If you’re a Facebook user, you may have noticed some new icons that have begun appearing in the Facebook navigation bar. To the right of the “Home” link at the upper right corner of the navigation bar, there is a new Privacy Shortcuts icon (see below).
This new icon is intended to give Facebook users easy access to the privacy controls they are most concerned about, and to provide more detailed, plain language explanations of what those controls mean to the everyday Facebook user. Clicking on the down arrow next to each of the questions above provides quick access to your privacy controls so you can see your settings and change them if necessary.
For example, under “Who can see my stuff?” you’ll see who can see future posts (your post privacy setting), get access to the Activity Log so that you can view all of your posts and tags, and get to the “View As” link, which will show you what others can see on your Timeline.
One of the ways Facebook users can inadvertently share information they may not want to share is through the many Apps that have access to the user’s Facebook account. In the past, when an app wanted access to your Facebook account, there was only one button, to either accept or reject the connection between the app and Facebook. Facebook has now made changes to app permissions, so now when you go to your app settings, you will see a list of permissions the app has been granted, and you may allow some permissions and reject others.
The Activity Log has been streamlined, with some changes in the navigation, making it easier to find what you’re looking for and review your Facebook activity. You can easily review your own posts, posts you are tagged in, posts by others, and posts you have hidden in order to make changes, remove tags, or mark items as spam. You can even remove tags on multiple photos at once and send messages to those who posted the photo, asking them to delete it, if necessary. As you use these new features, Facebook will provide small pop-ups designed to make sure that you understand what you are doing; for example, Facebook will remind you that when you hide something from your Timeline, it may still be visible in other places, such as your news feed or in Facebook search.
Speaking of Facebook search, one recent Facebook change makes things a bit less private – Facebook has removed the ability to hide your name from Facebook’s search. If someone searches on your name in the Facebook search bar, your profile will appear in the results.
Whether you use Facebook for strictly personal reasons or as a business development tool, it is important to review your privacy and security settings and to use caution when providing access to your account, photos, posts, etc., whether to other individuals, through sharing on Facebook, or through Facebook apps. These features change frequently, and staying abreast of changes isn’t always easy.
To learn more about how to use Facebook wisely for personal and professional reasons, take a look at Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, offered by the ABA Law Practice Management Section.