Facebook Privacy: 4 Valuable Yet Hard to Find Settings

Facebook has released a lot of updates, changes and additions to its privacy and account settings in the past several months, making it tricky to locate specific settings you might be looking for. Here are four important Facebook privacy settings you should update now, along with instructions on where to find them.

Thu, February 10, 2011

CIO — According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll released this week, 70 percent of Facebook members are "somewhat" or "very concerned" about their privacy. Take into account the site's past privacy flubs and it's easy to see why: a privacy breach, prevalent "scammy" apps and constant change keep Facebook users on their toes.

The last reason, in particular, makes it difficult for Facebook users to keep tabs on the always-evolving privacy environment—settings are split into two main categories: account settings (which include some privacy settings) and the main privacy settings page

Hunting for specific privacy settings can be tedious, so we've done the work for you. Here's a list of four of the most importantFacebook privacy settings, where to find them and how to change them.

1. Facebook Check-Ins and Privacy

When Facebook announced its location-based check-in service, "Places," in August 2010, it was quickly met with concerns about its people tagging feature.

With this feature enabled, your Facebook friends can tag you and "check you in" to a place. You receive a notification when you're tagged, and an update is posted on your wall telling your friends where you are and who you're with. You can remove the tagat any time.

To disable the feature, visit Account > Privacy Settings > Customize Settings. Scroll to the middle section—"things others share"—and click "Edit settings" next to "Friends can check me in to Places."

[Want more tips, tricks and details on Facebook privacy? Check out CIO.com's Facebook Bible.]

Another important Facebook privacy setting to review if you use Places is whether or not you want to be included in a "People Here Now" list once you check in to a location.

By default, your name and Facebook profile picture appear in the list, which is visible to anyone—friend or not—who checks in to the same location. To disable this setting, visit Account > Privacy Settings > Customize Settings, and then uncheck the box at the bottom of the first section that reads, "Include me in 'People Here Now' after I check in."

2. Revoking Facebook's "Instant Personalization"

"Instant Personalization" debuted in April 2010 to plenty of criticism, and for good reason: The feature is confusing and Facebook's online explanation does not make it clear how participating sites use your information.

If you visit one of the sites that supports Instant personalization—Bing, TripAdvisor, Rotten Tomatoes, Pandora, Yelp and others—and you've enabled the feature, you can see which of your friends have "liked" certain movies or news stories and browse reviews they posted. Additionally, Instant Personalization uses information you made public on your profile to recommend movies or songs, for example.

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