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I'm often amazed and the information people accept as fact simply because a friend has shared something with them via the internet. Most of what I see is absolute nonsense.

Facebook is the classic example of how inaccurate data goes viral. The impending introduction on the Facebook graph search tool is generating the usual alarmist messages.

Let's deal with facts and also take a moment to review your security settings.

Facebook Graph Search is being rolled out soon, but what is it? Simply, it is a search tool. Currently Facebook has very rudimentary searching facilities, the graph search feature addresses this failing.

You can, for example, search for all your friends who like photography or local hotels that other FB users have been to.

The key point here is that your privacy remains absolutely intact. If your Facebook privacy is set to 'Friends' then any data relevant to a search will ONLY be shown to your friends.

FACT: Graph Search does not open up all your data to the world. The new feature just makes it simpler for friends to find data about you.

Of course, anything you have made public will show up to anyone who searches. That's what a public post is all about!

Personally I post nothing on FB as public - I use FB as a communication tool for friends so have no interest in telling the world.

Therefore, the new search feature is not the end of the world, but it is a good opportunity to check your Facebook security settings. Below are a few settings worth considering. Take a few minutes to check yours.

Privacy

On the web version of Facebook click the small cog on the top right of the page and select "Privacy Settings".

Look at each setting and click on the text for further details. Here are some sensible settings for those who want to generally post to 'Friends' only

Suggested Facebook Privacy settings

Suggested Facebook Privacy settings

The 'Limit Past Posts' is very useful -- It will quickly change all your old posts to a single audience. An excellent way to force all old posts to 'Friends' only. (just on the off chance you posted Public/Friends of Friends at some point in the past). Use with care as it can not be undone.

Timeline

Now click on the 'Timeline and Tagging' on the left of the screen. Again I show below some sensible settings:

Facebook suggested Timeline settings

Facebook suggested Timeline settings

Apps

Click on the 'Apps' option on the left of the screen and check Applications you have given access to your Facebook data. You might be surprised at the games and other apps that have access. Consider them and delete as necessary.

Profile

Edit your Profile and check each of the sections (click on the edit button) to see who you are sharing the information with. For example, do you want to make your location or work and education details public?

 

Most of the above is available via the mobile app too.

These settings apply to posts you create or those that you are tagged in. However, when you comment on a post you are at the mercy of the security of the main post. So if you are commenting on a public post your comment is also public and could appear in a search result.

Taking a few minutes to review settings should allow you to continue to be safe and enjoy Facebook without the worry of sharing too much in public.

Finally, don't share Facebook (or any other) scaremongering messages without checking them out. Just because a friend has shared it does not make it accurate. Do your own research -- Google it and you will find it is probably nonsense.

site by DAJ