Sunday, December 11, 2016

Facebook "Friends" And Your Privacy

How many of you have hundreds of people on your Facebook "Friends" list?  Are they really all your friends, real friends?  Are some of them just acquaintances, some maybe even enemies?  How much personal information do you share on your Facebook page and do you expect it to be private?  It is not private!
I will share with you one example of why it is not private and then discuss how to keep some things more private on Facebook.

In July of 2015, I had sent someone a email asking for information about events that were going on in Bridgeport with the Bridgeport School Board.  In this persons response to me they shared this photo.  This person is not friends with Marti Sageman on Facebook but my understanding is that someone they knew is or was at that time.  That person that was friends with Mrs. Sageman took a screenshot of something that Mrs. Sageman had posted on her Facebook page. This post was not made "public" by Mrs. Sageman, it was shared only with her Facebook "friends".

I can't speak to why this person took a screenshot of Mrs. Sageman's private post and thought to share it with others.  I don't have a smartphone so I can't be sure but this looks like it was taken by a smartphone?  This photo was sent to me along with some comments by the sender of the email.  In those comments they said "..... Thought you might get a kick out of it..... Made me laugh".
This was probably a very trying time for Mrs. Sageman, probably very stressful and emotional time for her.  This was the time when there were accusations made against her and a lawsuit filed that was later thrown out by the courts.  Most people would post something like this and expect their "friends" to be supportive and not expect anyone to share that with others that may find it funny or use it in hurtful ways.

So how do you protect yourself and your posts on Facebook from being shared with others?
My first bit of advice would be to choose wisely who you accept as your friends on Facebook!
But you will never really know for sure who you can trust and who you can't so the next best bet is to learn how to use you privacy settings.  If you use Facebook here is what you need to know about all your privacy settings:

On every individual post you make you can choose the audience you want to allow to see it.   You can set it to "public" or just "friends" or choose other custom options.  With the public option, everyone in the world can see it.  With the friends option, only the people that are supposed friends with you on Facebook can see it.  Under the custom option, you can select just a few friends to see it or specifically exclude certain people from seeing it.  You can also set up "lists" to sort the people into that are on your Facebook friends list.  Examples could be "Family" for your real family members.  Others could be "Close Personal Friends" or "Work Associates",  "Church Group" etc....  The list is as endless as your imagination.  Say you wanted to share a somewhat naughty joke on Facebook, it would probably be best to go to the options setting for that post and choose to exclude your church group from seeing it.  Sharing family photos of children or very personal events etc.... choose only your family and maybe close personal friends.  When ever you update your profile photo or your Facebook cover photo, those photos are automatically set for "public" and there is nothing you can do about that.  With all the weirdo's in this world nowadays, I cringe every time I see people setting very personal photos and especially photos of their children as their profile or cover photos on Facebook.  There are many security and privacy settings you can tweak on Facebook to provide you with more privacy and everyone should learn how to use them.  You can set it so no one other than your supposed Facebook friends can see your photos or even who your other friends are on Facebook.  If you ever want to see just how much of your personal information is visible to the public, just go to your personal timeline page on Facebook and up in the right hand corner next to the "view activity log" tab or box you will see another little box.  In that box, you can click on that and you will see the options of "view as" and "timeline settings".  If you click on the "view as" option, that will show you what anyone else in the world can see on your Facebook profile.

So choose very carefully who you are friends with on Facebook and learn how to use your privacy and security settings.

** Edited 6:48 pm Sunday December 11th, 2016
Further thoughts on this topic:  I had to come back here and add my message to whoever took that screenshot of Mrs. Sageman's very private post and shared it with others:
You should have the decency to either fess up and apologize to Mrs. Sageman or at least remove yourself from her "friends" on Facebook.  You are not her friend!

Mrs. Sageman was put through hell and back over the past year because of one persons speculations and accusations.  I admit that I was a part of that due to my ignorance and believing the wrong people, and I have apologized to Mrs. Sageman for what harm I may have caused her.  An apology though will never really undue what harm was done but it is the best I had to offer.  To anyone  out there that may have either intentionally lied about Mrs. Sageman or done things with ill intent in your actions, I think there is a special place in hell for people like you.  If someone did those things - I hope that you go through hell and back too, a thousand times worse than what Mrs. Sageman was put through!

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