The ABC’s Media Watch provides a neat example of why you need to spend some time tweaking your Facebook privacy settings.
The long-running media critique this week looked at how photos of two children who died in Western Australia last week (their mother has since been charged with murder) ended up in virtually every media outlet in Australia. The answer? They got grabbed from the mother’s Facebook profile because the privacy settings had stayed on their defaults:
Mrs Ariyaratnam may have thought that her Facebook page was accessible only to her friends. But she was a member of the ‘Australia network’, and hadn’t changed her privacy settings. So more than three million people had access to her page – including most of Australia’s journalists.
While essentially correct, that’s a slight over-simplification. To ensure maximum privacy in Facebook, you need to select ‘Only Friends’ in a number of categories, including photos of you that have been tagged by other people. Indeed, choosing ‘Only Friends’ for everything is a good way of ensuring maximum privacy, so hit Facebook’s Settings –> Privacy Settings options and make sure you’re happy with the choices. For a more detailed rundown, check out privacy settings every Facebook user should know.
With that said, if you have put something online and you become unexpectedly newsworthy, don’t be surprised if your photos show up anyway — it only takes one well-meaning or confused friend for that to happen. But setting privacy options at least means it won’t be a one-click search for pic-hunting types.
The Perils of Facebook [Media Watch]