With over 500 million users and 176 billion ads shown on Facebook during Q1 2010, Facebook is now both a huge social media network and a booming economy for many companies. This means you have to be careful about how you use Facebook. While they depend on their users, they also depend on showing you ads. And by they, I mean Facebook, application developers, advertisers etc.
Here are 13 tips to make your Facebook experience more secure and enjoyable so you don’t have to worry too much about using Facebook.
1. Change your password regularly – or at least have a secure password consisting of both upper- and lowercase letters as well as numbers and special characters as ! or “. Consider replacing letters with numbers, for example the letter “e” can be replaced with “3”, and so on. Don’t use your Facebook password anywhere else than Facebook. Facebook is a likely to be a huge attraction for hackers.
2. Avoid using the applications – or at least check’em out before you allow them to pull all your personal information, because that’s what they do. Also do NOT get tempted by scam applications such as “so many people visited your profile last week” etc., the application cannot know that – at least not until it has been running on your profile for a certain period of time, then it might be able to. Even worse are the applications/pages where you have to join/like in order to gain access to see what a celebrity looked like 20 years ago etc. They are not designed to do anything else but to get you signed up so they can get your data and send you advertisements.
3. Just like many applications, advertisements can be designed to pull your data if you participate in them, be it contests etc. It’s okay to click on the advertisements if you find it interesting, but as always, think before acting, especially if you’re asked to sign up.
4. Consider what you want to do with your Facebook profile when it comes to co-workers. Do you really want your boss, or co-workers, to know exactly what you did last week when you called in sick? If you must be friends with people from your workplace, create a separate friend list to put them on and restrict what information they can see about you – such as photos and status updates.
5. Not only co-workers shouldn’t be able to see everything you post. Adjust your privacy settings as secure and strict as possible, so your profile is not wide open to the world and all “friends of friends”.
6. Before publishing content, ask yourself what will happen if it goes public. A picture of you and your partner only visible to certain friend lists might still be downloaded by somebody and uploaded somewhere else – it’s a long shot, but it happens. It’s also not uncommon these days, for a new boss to look you up on Facebook before hiring you – they’ll also Google you.
7. Consider deleting photos and information that are no longer relevant.
8. You don’t have to wear a tin foil hat to use this tip, but it might help. Consider creating another e-mail account only for Facebook, in case hackers get access to your profile or Facebook in general. Or even more likely, an application will pull it and start e-mailing you with offers you don’t want – it’s better to get it on a free webmail account that can handle it, other than your personal e-mail account where it easily gets too annoying.
9. Depending on how you use your Facebook profile, consider if it’s necessary to post your home address and mobile/phone number. In most cases, the people you befriend on Facebook will already know this – and if they don’t, there’s probably a reason, so let’s keep it that way.
10. Do NOT publish photos of others or their information unless they’ve said it’s okay. Be sure to check with the local laws in your country about posting photos on the Internet if they contain other people.
11. Help make Facebook’s terms & conditions better by participating in their Bill of Rights and Responsibilities group.
12. If you’re unsatisfied with the terms & conditions, you can e-mail [email protected] – but don’t hold your breath.
13. Had enough of Facebook? Use this link to delete your account (it requires you to login first).