Get Facebook Privacy Right Or End Up On The News

Get Facebook Privacy Right Or End Up On The News

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]


  • I love Facebook. Oh I’m not on it, I think it’s creepy. Well it creeped me out at first, knowing things about people without them knowing I know. But I’m slowly getting used to my new super powers.

    Oh and Facebook is a gold mine for funny photos of people doing stupid things (alcohol, what a wonderful drug) that can be right click saved to your desktop and turned into funny de-motivational pictures (you know the ones with the funny quotes) for redistribution amongst your friends.

    God bless Facebook for rounding up all the stupid people of earth and filtering them to the surface. The rest of us now know who you are and can adjust our behavior accordingly when we are around you.

    Thanks god the human race still has some pockets of intelligence. Apparently there is only around 4% of the world population on Facebook. 200 million, 6 billion on earth, you do the math.

    • Your comment says a lot about you. You are not on Facebook but yet you troll other peoples pages to save their photos and deface them. Hmmm, in a real world scenario you are the equivalent of a person standing by their window looking at people in the park. Commenting things to yourself about all their “stupidity”. Anyway I guess you are free to do as you please with your “super powers”.

    • Oh how it amuses me that you position yourself as being intelectually and socially superior to those who use facebook, yet you se a pseudonym taken straight from the pages o the latest trendy book targetted at young adults whilst making these assertions

      You, sir, are the embodiment of my belief that internet access should require a licence

  • I’m just so sad for the family. I can only imagine what they are all going through. I’ve been so sad since hearing the news.

    I think people need to really be careful using social networks like facebook because privacy can be compromised. You don’t they make it super safe and if people want the world to see everything they can change their privacy settings.

    RIP little Lachlan and Sophie you impacted my life and I didn’t even know you.

  • I have a problem with Facebook and that has to do with their redesign of networks. Before it was rarely easy and the interface actually worked when you used networks.

    you could browse for people as well as add them with ease. Now it is almost impossible to do this as well as it being difficult to join networks.

    I mean why the fuck would you need an email address to join Adelaide network, or Dublin or New York?

    There are something like 30 pages worth of people’s complaints to facebook. I used to use facebook a few years back but the way they fucked up this integral feature makes it almost impossible to use.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!