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Setting up a minimal presence on Facebook

  1. Jun 26, 2016 #1


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    I haven't set up a Facebook account yet because my circle of friends and relatives aren't heavily into it, so I don't need it for communicating with them, and I didn't want to deal with FB's ever-changing privacy policies.

    However, some organizations that I like to keep track of put most of their news on FB now, instead of on their "normal" web sites. Up until now, I've been able to read their posts without having a FB account. But now, FB insists that I log in or register, after scrolling through a few pages of posts.

    So I've decided to bite the bullet and join FB. Any suggestions on how to manage my settings so as to leak as little as possible to the outside world and to Mark Zuckerberg's minions? I obviously do not plan to post daily updates on my activities, nor to scatter "likes" hither and yon.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2016 #2


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    So Z has made an offer you can't refuse...

    I think the best you can do is go into settings and restrict everything you can and don't fill in anything. Also you could create a facebook only email account on say google and tie it to fb.

    Here's some omre info I found online for your reading pleasure:




    more links at:

    https://www.google.com/webhp?source...spv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=minimal settings on facebook
  4. Jun 27, 2016 #3


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    I would say there is only little harm to the transparency of your private life if you only intend to use FB as a connecting tool to the information from the organization you want to keep informed with. So, only log in to see their updated news but don't post too often (or not at all) nor upload photos. Manually set details aside, maybe their system can store the information about the location from which a user logs in.
    You can set every information detail, individual post, or individual photos to be visible to your friends only, and invisible to any other account not connected to you as FB friend. You can also restrict those to be visible to you yourself only. As for the CEO and his subordinates access to your info, probably there is certain privacy policy that implies that no one but you can see the info that you have restricted to you yourself, but that doesn't mean they cannot access it.
  5. Jun 27, 2016 #4


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    If you're only interested in viewing content then there's no need to use your real name or share any of your personal information.
  6. Jun 27, 2016 #5


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    Although there are numerous absolutely real and justified concerns for privacy / personal data issues on FB, it is really something that depends solely on user. It is users deciding to disclose much personal info or equivalently to use FB as a toy. It is definitely not. Having FB to store the bare minimum of a user's personal info, is not much of a concern. But uploading every bit of your personal life is. On the other hand, usefulness of FB is really big in many ways and accounts. Personally, I have many science channels, software and collaboration and many others regarding personal free time - hobbies, that is very difficult to gather together in any other way. So, as stated above, fixing your accounts privacy the right way, disclosing little personal info and taking all the other benefits of FB is an easy and useful way to go.
  7. Jun 29, 2016 #6
    Just create an outlook or gmail specially for this FB account.

    Your name could be Cool Joe; add a picture of an african frog; and suscribe to the pages where you want to receive news from. That's it.
  8. Jul 2, 2016 #7


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    I am a regular user of Facebook, and have one very important piece of advice to you. Keep Apps turned off. By "Apps", I mean do not play any of the game or use any of the third-party "Apps" which other companies have added to Facebook. This means, you can never, ever use your Facebook logon account to log into other non-Facebook websites.

    The reason you want to go into Facebook settings and change the default setting from "Apps On" to "Apps Off" is, that with them On, your password and account information will be shared with any games, other websites or third-party companies whose features you use. Think about it. Now your Facebook account information is not only know by Facebook, but by these 3rd-party companies. You don't know their privacy practices, or whether they actually sell your logon information to criminals (which some have probably done), or whether they just have careless security so your password and logon information get stolen from them, but it is largely through the use of 3rd-party "Apps" and logging onto other websites that people find their privacy compromised on Facebook.

    Also dig through the settings and instruct Facebook about how your want your information shared. They default everything to much too open (IMHO). For example, you may only want your posts visible to people whom you have deliberately connected with, instead of "Public" which means literally anyone. This security checkup will take you a half hour or so but is well worth it. Also, recheck your security settings in Facebook every once in a while, because sometimes features get turned back on that you do not want on, or new security options get added (and they tend to default to something more open than I usually want).

    With these precautions, you should be able to use Facebook with reasonable safety. But if you use the games and Apps, you're sharing your account info widely with people or companies whose motivations, practices and policies are opaque to you.
  9. Jul 4, 2016 #8
    Exactly this. I know a lot of people who post all of their details on FB, such as when they're going away on vacation and looking for house sitters, or what their work schedule is, and pictures of their cars w/ license plate numbers unblurred.

    One of the biggest things for me was being able to filter out tags and comments posted to my page through an approval process. I would have certain people post the most asinine things to my wall, so once that feature came to fruition, I was able to prevent those people from posting nonsense to my page.

    At the end of the day, FB is as safe as you want it to be, but it takes some common sense. If you think it might not be safe, don't post it/do it until you research it.
  10. Jul 6, 2016 #9


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    Well, I finally did it just now. I used my real name, but haven't put in any personal information yet except for my birth date which is required. I did hide the birthday and year from everybody but me. I went into the privacy settings and set them all so only friends can see my posts, or look me up, or tag me, or whatever, and no external search engines can index my profile (which is empty right now, anyway).

    So I have time to think about how much I want to put in my profile. I already have a "normal" web site with a picture of me and some biographical information on the home page, so maybe I'll at least use that pic for a profile pic and copy some of the information, or simply link to that page.

    Amusingly, I've already had a couple of suggested FB pages to look at. Instead of clicking on the links, I fired up Google in another window. I thought they might be retirement communities, based on my age, but they were just residential subdivisions (actually their HOA's) in a city about an hour away. Maybe they used my IP address for locating my ISP.

    When I start re-visiting some of the organizational pages that I've visited before, I expect I'll see more suggestions.

    Good tip! I found the "Apps, Websites and Plugins" box on the Apps Settings page. It took me a couple of tries before I realized I had to click the "Platform" link in order to turn the whole thing off.
  11. Jul 8, 2016 #10


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    I've been doing some research on my original Facebook "lockout" problem. A Google search turned up a number of forum and blog posts from last year and earlier about this issue. Back then, the problem was that when a user created a public FB page, e.g. for a business or organization or for his own stuff, its visibility was restricted by default to age 21+. This required viewers to be logged into FB so as to check the age in their profiles. A page owner could eliminate this restriction by changing the visibility to "All (age 13+)" which matches FB's policy that only people age 13+ are allowed to have FB accounts.

    Then, it appears that FB implemented a default "country" restriction that had to be removed also, in order to make a page completely public without login. More recently, they appear to have locked down all pages completely. See the comments on this blog post.

    It looks like FB started doing it in Belgium because of a court ruling there. The linked article says it was expected that this would spread to the rest of Europe. It could be that they simply decided to do it everywhere.
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