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You Need to Protect Your Privacy on Facebook: Here's How

As a lawyer, I really can't impress this enough: if you're involved in any sort of investigation, it may be best to suspend any sort of social media account. This includes your Facebook.

At the very least, you will want to make it COMPLETELY private.

An article in a recent edition of Virginia Lawyer's Weekly cited some pretty disturbing examples from attorneys Courtney Van Winkle and Tom Messersmith, both of Richmond, Virginia.

"One picture, one comment, can be taken out of context," Van Winkle says. This does serious damage to a case. One defendant, who was drinking when an accident occurred, had a photo posted on his Facebook page of him holding up a beer can.

Whether or not that photo was from the night of the accident can leave an unwanted impression and do serious damage to a case.

If you were involved in a case, you wouldn't make any sort of statement without first discussing it with your attorney. By posting a picture to Facebook or Tweeting, you are essentially making a recordable, archived statement to anyone who can read it.

Facebook settings can be complicated, and seem to change all the time. In fact, it seems we are always hearing stories about errors causing information to be leaked. Even if you are POSITIVE your privacy settings are on, it's best to err on the side of caution and not post anything questionable.

Make sure your settings are private=97check out our how-to privacy guide. We'll walk you through the steps of either suspending your account temporarily, or maximizing your privacy effectiveness.

If you were currently dealing with an investigation, you would actually (temporarily) suspend your account. Here's how: 1. Login to your Facebook account 2. From your homepage, click "Account" in the top right corner. From the drop-down menu, select "Account Settings." 3. Scroll to the bottom, and select "Deactivate Account."

You will be taken to a screen to confirm, and you will be able to provide your reasoning to Facebook (usually "Privacy Concern" is the option you will check. Once you do this, your profile and all information associated with it are made inaccessible to other Facebook users, so you will essentially disappear from the service. If you want to reactivate your account at some point, your profile information is saved (friends, photos, interests, etc). Many users deactivate their accounts temporarily.

Can't bring yourself to do away with it? Too bad. But if you truly don't want to deactivate your account, at least make sure you have all your privacy settings in place.

There are several different privacy settings you need to manage on your Facebook, especially with the most recent update.

The first thing you need to do is edit your friends. From the drop-down Account menu, select the "edit friends" option. This brings you to a list of all of your Facebook friends.

At the top of the page, you will see the option to "Create New List." Select this, and create a new list. You can title it whatever you want, as you'll be using it later.

Return to the list of your friends. Go through all of them. Anyone you don't know, delete by clicking the little "x" to the right of their name. Anyone you don't know well, add to the list you've just created. Close, personal friends you can skip over.

REMEMBER: do NOT accept a friend request from someone you don't know, no matter how many mutual friends you may have. Anyone can create an account on Facebook. Many Private Investigators use Facebook as a source. They know that if they create a fake profile and add a lot of people you are already friends with, you are more likely to accept their friend request and allow them to see your information.

Once you are done with your lists, you are ready to fix your privacy settings. 1. Login to your account. 2. From your homepage, click "Account" in the top right corner. From the drop-down menu, select "Privacy Settings."

You'll need to deal with each of the subcategories individually. It's best to just go through in order to make sure you aren't missing anything.

Under Personal Information and posts, you will probably want to select "Only Friends," for all the options.

Here's where the list you just created comes in to play. For example, if your Mobile Phone number is visible to friends under Contact Info, you may want to change it so it isn't visible to all your acquaintances. Click on the setting adjuster, and select "custom." From there, you can select "Only Friends." After you do this, it will prompt you to enter text in the "Except," box. Enter the name of the list you just created.

This makes it so only your close, personal friends can view this information. Anyone on the list you just added will not be able to view it.

Except "Photo Albums." This will allow you to control who can see your albums. You will want to click "Edit Settings," to set the privacy levels for each individual album. Don't forget your profile pictures are a separate album! You will want to make it so only your friends can see those, as well.

The same goes for the rest of the categories. Make sure you don't allow any third-party applications to have access to your info (under the tab "Applications and Websites"). This may mean you can't play Farmville, but in the end your privacy is probably worth it.

About the Author:

Privacy guide with photos: accidents.theparrishlawfirm.com/virginia-motor-vehicle-accident-inju= ry-articles/354-how-to-make-your-social-media-private.html Facebook updates: blog.facebook.com

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