social media

Protect Your Facebook Privacy with These 3 Settings!

In December, Facebook implemented yet another round of controversial privacy updates and changes in an effort to compete more widely with the more open social networks like Twitter.

As part of this update, Facebook implemented a “transition tool” which appeared at the top of Facebook homepages this past month with its own selection of recommended settings. If you were one of the users who opted for the recommended settings, you may now be surprised to find that you have given Facebook the right to publicize your status updates, photos, and shared links.

There are definitely valid concerns behind privacy so should you want to change these settings back, read on to find out how.

1. Who Can See The Things You Share (Status Updates, Photo, Videos, etc.)

If you accepted the new recommended settings then you have given Facebook full rights to any information included in your status updates. Depending on your applied search settings, you may have also given Facebook the right to share that information with search engines, too.

To change this setting simply take the following steps:

1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu in the top right hand corner and click “Privacy Settings” from the list that appears.
2. Select “Profile Information”
3. Scroll down to the setting “Posts by Me.” which includes status updates, links, notes, photos, and videos.
4. Choose your desired setting using the drop-down box on the right.

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2. Who Can Access Your Personal Info

After last month’s changes, “personal info,” now includes other information such as your birthday, your religious and political views, and your relationship status. Facebook set the new defaults for this other information to viewable by either “Everyone” (for family and relationships, aka relationship status) or to “Friends of Friends” (birthday, religious and political views). To change this setting back to “Only Friends” complete the following steps:

1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and click “Privacy Settings”.
2. Click “Profile Information” from the list of choices on the next page.
3. The third, fourth, and fifth item listed on this page are as follows: “birthday,” “religious and political views,” and “family and relationship.” Perhaps the most important is updating birthday to “Only Friends” as this information is often used in identity theft.
4. Depending on your own personal preferences, you may or may not feel comfortable sharing your relationship status and/or religious and political views with complete strangers. Keep in mind, while “Friends of Friends” sounds simple enough, it actually refers to everyone your friends have added as friends. This can still represent a large group of users you may not know.

3. What Google Can See – Keep Your Data Off the Search Engines

When you visit Facebook’s Search Settings page, a warning message pops up that reads:

There have been misleading rumors recently about Facebook indexing all your information on Google. This is not true. Facebook created public search listings in 2007 to enable people to search for your name and see a link to your Facebook profile. They will still only see a basic set of information.

The second setting listed on this Search Settings page refers to exactly what you’re allowing Google and the other search engines to index. If the box next to “Allow” is checked, you’re giving search engines the ability to access and index any information you’ve marked as visible by “Everyone.” As discussed above, there is definitely some information worth keeping to yourself. Keep your data out of search engines index by completing the following steps:

1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and click “Privacy Settings” from the list that appears.
2. Click “Search” from the list of choices on the next page.
3. Click “Close” on the pop-up message that appears.
4. On this page, uncheck the box labeled “Allow” next to the second setting “Public Search Results.” That keeps all your publicly shared information (items set to viewable by “Everyone”) out of the search engines. If you want to see what the end result looks like, click the “see preview” link in blue underneath this setting.

There are obviously other privacy settings to be aware of as well, in our opinion however, these are the most critical. That said, it is important to review all of your privacy settings to be sure you are creating the privacy you feel most comfortable with.

Facebook Connect Teaming Up With MySpace

About a month ago, we’ve heard reports that MySpace and Facebook aren’t quite the archenemies they once were. In fact,  MySpace was to reportedly going to implement Facebook Connect which would allow users to log into MySpace with their  Facebook credentials.

Facebook Connect Features

MySpace has indeed implemented Facebook Connect on its very own Fan Video service. This is a very important step considering MySpace was once the undisputed king of social networking and this arguably signifies the end of the “MySpace era”.

It has become glaringly obvious to MySpace that Facebook has taken over when it comes to growth and overall number of users. As a result, MySpace has chosen to focus itself on a couple of specific niches –  music, video and entertainment; all areas which Facebook never fully developed. Considering this recent partnership, I expect more implementations of Facebook Connect on MySpace in 2010.

What are your thoughts? Is this a good move by MySpace / Facebook?

Facebook Finally Increases Photo Sizes

Facebook Photo Gallery Size

It’s been a long time coming, but according to the Facebook Developers’ page, Facebook users can expect larger photo sizes beginning tomorrow with a complete roll out finalized over the next three weeks. While its not a huge increase in size (604 pixels to 720 pixels) any increase in size is better than not!

For those of you with Facebook applications that query the photo FQL table or uses photo.get, make sure you update your code to accommodate these new increased sizes.

One of the interesting things, however, is the size of the profile picture will be getting smaller! Profile pictures will move from 200×600 to 180×540 pixels. Again, for you developers, be sure to adjust your applications accordingly.

As one of the largest photo-sharing sites on the web, it’s nice to see Facebook increasing it’s pixel space, even if the increase isn’t as large as we would all like it.

What do you think about Facebook’s photo changes?

Twitter Releases Answer to Facebook Connect

Facebook Connect was first announced in May 2008, and currently boasts over 80,000 websites have added the feature with over  60 million Facebook users engaging with Facebook connect on third party websites each month. According to multiple sources, Twitter is now preparing to launch its own set of tools that will let third party websites easily integrate Twitter features  directly into their web sites and services. This is essentially a direct response to the massively popular Facebook Connect feature.

The new Twitter “connect” product will reportedly allow websites to authenticate users, pull data and then publish back to Twitter.  While all of these features currently exist via the Twitter API, the Facebook Connect-like packaging and easy-to-use
widgets
don’t exist yet.

We’ll update this development as soon as we have more details but our understanding is that Twitter has been working with  a handful of publishers and will likely make an announcement about the new product shortly.

Facebook Launches Twitter “Retweet” Feature

It’s been a long time coming – Facebook launching its own version of Twitter’s retweet feature. Facebook has rolled out a “via” feature that allows you to repost another friend or user’s shared items, with a “via” link attached for attribution.

With most new features, Facebook institutes a progressive rollout, however, it appears the ‘via’ feature is live for everyone. To try it out, head over to a friend’s posted item in your news feed and click on the “share” link. You’ll now see a “via [your friend’s name]” and also an option to remove [your friends name]. Once the item is shared, it will appear on your profile with a via link that also points to your friend’s profile. Your friends will also see the item in their News Feeds which now creates the viral loop that folks on Twitter benefit from with the retweet.

As of right now, the feature only works for posted links. It is not yet possible to “via” status updates or photos. Nonetheless, this is yet another big move by Facebook to bring  its social network more inline with one of its biggest competitors – Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Retweet Feature

With the biggest buzz word in the industry being “real time search” this is clearly another effort to improve Facebook’s search tool and to become more relevant in the world of real-time news, search, and information. It will be interesting to see how quickly users respond to this new feature and start sharing “via” links in their own feeds.

What are your thoughts? Will you use this new feature? Why or why not?