless Sharing.

To change your App settings:
Click the little downward facing arrow in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page and select “privacy settings.” Then select “edit settings” under “apps and websites.”
From there, click on each App and change the selection following “Who can see posts and activity from this app?” from “friends” to “customize.” Finally, click to change the setting to “only me.”

Many companies now include Facebook Connect or Facebook Like buttons on their website. Did you ever wonder how your friends names appear? Facebook uses a tracking mechanism to follow your movements on the web even after you have logged out of your account.

Here’s how the Facebook data collection works: When you log in to Facebook or visit Facebook.com without logging in, the site places small files called “cookies” on your computer. Some of these cookies remain on your computer even after you log out, and then whenever you visit a site that connects to Facebook – such as those with a “Like” button – information from those cookies is sent back to Facebook, providing a record of where you’ve been on the Web.

For those who have concerns over this, an excellent add on for Mozilla is "Ghostery" which gives you extra anonymity when browsing online. Also delete session cookies on a regular basis or else use a separate browser to go on Facebook.

These are just some of the key privacy changes you can make, there are loads more which I will add over the coming days.

Essentially it all boils down to common sense, many people find the anonymity of being behind a computer screen so relaxing that they post more information than they would if talking face to face with someone. Throwing complete caution to the wind.

Six Degrees, social media Ireland. Training, Marketing, SEO.