How To: Increase Twitter and Facebook Privacy

Kay / 18th June 2013 / Comment

In the wake of the NSA security leak, I thought I’d use this blog post to address some of the specifics of privacy on the Internet. Concerns about privacy have been flying since the advent of social media and have spawned many myths about the security of your personal information. If you’re feeling wary, read on for a few key tips on how to increase and maintain your Twitter and Facebook privacy.

1) Facebook: Enable HTTPS
Not many people are aware of this handy feature, which simply changes your Facebook profile from an “http” page to an “https” page. The “s” trailing the “http” stands for “secure”, and with good reason: an https page is much less vulnerable to outside probing, which is particularly important for Facebook pages, which can be targeted by apps such as Firesheep, the infamous iPhone app that can tap into the Facebook of anyone on its wireless network. To enable HTTPS, simply access Account Settings and check “Secure Browsing” under Account Security.

2) Facebook, Twitter: How Not to Show Up on Google
Unless you’ve already taken the necessary steps, a Google search of your name will reveal your Facebook and Twitter accounts if your real name is in your profile. Removing your accounts from search engine results is especially important if a) your Twitter is public—not only will your account show up on search, but so will your tweets and b) your public Facebook page contains information that you don’t want just anyone to find.

–To hide your Facebook account from search engines, click on “Account Settings”, go to “Privacy” in the control panel on the left-hand side of the page and unclick “Let Other Search Engines Link to Your Timeline”.
Search Engine Visibility
–Keeping your Twitter from the prying eyes of Google is a bit more complicated, as the platform has no search visibility account setting. If you don’t want your tweets to show up when your name is searched, you can either remove your full name from your profile or lock your tweets. However, any tweets that were searchable before you made these changes will still stay on Google until its cache is refreshed; if you want to expedite this process, you can request that the pages be removed here.

3) Facebook: Hide Your Information from Companies
Facebook’s default security settings allow companies to grab data from your profile and use it to “personalize” your experience on their sites. Many people feel uncomfortable with this, and if you count yourself among them, simply go to your privacy settings, click “Apps” on the left-hand side, and edit “Instant personalization”—change “On” to “Off” and you’re done!

Instant Personalization

These tips are important, but they’re only the tip of the online privacy iceberg. How do you keep your personal information private? Leave us a comment!

By Kay