Facebook is now arguably the second most powerful company online after Google. To all intents and purposes, they own the information on all of their users. However, this is not a reason to avoid the social network. Lack of privacy is a part of modern day life, particularly if you use almost any online service.

So here is my simple guide for how to make Facebook safer. (The issues are based on the questions I get asked the most.)

The Issues

1. People will see all the negative or embarrassing photos of you

This is easily avoided. The privacy settings for users can be set extremely high, so that no one can tag you in a photograph without your permission and you can even limit the people who see your photos. It is generally a good idea to have your privacy settings high anyway.

In order to do this visit: https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy

2. People will be able to find out everything about you

You only need to put on Facebook the information you are willing to share. There is no obligation to put anything you don’t feel comfortable with on your profile. Personally, I don’t have any relationship information, only where I live, work, went to school and university.

3. Children are vulnerable to bullying

This is a difficult one, because there have been some serious cases of bullying amongst school children. These aren’t due to Facebook though, the social network is merely the vessel. These dangers aren’t new since Facebook started, it’s just that now a certain amount of communication takes place online. In fairness to Facebook they are very aware of these problems and work with charities and the police to prevent future issues.

You can take steps to avoid this by ensuring that your child’s privacy settings are very high. You can also report and block users.

Here are a couple of useful guides:
Watch Your Words: Steps to Prevent Cyber Bullying
Best Ways to Avoid Cyber Bullying

If you have any other issues that you would like me to cover please just ask and don’t be afraid of Facebook. There is more to gain from being a part of the community than being outside it.