The Common Good
April 2010

Resources on Privacy and Facebook

by Julie Polter | April 2010

For the casual Facebook user, it can be a little confusing to find all the available options for privacy control that are on Facebook.

For the casual Facebook user, it can be a little confusing to find all the available options for privacy control that are on Facebook. Different news outlets, techies, and organizations have posted guides to this, with varying degrees of detail (and clarity). While not perfect, below are a few links to get started.

Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings. Now! This news article gives a brief description of the differences between the privacy settings of “Everyone,” “Friends,” “Friends of Friends,” and those tucked under “Customize” in Facebook. It then walks through the basic information categories, with some take-or-leave suggestions of settings you might choose.

How to Cross-Check Your Facebook Privacy SettingsThisblogger begins with the official Facebook video on how to change your settings (helpful for the visually oriented). He then provides instructions on how to view your profile from the perspective of friends outside your circle, search engines, and Facebook friends—a useful way to see if you have your privacy settings adjusted as you intended.

Looking for more detail and analysis? The Demand Your dotRights campaign and Web site, a project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, gives a good basic overview of electronic privacy issues. What Does Facebook’s Privacy Transition Mean for You? is their detailed analysis of the changes in Facebook that occurred in December 2009.

Through litigation, education, and advocacy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation engages issues of free speech, intellectual property, privacy, transparency, and consumer rights in the digital world. On their main social networks issues page, you can find links to news items, blogs posts, and analyses related to Facebook and other social networking sites, including Facebook’s New Privacy Changes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Do you have your own suggestions for resources on internet privacy? Submit them on Sojourners' Facebook Fan Page.

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