Facebook is a service that "millions of people use everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet".
Those who have not yet enabled the secure connection (HTTPS) option in their Account Settings, or have not done so for a reason, do not log in to Facebook via the standard, unencrypted page http://www.facebook.com! To keep your credentials at least a tad safer, always use the secure page instead: https://www.facebook.com. Your session will continue unencrypted (using the standard HTTP protocol, not HTTPS), but at least your user name and password do not travel unencrypted via the Internet. If you want to continue your whole Facebook session encrypted, click on the Address Bar of your browser and add an "s" after "http" and then press Enter key on your keyboard. The page will reload encrypted and your whole Facebook session will be protected until you log out of Facebook or close your browser.
If you are logging in to Facebook via some web site (for example, after clicking a Like button), make sure you add the "s" after "http" there also! All Facebook standard login pages use the insecure HTTP protocol by default and login credentials are easy to steal this way.
Before clicking the Login button, always make sure you clear the Keep me logged in check box! Otherwise, your Facebook session will continue until you close your Internet browser (not just a tab, but the whole browser) - and your personal data might fall into hands of cyber-criminals, or malicious scripts might misuse your still active Facebook session for spreading ill-intended messages with links to malicious sites.
Please log out of Facebook after each visit by opening Account menu on the top right (the cogwheel icon) and clicking the Log Out command!
Use Lists to limit people's access to any item (such as Status, Photo, Video, etc). Lists are also good for quick filtering of updates from certain groups of friends.
Facebook has added some built-in lists - Close Friends, Acquaintances, Family, Restricted - to make the categorization easier:
- Close Friends - only your very best friends that you trust with your life.
- Acquaintances - people you sometimes socialize with at school, work, Facebook, etc.
- Family - family members.
- Restricted - peope you don't know too well and who wanted to become friends on Facebook for some strange reason. This list is for those you do not trust - these people should not see any of your private information. They have access only to these posts that you decide to make Public (visible to all Facebook users).
Additionally, you might have some more default lists based on where you live or work or the schools you attended.
By default, all people are in the Friends list.
You should not add the same person to more than one built-in list! If you want to share something with specific people only, create your own list instead.
To manage the lists, click Facebook logo on the top left. Then click the More link in the Friends section.
Click the list you want to manage.
Now you'll see all updates from the members of the list. To manage list members, click the Manage List button on the right and click Add/Remove Friends.
Click to add or remove a person. The check mark, of course, means the friend is in the list. You can also filter friends by name using the Search box on the top right.
Click Done to update the list.
You can also choose which types of updates you want to receive from members of a list. Click Manage List and then click Choose Update Types.
Now select or deselect any items on the list. I, for example, like to remove game updates from each and every list.
You might want to create more specific Lists for sharing updates with, for example, class-mates, co-workers or mates at the same basketball club.
Click Facebook logo on the top left. Then click the More link in the Friends section.
Type in a name for the list. For example, "Teachers" or "Co-workers".
Then click Create List.
Now, using the Manage List button on the right, you can add or remove members, choose update types or rename the list. Scroll a bit upwards for instructions on these actions.
To delete the custom list, click Delete List on the Manage List menu.
As the picture below states, removing a List does not remove any rights on the posts that were shared with the List. If you need to change visibility of a post, you must do so manually.
Click Confirm to remove the List.
After you fill your profile with personal information, it is mandatory to limit which lists of friends are able to see it. There is no point in sharing your detailed data with the world (Public) or with all friends on Facebook.
And remember - you do not have to fill all this data. If you want to be super-secret about something, blank fields are your best security policy against Graph Search and other privacy leaks! Facebook does require some information, but you can hide it from others.
To update your info and change access to your personal data, click your name on the top right. This will open your Timeline.
Then click the Update info button. If some information is missing, the button is replaced by something like Add work, Add city or similar - in such case, click the About link under your infromation.
Never, ever select the Public option in any of the following sections!
You have the following options for sharing the data here.
- Public - shared with the whole world. Never use this option for personal data!
- Friends - all Facebook friends, except those on the Restricted list.
- Friends except Acquaintances - all Facebook friends, except those on the Acquaintances or Restricted list.
- Only Me - self-explanatory.
- Custom - select specific people and Lists to show to or hide from.
- Close Friends - your very best friends you trust with your life.
- Family - self-explanatory.
- See all lists - built-in and custom Lists.
First, click Edit in the About You section.
Never enter any Personally Identifiable Information (PII - your birthday, address, nick names, etc) in the About Me box to prevent any possibility of identity theft. Limit the visibility to Friends or Friends except Acquaintances here.
Click Save to accept the changes.
Then click Edit in the Basic Info section.
If you prefer to hide your sex (not the "yes, please", but Male or Female) from your profile, clear the Show my sex on my timeline check box.
To hide your birth date completely, select the Don't show my birthday on my timeline option in the Birthday section. Other options are Show my full birthday on my timeline and Show only month & day on my timeline.
Data in the Interested In and Relationship Status section should be either hidden (Only Me) or visible to Close Friends only. If you want to shout it out loud, use the Friends except Acquaintances option, but don't make it visible to Public even if you're dating Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez!
Languages, Religion and Political Views should also be limited to Friends except Acquaintances only in most cases.
Click Save after making changes.
Next, click Edit in the Contact Info section.
Your primary e-mail address can be visible to Friends except Acquaintances if this is no problem with you (but beware stalkers!). Limit access to other e-mail addresses to Only Me or Close Friends.
Mobile Phones should be visible either to Only Me or Close Friends.
You can reveal your Work phone to more people in case you're doing some business on Facebook - but never use the Public option here!
IM Screen Names (such as your Windows Live Messenger or AIM) should again be accessible by Only Me or Close Friends in most cases to keep stalkers away. If you do business over an instant messenger, you might want to choose some more open option.
Your Address, City/Town, Zip and Neighborhood must be hidden from most people - either hide it completely by selecting Only Me or allow access by Close Friends only.
Website is the only option that you might consider showing to Public (all people on Facebook) - in case that's your business. If it's your personal blog, you should limit the access to Friends except Acquaintances here.
Click Save after you're done editing access rights.
Sharing Favorite Quotations is up to you - if these don't contain anything naughty or some strong language, you can share these with Friends or Friends except Acquaintances. If there's something not that widely acceptable, limit access to Close Friends or Only Me.
As usual, click Save to apply changes.
Now find the Living section on the left and click Edit.
Make your Current City and Hometown visible to Friends except Acquaintances or Close Friends only.
Click Edit in the Relationships and Family (or just Family) section.
Your Relationship Status should once again be visible to Only Me (to be on the safe side) or Close Friends.
In most cases, the same applies to Family members, but Friends except Acquaintances is acceptable here also.
Finally, move up to the topmost section on the left - Work and Education.
You can always limit the access to your Work, School and College/University information to Close Friends or even Only Me to keep unwanted people from finding you based on that data. Or you can be more open about it and reveal this information to Friends except Acquaintances.
That's it about your personal info on Facebook - click Done Editing to return to your Timeline.
You should always set good Privacy Settings first to prevent your posts being Public (visible to everyone on Facebook).
But sometimes you need to make a post (some text, photo, video, etc) either more private or less private than your default settings. This often applies to those who have some business on Facebook.
To change visibility of a post before posting, select some setting from the Lists combo box (left to the Post button).
If you want to change access rights to a post later, open your Facebook Timeline by clicking your name on top right. Click the Lists combo box right to the posting date and select an item from there.
To change the password for your Facebook account, open Account menu (the cogwheel icon) on the top right and click Account Settings.
In General tab, click the Edit link in the Password row.
Type your present password in the Current field. Then specify and confirm a new password in the New and Re-type new fields.
Please create a strong and unique password! Never use your personal information for a password. Consider using some free password manager program for securely storing and auto-filling user names and passwords.
Click Save Changes to activate your new password.
Your Facebook Timeline tells your whole life story and lists all your activities: your posts on other users' Walls, comments on their posts (photos, videos, links, Wall posts, etc), people you became friends with, your likes, answers to questions, events, profile changes, activity in games, etc. This is really a complete history about you on and off Facebook. Wow, such a fantastic place for finding out who you are and what you do!
If this is unacceptable for you, open your Timeline by clicking your name on the top right.
To hide any individual post from your Timeline, click the pen mark on its top right and select the Hide from Timeline option. To remove the post permanently, click Delete Post instead - this action will be confirmed for safety.
Sadly, you cannot remove whole types of posts or activities anymore (like you could on Profile Story). Happy surfing on your own Timeline!
Stay cautious about people who want to be added as your friend. There are really many fake accounts in every social network and cyber-crooks use them for stealing personal information. You wouldn't want your private photos to end up on a porn site, would you?
If you do not know a person, simply do not add him/her! After all - why should you do that?
You can remove a person from your Facebook friends by clicking your name on the top right and then clicking Friends under your profile photo.
Type a part of the unwanted person's name in the Search by Name box and click his/her name on the results.
The person's Facebook profile opens. Click the Friends button on the top right and click Unfriend.
Click Remove from Friends in the confirmation dialog.
Do not believe in all Facebook groups' and applications' promises. You will never earn millions by joining a group or allowing an application to access your personal information. You will just be another victim of identity theft.
If the unwanted app is visible on the left, stop your mouse pointer on its name and click the pen-shaped button. Select Remove App from the list.
If the application is not visible, click Account menu (cogwheel) and select Account Settings.
Click Apps on the left.
In the Apps you use section, click the X mark to remove an application. Confirm the removal by clicking Remove in the pop up dialog.
Stay cautious about strange posts and especially links. Posts like "OMG! You got to see this" or "Is that you on the video??", plus offers to get something valuable for free are examples of common scams on Facebook.
Very typical behavior of a malicious app on Facebook is to ask filling a survey before showing you the promised video or post. While the survey itself is not usually malevolent (but still earning dollars to cyber-crooks), it is followed by asking for your personal information such as full name, phone number, credit card number, etc. This is the place to really stop and think - why would displaying a simple video or news story need this? That's where an alarm should ring in your mind. Close the survey window right away and notify your friends about malicious app you just found.
Many other survey scams try to sign you up to some premium SMS/ring tone services or trick you into allowing a rogue application access your private data.
Here's an example of typical Facebook survey scam that also tricks you into adding a like post to your wall.
As usual, the title of the link and picture are provocative to draw most people's attention:
After clicking the link, another page will open with a supposed video. Clicking on it actually activates a hidden Like button that posts the link to your Facebook wall to help the scam spread virally. This is called clickjacking or likejacking.
No, the video will not play, you will be presented with a survey instead. Filling the survey earns cyber-crooks some money, but there's nothing good for you in it.
And yeah, no surveys available for Estonian users...
If you want to close the window or tab, you will be presented with a dialog that tries to fool you into staying on the page:
Going back to Facebook, you can see that you liked the link and added it to your wall. To remove it, click the X mark on the right.