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Tue 7 Jul 2009 11:17 AM

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How not to get over-exposed on Facebook

The incoming head of UK’s MI6 was exposed in his Speedo on Facebook. But you can guard your identity.

One of the big news stories this week has revolved around the incoming head of Britain’s MI6 being exposed in his Speedo on Facebook. It’s been regarded as a massive security breach, but the reality is that people get exposed on this social network all the time, often with dire consequences. How do you then prevent yourself from becoming too well-known on Facebook, whilst still maintaining a degree of connectivity?

Photos of the incoming head of MI6, John Sawers, were posted on Facebook by his wife. Apart from the photos; other information about his family, residence and vacations was also made available on the popular site.

Details about Sawers went as far as to reveal the location of the London flat where he lives with his wife, and the whereabouts of his children and his parents. In fact, anyone in Facebook’s London network had access to his information. Even though much of this information has since been removed, the details were made available publicly simply because of privacy settings that were not switched on.

So, here’s a few ways you can control who sees information on your Facebook profile. The first thing you can do is to control your profile’s levels of exposure by creating friends lists, which you can activate by logging into your profile and visiting www.facebook.com/friends. On this page, you can click on the menu-item on the left hand side of the screen under the menu heading “Lists” and click on Friends.

This feature allows you to create private groupings of friends based on personal preferences. Basically, you can organise your friends by type, such as “Friends”, “Family” and “Professional” and apply specific privacy settings to each friends list. You can then control which individual photos or photo albums can be viewed by which friends.

However, what do you do when others tag you in photos in uncompromising situations? Well, it’s quite simple: you can venture into your privacy settings and modify the settings of photos tagged of you. You can then select the privacy option that says that only you can see those photos tagged of you.

You can even protect the privacy settings of your photo albums to make them only visible to friends as opposed to the whole world. Once you’ve protected your photos, it’s also suggested that you remove yourself from Google searches and even public searches.

Most people on Facebook aren’t fully aware of how to control these above-mentioned privacy settings. But having said all this, the reality is that a little bit of controversy is what makes this site as popular as it is, and it’s always rather interesting when people get exposed (especially when they happen to be spies in Speedos).

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