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Quickfire guide to Facebook privacy settings

As Facebook continues to systematically tweak your settings and your privacy options behind the scenes – we thought we’d pin down some of the major options and pitfalls.

First things first – you now have ‘privacy shortcuts’ under the padlock icon at the top right of your page as well as full access to the privacy menu under the gearwheel icon. There you can decide who can see your future posts, review all your posts and posts you're tagged in, limit the audience for past posts, decide who can look you up via your email address (using the Friendfinder), who can look you up by Facebook name and whether you want your profile indexed in Google. Basically you have a fair bit of flexibility on the extent to which other people can see your stuff or even track you down.

In the ‘Timeline and Tagging’ section, you can decide if people can post on your Timeline, get notified when a friend tags you (so you can remove it if necessary), check what can be seen on your profile through the eyes of a specific friend or the general public, who can see posts you’re tagged in, who can see other people’s posts on your Timeline, review who you are tagging in your own posts and whether Facebook’s facial recognition software can ‘recommend’ tagging you to others. Moving down the menu on the left, you can set your blocking settings, and finally, you can toggle your message filtering from basic to strict under the padlock icon.

Scrolling further down the menu on the left, you can tweak your app settings to a certain extent – but frankly – the less you ‘allow this app to access all your information’ the better. Then there is ad settings which unfortunately isn’t as good as it sounds – it just allows you not to be publicly implicated in an ad someone else sees if you happen to like the ‘page’ running the advert.

You’d also be well advised to turn on secure browsing (https) in your Account Settings. There is a lot of third party software that can remove Facebook like buttons from websites you visit and even the holy grail – AdBlock which removes all ads from Firefox and Chrome. In the meantime – stay safe out there and don’t post naked pictures of yourself with your boyfriend’s brother and forget to adjust the settings so his mum can see it too.

Oh, and don't copy and paste official sounding assertments of ownership rights over your posted content as your status. They are utter rubbish and a total hoax and the contract you never bothered reading when you signed up was binding. Check the Facebook Terms of Service to know where you actually stand and whether you are happy to trade the benefits of using it for the price they quietly demand

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