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21 May, 2012

5 steps to secure your Facebook privacy and data

Here are five easy steps you can take to guard your privacy and enjoy your time more securely on Facebook.

As a media consultant I advise journalists working in countries hostile to independent journalism and these are some of the first things I teach them about how to get the most out of their online time.

  1. Use Google Chrome. Chrome is the most modern Web browser on the market and the developer community is robustly developing extensions that let you take back control of your online sessions.
  2. Install the extension for Chrome.
    This extension was coded by a former Googler and prevents Facebook, Google, Twitter, advertisers and other third-parties from tracking you as you surf the Internet.
  3. Install the Stylish extension for Chrome.This extension lets you install Web-site specific mods that let you personalize your Web experience and de-clutter your screen.
  4. Install Facebook - No ads.
    After you install Stylish, search for Facebook mods like Facebook - No ads. This extension is up-to-date and will remove the clutter from the right column. No ads and no chat = more calm.

  5. Lock down your privacy settings in Facebook.This is a no-brainer, but some of the settings you would like to make are not always easy to find.

    Others settings like new Facebook features (Timelines) and newly-installed apps mean you have to check these settings frequently.

    For most of the privacy controls, the advice is simple.

    You must be vigilant and dig down through the 'Custom' settings to find the share with 'Only Me' option for the things you really want to control.

    Be sure to click through every privacy screen. Closely examine the screens for tags, timelines, ads, social ads, and posts.

    This Lifehacker article details all the settings you should be scrutinizing.

    Establish separate lists of groups of your 'friends.' This helps you ensure that posts you intend for your 'family' do not appear in your public timeline or to any other group.
    It is good advice to create and manage only a short set of lists like this. Family, Close Friends, and Colleagues.