So, did you post any photos to Facebook over the holidays? I know I did, as did a lot of my friends. But the recent news about Facebook (apparently they are now worth $50 billion) got me thinking about one of my pet peeves: Facebook photo albums are PUBLIC by default.
This can be good news if you're wondering what a teenager in your life is up to. Teens are really good at tagging all their friends in their photos, which means that if your son, daughter, nephew, niece, or grandchild is tagged -- and their friend's album is public -- you'll be able to see Sally or John at the party or at the game and so on. But in general, most of us assume our photos are visible only to our friends -- or we want it that way!
So what's up with public albums? I can only speculate why Facebook makes "Everyone" the default instead of the far more appropriate "Friends Only." The good news is that it's easy to change.
Checking Album Privacy
First, log on to Facebook if you haven't. Then click on this link:
For each of your albums, select the desired privacy setting. For most of us, that's the "Friends Only" setting. However, you may want to have a public album set to "Everyone" for specific photos, such as high school or college reunion pics.
More Privacy Please?
As you've no doubt heard, there is a LOT more to Facebook privacy than just your photo albums. For more help, check out ZDnet's Definitive Facebook Lockdown Guide, which has screen by screen instructions for setting all Facebook's privacy and security features.
Seems daunting, I know. But if you don't want to go to this much trouble, then do not assume Facebook is private. Actually, that's good advice either way. Before you enter all the personal information about yourself, think about whether you really need to have that information there. Yes, it may help your BFF Suzy from the 10th grade to find you after all these years, but as it turns out, Facebook is still pretty useful even without it knowing all the little details about your life.
Happy ... and safe ... surfing in 2011!