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Facebook privacy under scrutiny…again.


I heart Thessa

When I first heard about Thessa’s birthday party in Germany grew to a head count of 1,500 it reminded me that I forgot to go.   Her birthday party was actually not intended to be so large and only 10% of the positive respondents to her Facebook event crashed the party. It’s apparent that this was evidence of poor privacy settings. Both parties are at fault here, Facebook for having too loose of default settings and Thessa for not changing those settings.  Wait, she’s a teenager, so should she be exempt from fault?  It might be a gray area for some, but not me. At what age does the hall pass go away when it comes to being safe and secure online?

The coming of age in this information privacy era is up to the individual.  Once that individual is able to go online and read at a level to understand that there are privacy settings is when the hall pass goes away.  Smaller children using a computer at home still need to rely on their parents to protect them and educate them about better online etiquette and safe computing.  The parents should be changing the less fun sections of their favorite social media web sites to protect their children.  In case you are having trouble getting through the techno-babble and computerese, I provided some basic steps on how to be safer online with Facebook.

Keep in mind that these instructions may change the next time Facebook relaunches their interface.

1. In the upper right hand corner of Facebook there is the Account drop-down menu you see here. After the menu appears, click on the ‘Privacy Settings’ menu option.
2. The ‘Privacy Settings’ menu option will take you to a page to choose your privacy settings. As you can see in my example, the dots are almost all to the right. To achieve this, click the ‘Customize settings’ link that you see in the red triangle.

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3. The ‘Customize settings’ link will take you to a page that is much longer than shown here. There is the important part where you will need to go through each setting to restrict who can see what information about you. Please do this with your children, of any age, to protect them.

Click to enlarge

As far as Thessa, when I heard she fled her own party. I wondered if she was heading to the Hamburg-Bramfeld Costco to get more chips. Those chaps look hungry.

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