What’s Up in Social Media with D: Diplomatic Facebook Privacy


Welcome to the first in our series, "What's Up in Social Media with D", a look at a topic or helpful hint for small businesses looking to get ahead on social media from D. Cohn Communication's Darlene Cohn. 

Many of the questions I receive from individual users have to do with privacy, particularly on Facebook, so it seemed appropriate to start there. Here’s one from Charlotte in New York. It has been edited for, well, privacy.

darlene-cohnQ: “I have family on Facebook. They look at everything -- everything I post, anything posted about me, anything in my feed, and this includes any time I am tagged, etc. They are wonderful loving family members, but I have some groups in which I'd like to be able to speak a tad more freely without feeling like my family can see it all. Is this solvable with that "Lists" function on Facebook?”

A: I think we all can relate. Take a two-step approach to keep your vigilant family at bay.

1. Change your settings to review all tags. You can approve whether or not you’re tagged in pictures and posts. This doesn’t mean other people can’t use your name in their posts, but it does mean they won’t link to your profile until you say it’s ok.

The simplest way to do this is to click on “News Feed”. Next, click on the triangle in the upper right to see the pull-down menu. Choose “Settings.” From here, click “Timeline and Tagging” on the left. Then “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” Click “Edit” and turn it on. Now you will receive a notification whenever someone wants to tag you, and you can decide whether or not you’re cool with that.

You’ll notice there are several options here for all the ways we tag one another on Facebook. I recommend setting all of them so you get to review what goes on your page and what doesn’t.

2. Yes! Make Lists. Facebook automatically makes a few lists for you, like “Close Friends,” but you can make your own custom lists, too – as many you like. Go crazy. Here’s how:

Click on the “News Feed” button on the upper right of your screen. At the bottom of that menu, choose “See All,” then at the bottom again, choose “More.” A new screen will open up. Click the “+Create List” button, name your list, and then click on friends’ pictures to add them to the list.

To use your list, whenever you make a new post, at the bottom of the status update box, pull down the “Friends” menu. You can choose which list to share it with – i.e. Public, Friends, Close Friends, or your new list. Only members of that list will see that post.

Remember though – just because you don’t allow a tag or only post a status to a select group of friends, there’s no way to prevent someone in that group from copying it and sharing it with others. Nothing is ever 100% private on the Internet. The prevailing wisdom I defer to is “If you wouldn’t shout it at a cocktail party, it doesn’t belong on the Internet.”

Hope that helps!