I'm have not signed up yet to Facebook since it's obvious how they think about my private data. But with out using it I might lose the connection to some not so close friends. So I'm trying to collect some ideas and tips how to use Facebook to connect with people but still preserving my privacy.

Here are some thoughts:

  1. Register a complete new email account only used for your Facebook account. This might prevent Facebook to know too much about me while signup. E.g. they cannot associate people with me that already imported my private email into their address book.

  2. Use an extra browser only for Facebook and nothing else (alternative: activate browser's private mode before logging into Facebook). This will prevent Facebook from giving me cookies they can read while surfing the rest of the internet. I think this is crucial - otherwise they can follow me through all websites that implement a I like this button.

What are your tips for using Facebook in a "secure" way?

3 Answers 3


Check (and keep checking) the privacy settings on your account.

On this page: http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy

Make sure that you only allow friends to see your data.

On this page: http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy&section=apps

There's a "Public search" option - make sure that's set to disallow.

There's a option for "Information accessible through your friends" make sure that you clear all the check boxes on that dialog.

There's an "Instant personalisation" page - not available for all users as yet - but when it does become available make sure you clear that option too.

On this page: http://www.facebook.com/editaccount.php?ads

There are options for Facebook ads to use your data - clear both options.

You have to keep checking because Facebook regularly change the options and the defaults are to be more open than you would like.

Ultimately you are joining a site whose premise is the sharing of information. If you're not happy about sharing something - don't post it to the site, either directly or as a link. If you're not happy about sharing anything - then don't sign up!



Don't use any apps within Facebook, including any of the popular games.

Don't "friend" anyone who you don't actually know.

Don't "Like" anything on Facebook or elsewhere on the web where the Facebook widget is used unless you want the whole world to know.


Only share things that you would feel comfortable sharing publicly anyway. That applies to information you share with your friends as well as with facebook itself (what is considered private information that you enter into the site).

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