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    Tighten your Facebook privacy settings[/size]

    By Scott Mace

    In their hunt for market dominance, social networks Facebook, Google Buzz, and Microsoft Live are redefining what social means — and in the process, straining the bounds of personal privacy.[/b]

    Facebook, the big daddy of these three, has made quiet changes to its privacy settings, ones that members need to understand if they are going to manage the distribution of their personal information.[/size]

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/05/20/01 (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.[/td]


    Viewing 17 reply threads
    • #1224538

      One obvious solution. Don’t sign up for Facebook in the first place. Most of us need social networking of this type like we need a hole in the head. A lot of sign ups, especially by teenagers is just peer pressure.

    • #1224562

      I think the article missed a large privacy issue — ads. If you look at “Account Settings”, the far right tab says “Facebook Ads”. Clicking on this will reveal:

      Facebook does not give third party applications or ad networks the right to use your name or picture in ads. If this is allowed in the future, this setting will govern the usage of your information.

      And, if you look below, you will see that the default is to allow using your name and information on both 3rd party and facebook ads — if they “decide” to start doing it, of course.

    • #1224571

      Thank you for the advice about Zesty.ca’s page.
      I eventually, with much difficulty, got Zesty to find me, and have now bookmarked Zesty complete with my I.D.
      I will check myself frequently to see what new privacy breeches have been perpetrated without warning.

      Fatal omission from article, and also from Zesty.ca’s page, HOW DO I FIND MY I.D.

      To see what is revealed to the public you have to search for your name.
      If you are John Smith you are out of luck – there are 24 of you, and you have to click on each one before you get a result.

      I eventually found that my ID appears to be the last number in the Firefox address bar when viewing some of my pages.
      e.g. when I login and view my profile, the address bar holds my number preceded by
      having selected and copied the number, then in the top left search bar on Zesty.ca’s page I can paste my number

      That works for some of my facebook pages – but not all, e.g. my privacy settings have no ID at all, the address bar holds exactly


    • #1224577

      One good thing Facebook has done recently is to introduce an account setting to notify you whenever your account is accessed from a new device (strictly, a new browser not carrying a specific Facebook cookie). Only yesterday a slew of spam was posted from the account of one of my Facebook friends, probably after she had been phished. This would at least have given her early warning of the compromise.

      The setting is described in an article from The H, at http://www.h-online.com/security/news/item/Facebook-introduces-security-measures-1000719.html

      Regards – Philip

      • #1224594

        One good thing Facebook has done recently is to introduce an account setting to notify you whenever your account is accessed from a new device (strictly, a new browser not carrying a specific Facebook cookie). Only yesterday a slew of spam was posted from the account of one of my Facebook friends, probably after she had been phished. This would at least have given her early warning of the compromise.

        On further reflection, I suspect my friend’s account was compromised by a cross-site scripting attack. Something she “liked” probably took her to a malicious site which delivered up some Javascript which performed the unauthorised posts, riding on the back of her current login session. Moral of the story: don’t “like” anything that you’re not certain of the origin of, and be wary of posted links.

        Regards – Philip

    • #1224578


      Facebook claim they notify users when they change privacy.
      That would be true if they issued an email warning to the user at least one week before they implement it.
      It is a lie if the email is not received and read with adequate time for the user to prepare.
      They never even sent me any email at any time.

      Facebook allowed Google full access to my newly defaulted privacy for EIGHT WEEKS before I was warned.
      The only warning was a notice when I logged in after a prolonged (and for me normal) absence from Facebook.
      This followed privacy changes they made last year.
      I do not remember if they even warned me at logon following the latest changes.

      Only a liar would claim that telling me 8 weeks after Google has cached me is proper notice.

      Privacy is like Cinderella.
      Last night I painfully went through all my settings.
      It really ticked me of that I had to choose settings ranging from Everyone to Friends, or the final item “customise”
      and then I had to wait for another selection exactly like the first, except “customise” was replaced by “Only Me”.
      So a few hundred clicks later I was fully private (except for one item that had no “Only Me” option).

      Also, because Facebook has caused my spam to surge up to 100 per week instead of a normal 2 a week,

      Today, following the above new article on Zesty. I had to login to Facebook to try to find my ID.
      Horror of horrors – all my privacy has been destroyed – it is all back to original default settings – wide open.

      I have now falsified my date of birth – even if the current default has protected my D.O.B. from Google so far,
      Facebook promises and privacy are worthless, and will give a rich harvest to Identity Thieves.
      I am sure that Advertiser of Pensions /Annuities are interested in D.O.B.,
      so even if Facebook has not yet sold me out to them, it can only be a matter of time – perhaps Midnight again !

      Some months ago I accepted a friend invitation from my brother, and we are now “friends”.
      BUT twice (about once a month) I get the same “reminder” email which not only tells me of the invitation,
      it also suggest 4 other people that I might consider inviting.

      2 out of 4 have emailed me on business matters,
      and I guess Facebook found my email address in their contact details.
      I do not know them personally, but they are honourable.

      The other 2 are unknown. I guess they must have also sent me emails.
      These last two have several common characteristics :-
      They are both foreign
      They have the same first name
      They have the same wife (deduced from identical “family” picture in profiles)
      Their first name starts VI, and may have been the source of recent Viagra spam.

      I have decided to deactivate my account, with the intention of briefly reactivating to view my children’s photos.
      When further privacy breeches occur (which they will) I will look into deleting my account altogether.


    • #1224603

      One additional not on the privacy issue – the Instant Personalization Pilot Program was introduced with a default setting of “ALLOW” that makes your info available to other websites and basically anyone on the Internet. You need to go into Account >Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites >Instant Personalization> Edit Settings, and uncheck “Allow”. However, there is a program available for free that is supposed to reset all your privacy settings simply by running it. If you go to http://www.reclaimprivacy.org, you will find it and an explanation as to what it does – and it’s FREE! This website provides an independent and open tool for scanning your Facebook privacy settings. The source code and its development will always remain open and transparent.

    • #1224649

      Try this:
      …very handy.

    • #1224726

      On the long list of reasons computer users do not read user licensing agreements (ULAs) and privacy policies, a NYT article provides one that is sadly on point, and humorous. The story states that Facebook’s privacy policy is longer than the U.S. Constitution — if you don’t add in the constitutional amendments.


    • #1224773

      This came out yesterday…

      Facebook announces revamp of privacy settings

      Thadd McNamara
      IT Director
      Coast Radio Co., Inc.
      KKDV ~ KKIQ ~ KUIC

    • #1224807

      …and if this all gets too serious… if you go to your profile, scroll right down to the bottom and look on the right side, where in my case it used to say “English (UK)” you can click on this and choose “English (Pirate)” 🙂
      Hence instead of “liking” my friend’s photo:
      “Ye an’ thar scurvy dog Lisa be enjoyin’ this.”
      …and many more… apparently my iPhone is now my “Pocket Parrot”… and my friend apparently likes someone’s post…
      “That wench Emma finds Donna’s recent tales to her likin’.”
      Um, lucky she has a sense of humour…

    • #1224817

      Ha! Just came across this story:
      Facebook is being cited in almost one in five of online divorce petitions, lawyers have claimed.

      Published: 1:02PM GMT 21 Dec 2009
      Facebook fueling divorce, research claims
      Suspicious spouses have also used the websites to find evidence of flirting and even affairs which have led to divorce.

      The social networking site, which connects old friends and allows users to make new ones online, is being blamed for an increasing number of marital breakdowns.

      Divorce lawyers claim the explosion in the popularity of websites such as Facebook and Bebo is tempting to people to cheat on their partners.

      Suspicious spouses have also used the websites to find evidence of flirting and even affairs which have led to divorce.

      One law firm, which specialises in divorce, claimed almost one in five petitions they processed cited Facebook.


    • #1224931

      As far as FACEBOOK settings resets go I saw this on the TV. and then found their website. They claim that their free program will automatically reset your privacy settings to” Friends only.All the settings. you merely drag the Saveface tag up to the right of your address bar. Then you log into facebook and click the tag. and it does it all. I tried it and it was easy… here is the link it is from untangle.:


      Please share this with your readers after you try it out..

      Thank you.

    • #1224950

      This sounds similar to http://www.reclaimprivacy.org/ which I mentioned above, but choice is always good. In the case of http://www.reclaimprivacy.org/ it doesn’t change anything, just reports anything you might like to check.

    • #1225013

      How to check all of your Facebook Privacy settings at once – Simple Help
      The folks over at ReclaimPrivacy.org have created a fantastic tool that will quickly scan all of your Facebook Privacy settings, and report back to you any “weaknesses” it finds. It’s simple to use, and …

      This is very useful tool to set your privacy in facebook

    • #1225122

      Firefox users who have the Adblock Plus plug-in installed can filter Instant Personalization info without logging out. This method will block Facebook from sharing data with any websites other than those in Facebook’s domain list. Apply at your own risk…

      add the following filters:


      The above filters tell Firefox never to allow any site other than Facebook’s four sites (facebook.com, facebook.net, fbcdn.com, and fbcdn.net) to access Facebook. Thus, Facebook continues to work perfectly, but other sites don’t get to talk to Facebook at all.

      Source: Digg.com

    • #1225272

      There is a web site that you can use to automatically check your settings:
      Add site to Favorites (a pop up tells you how when you mouse over the link).
      Program has links to settings that are not secure so you can change them.
      No settings at this time for the Web and Applications problem that is mentioned in the Windows Secrets article.
      For Internet Explorer only at this time — the site says that there are some problems with Firefox and Chrome.

    • #1225300

      I have absolutely NO interest in Facebook, and your column just reinforces those feelings.
      A friend recently signed up for a new Facebook page and I received an invitation to join him. That is not my complaint.
      At the bottom of the invitation were the names and photos of FIVE other Facebook members they thought I might want to view as well! Two were Physicians (one of whom had died six months previously); one a distant cousin; one an acquaintance; and one, a former acquaintance…
      I asked my friend to request an explanation from Facebook; they referred him to their Privacy Page. When you allow Facebook access to your online address book, you immediate lose control of that info forever. You cannot delete, remove, or edit it. It becomes the permanent property of Facebook ad infinitum.
      I faxed a letter to Facebook’s CEO with my opinion of this policy; it was handed off to a subordinate who also referred me to their Privacy pages. This was my ‘personal’ email address, not one of my ‘public’ ones. I may have to change email addresses because of their outrageous, and possibly illegal behavior. I never gave Facebook permission to use my address to link me with anyone; and if anyone is interested in pursuing legal action against them, please contact me so I can join you.

    • #1225799

      As described in an earlier post,
      when Facebook invited me to be a friend to my brother,
      it listed 4 “Other people you may know on Facebook:”

      I have never allowed Facebook to upload my contact details,
      and only 2 of their suggestions send me the occasional email.
      The other two (with the same wife) I do not remember.

      I am certain that all 4 of these people have allowed Facebook to see their contacts,
      and Facebook identified me as being one of the contacts “you may know on Facebook”

      It occurs to me that when a spammer gets a Facebook account,
      he can allow Facebook to upload his contact details,
      and by incorporating within them POSSIBLE victim email addresses,
      Facebook will decide which are registered as in their list.

      Without Facebook, the only way I spammer could validate my email address as being valid was,
      If I clicked on his “unsubscribe” link,
      or if I allowed display of an image.
      Facebook makes it so much easier for spammers to validate real emails and focus on me – and on you.


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