| Tom Nebe |
HAMBURG (dpa) – If you use Facebook and worry that you’re letting private information leak out too easily, take heart. It’s not so hard to set controls to levels with which you’re comfortable.
Simple tools like the Friends lists or Activity Log are useful for keeping track of what you make public. Here are some tips to make your time on Facebook more efficient and to help save you from potentially nasty surprises.
(1) Use the activity log
This log keeps track of every action by a user in chronological order.
“It’s only visible for your own timeline and can be filtered by certain activities,” says a company spokesman. Changes can also be made retroactively, meaning an accidental “like” can be expunged. It’s also possible to change access to one’s own posts after the fact, limiting them to friends or making them more public.
(2) Create events properly
Despite all the reports of teenagers accidentally inviting entire cities to their parties, there are still good uses for the Events function. It’s just important to make sure you pick the right group to invite.
The invitations default to “Guests and Friends,” which allows anyone invited to invite yet more guests in turn. There’s even an “Open Invitation,” whereby friends of those invited can invite others. As for the “Public” option, that’s open to anyone on Facebook. Never pick that one for a private party.
To be absolutely in control, always pick the “Invitation Only” option.
(3) Create your own friends lists
So, you want to share your holiday snapshots with your close friends, but not your colleagues from work? It’s a snap with Facebook’s lists.
Scroll over a friend’s name in your list of friends to see their current status.
If you don’t have any lists, they’ll probably just come up as a “friend”.
But you can change that. Facebook automatically gives you the option of listing people as “Close Friends” or “Acquaintances.”
But there’s nothing to stop you from setting up your own list – for example “work colleagues.”
These groups are then listed on the left side of the start page. Click on the list name and up comes a news feed with just the activities of those in the list.
Returning to the question of the holiday photos, that means it’s now possible to just share photos with those in the friends list, but not those in others.
“They’re just available for the selected audience,” said the spokesman. That still applies even if a friend shares the contents on their own page.
(4) Don’t publish accidentally
Even if privacy settings are honed precisely, it’s still best to be vigilant, warns Carola Elbrecht, an expert on digital rights at the German Federal Association of Consumer Centres.
“Friend doesn’t automatically mean friend,” she says and suggests that “Facebook users should always ask themselves before posting: ‘What would I tell my friends in real life?’”
Antje Burmeister, a German lawyer, also warns about carelessly posting.
“Even if an entry is just shared with friends, the contents could still find their way to a boss or another undesired party.” If you stay home sick, it’s best to not post photos of yourself out and about.