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Tips for Social Networks

While Safe Shepherd can help you remove your personal information from some of the sites hosting it, it is still up to you to take manage the information that you make public on the social networks that you belong to. Here is a list of resources to help you take control of your privacy on your social networks.

Facebook Privacy

The trend at Facebook is to make as much of your information public as they can get away with. That said, for a lot of people, the benefits outweigh the risks, and deleting their profiles is not a good solution. So how do you keep up with your friends on Facebook, and minimize the chance that a future employer is going to find that picture of you doing a keg stand in college? Let’s start with Facebook’s Privacy Shortcuts:

  • Click the “Privacy Shortcuts” button next to your name in the blue bar at the top of your screen (it looks like a little lock).
  • Click the first option, “Who can see my stuff?”
  • Make sure that only the people you want to share with can see your future posts (this could be your whole “Friends” list, a specific group you’ve created of close friends only, etc).
  • Use the other two options under “Who can see my stuff?” to make sure that you get to approve anything that your friends post about you, and to see what your profile looks like to someone else.
  • Next, click the “Who can contact me?” option.
  • The second option asks who can send you friend requests. It’s always a good idea to make sure that you know the person you’re friending on Facebook. Friending strangers will not only put your privacy at risk, it puts the privacy of your other friends at risk too. If you’re worried about strangers sending you friend requests, you can change this setting to allow only friends of friends to send you friend requests.
  • Finally, use the last option, “How do I stop someone from bothering me?” to block specific users whom you have had problems with.

This is a good start to managing your privacy on Facebook, but we can do even better! At the bottom of the Privacy Shortcuts menu, you’ll see a link for more options. Click that to open your privacy setting control panel. Read through the various menus, and limit your content as you see fit. We recommend that you limit as much as you can to “friends only” so that at least you know exactly who sees your information. The last recommendation I have is to opt out of Facebook’s targeted advertising. Here’s how:

  • Click the “Ads” link near the bottom of the menu on the left side of your screen.
  • Click the “Edit” buttons at the right of your screen and make sure your preference is set to “No one”.
  • For the last item, “Website and Mobile App Custom Audiences”, click the “Opt out” link, and follow the instructions to opt out of this type of ad.

Remember, Facebook changes it privacy policy and terms of service more often than Cher changes outfits—check your settings at least once a month to make sure that you’re only broadcasting what you want to the audience you’ve selected.

Twitter Privacy

Over the last few years Twitter has taken the world by storm as the hottest new social network. Being limited to only 150 characters means that people are forced to keep their message short and sweet. However, if you don’t know how to control your privacy on twitter, what you say will stay on the internet forever.

We suggest you read these 10 Must Know Twitter Privacy Tips as well as how to protect your tweets.

LinkedIn Privacy

Although LinkedIn is designed to host the sort of information you actually want people to be able to find, it’s still a good idea to review your privacy setting and make a few adjustments to what others can learn about you online. For instance, did you know that, by default, LinkedIn notifies people when you’ve looked at their profile? Make your browsing anonymous on the Privacy & Settings page of your account. LinkedIn offers a pretty comprehensive overview of its privacy controls in its help center. Make sure you’re sharing what you think you’re sharing by reading through guides there.

Google+ Privacy

Last year Google came out with it’s very own social network. While not as big as Facebook, you should still know how to control your privacy.

21 awesome tips for controlling your privacy on Google’s social network


Guides to deal with specific websites