F for Facebook

I have a hard time understanding what it is the vast amount of privacy controls on Facebook actually control. The last time I checked there were something like twenty different privacy controls. And I’m sure this is no coincidence. Facebook have probably purposefully designed privacy management to be a drawn out and confusing process so that people either make mistakes or (and this is probably their primary objective) simply get turned off the idea of managing their privacy all together. Facebook, like all online businesses, don’t want people to navigate away from their site and having profiles that are open for others to see is one way of holding onto those already logged in. It’s in the interest of Facebook to keep privacy to a minimum.

After getting the job at my current school, I realised that I had to update my privacy settings to ensure students didn’t have access to my profile on Facebook. It also occurred to me that this would be no one off task but rather something I would need to do periodically – as Facebook has a fairly well documented history of making changes to its privacy policy. Rather than trying to understand Facebook’s ever changing privacy settings page, I figured the best way to manage my privacy was to simply make a dummy account. The idea being that when logged in with the dummy account, I would be able to “see” the privacy settings of my real account. Of course, this would require not connecting or “friending” the two accounts.

I’ve been using this method of privacy management on Facebook for a few months now and it’s saved me many headaches. If you have some other way you manage your privacy on Facebook, please let me know!

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2 thoughts on “F for Facebook

  1. Fascinating, never thought of doing that! I find face Book frustrating to. I think it is the one area of my digital life I spend the most time ‘tweeking’ around with settings.
    I wouldn’t replace it though, when that big one wobbled us in March I was able to get a message out so fast that I was safe.
    Thank you for sharing this idea about the dummy account.

  2. Interesting strategy! Within FB, with only one account, you can view your account from the point of view of any other type of user. Although your strategy is more of a “fail safe” so there is no confusion of what a non-friend can see. But what about friends of friends? That’s why I like the FB “view my account as” option – you can check through all of those. Of course, you also have the option of only posting on FB what you would feel comfortable if others saw…

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