With the ongoing rollout of Facebook's Timeline feature, security and privacy have never been more important to your digital life. The new layout presents all of your current and past activities on Facebook -- posts, photos, comments, likes and so on -- in a handy timeline format to anyone with access to your profile, which may include friends of friends, colleagues, executives at your company, a potential future boss ... well, you get the idea.
If you've made the jump to Timeline -- and if you haven't, you will within the next few weeks, like it or not -- you should know that Facebook has changed a few things, and there are certain settings you need to pay attention to if you're concerned about what parts of your life others can see. Here's how to lock down your profile in the post-Timeline world.
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1. Limit your connections
Most key privacy settings are accessible by clicking the arrow in the upper right-hand corner of your profile screen (next to your name and the Home button). From here, select Privacy Settings in the drop-down menu.
Click on Edit Settings next to the How You Connect option to begin your profile lockdown. This section contains five privacy settings.
The first three settings govern who can look up your profile and see your contact information, who can friend you and who can send you messages. For maximum privacy, change the first and third settings to Friends, thereby preventing anyone else from looking up your profile or sending you messages.
The second setting governs who can send you Friend requests. The more secure choice is Friends of Friends, but it limits your connectivity on the world's largest social network. If you're worried about losing out on friendship opportunities, keep it set to Everyone.
The last two settings dictate who can post on your timeline and who sees those posts. Only Me is the safest option, but choosing it severely reduces the number of interactions Facebook offers. If you're seriously considering limiting your timeline posts to you and only you, it might be time to leave Facebook entirely.
Setting both of these options to Friends is relatively safe while still allowing the sharing that makes Facebook fun. And there is a way to review posts from friends before they appear on your timeline, as you'll see in the next section of the story.
2. Tailor your tags
An easily missed entry in the Privacy Settings is one innocuously labeled How Tags Work. However, it is essential to tweak the settings found here if you want to take control of your profile's privacy, as some tagging actions can be pretty invasive.
The first two settings (Timeline Review and Tag Review) are particularly useful. When you enable them, you can review posts and photos that friends tag you in, as well as the tags friends add to your own posts -- all before this information goes public. That's especially valuable if you have well-meaning friends who think tagging you in those Vegas party photos is a good idea.
The third setting, Maximum Timeline Visibility, should be set to Friends or customized for certain friend lists or networks to ensure that these tagged posts, once approved, aren't seen by everyone.