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You Idiot! Your Facebook Profile Still Isn't Private?!

WorkSocial MediaTips and Advice

You've probably been told a million times how important privacy is on social networking sites like Facebook. But that's because IT IS.

Not only does it keep some proper weirdoes from gaining access to your personal information but setting your privacy settings right also means that your posts, statuses and photos are only seen by the audience they are intended for. If your profile isn't set to the proper privacy settings then you run the risk of current or potential employers seeing your bad side- which isn't good. It can put them off hiring you, make them fire you and damage your professional reputation. You might be thinking that this is a slight over reaction- but alas, this is not so. Just last month some MET police officers decided they would jump on the band wagon of the 'hilarious' new dance craze, The Harlem Shake. They made their own video which wasn't well received by their Scotland Yard bosses. Six officers received written warnings and one even resigned- and needless to say their reputation has been damaged beyond repair, not to mention their job prospects. So, keep your crazy antics safely hidden from the prying eyes of employers. Here are the things to make sure are private and how to make sure they actually are (as it is far more complicated than you might think and Facebook has a habit of being sneaky and changing settings with each update). Alternatively, for a visually stimulating and mildly amusing version of this information, check out the slideshare presentation we made for easy, bullet pointed slides and a selection of baby photos (well, why not?).
So the summary...
General settings Firstly, you need to decide who you want to actually be able to find you on Facebook. If you don't want complete randoms finding you then change it to 'Friends of friends' only. Additionally, who do you want to see your future posts? Just your friends? Then remember, if you have a little globe symbol next to a post anyone can see it- that means employers. If there's a little person it means it's safely hidden from public view. Click on the little symbol to change it accordingly. Tagging Sometimes your friend, sometimes your worst enemy. If your friend tags you in a photo, status, whatever, they have control over who sees it. If it's set to public and you're tagged in it then anyone can see it. If you're not represented in the best light you might want to remove that tag and hide it from your timeline! If it's truly awful you can send them a request to remove it or report it. Security settings You need to make sure you are using Facebook safely and that no one can hack your account. Enable 'HTTPS secure browsing' and 'login approvals' under security settings to cover these two bases. All of the above can be found under the little padlock on the top hand right of the screen. 'About' information Of course, is suitable for the public. For example in your 'about' information you might want your email and work status visible. But, keep your date of birth and addresses private- if an employer wants to contact you based on what they see an email address will suffice. For the rest of your 'about' info decide accordingly-does the school you attended and relationship status need to be public information? Statuses Before you post a status check its settings on the bottom right- they do funny things sometimes so if you're about to write a slating monologue of your employer (never advisable) do make sure they won't be able to see it. The same goes for photos too! Pages A good idea can be to make yourself a page on Facebook. It'll come up in searches before your personal profile so employers searching you will see that first. If you keep the content clean it's safe to have your page public. Copyright One final note on privacy is to remember that the internet is a public space. Even content that is supposedly safe on a private profile can sometimes find its way onto public platforms, which is something to bear in mind before you share anything. Also, posting messages on Facebook claiming you own everything on it means absolutely nothing- you can't protect data with just a status. Have you had any privacy mishaps in the past?
anna pitts grb author

Anna Pitts studied English Language at the University of Sussex and was a marketing assistant and online researcher at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau. She now works in Marketing and Advertising for Hearst Magazines UK.

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