Best Practices or Paranoia? 3 Facebook Tips to Keep You Safe

Feb 22

I’ve been checking out some fun Facebook apps lately and of course, they have to access my personal information so that I can use them on my business pages. Since I am old and un-trusting I wondered why these apps have to access personal info and, in some cases, info on my friends.

One particular area I especially mistrust is the request to access my birthday. Why do they need my birthday? They gonna send me a card? Write happy birthday on my wall? No thanks. Besides, who else would have access to my birthday info? And what if their systems are hacked? If a hacker has access to your name and birthday, couldn’t s/he steal your identity next?

The whole thing made me wonder about “best practices” versus “unorthodox” or downright untruthful practices on Facebook. Here are some simple steps that mix best practices with my own distrustful, doubting, untruthful but keep-my-identity-safe type practices to help you stay identity-theft-free.

• Become best friends with your security settings.
Navigate through your settings and make sure you know what each one means. Of particular importance is the “Choose your privacy settings – Apps, games and websites” section. When your friends download an app it has access to your info too. Change the default settings so that when your friends download an app, the app can only access information you want it to have.

• Apps can only access information that you’ve already made available to everyone.
Check to see exactly what information you have allowed “everyone” to see, and change the settings for those things you don’t want the apps to have access to. This comes into play when you’re downloading an app and a “request for permission” to access your info anytime pops up. Also remember the key word: “anytime.”

• Change your birthday before downloading an app.
I changed both the date and the year on my birthday and am proud to
announce my 105th b-day this year. ☺ Quite unorthodox and untruthful
move, this pre-emptive measure. And it may not be necessary since my
privacy settings are mostly set to “friends only.” But this old lady is happy
with the extra measure. It’s a permanent change for the “anytime” apps.

Can you think of anything else? I’d love to add to my arsenal of paranoiac anti-access fortress-protecting weapons.

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