Over the past week, you may have seen a friend or family member post something like this:
Now it’s official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: $5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to ‘private.’ If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste.
This is crap, to put it bluntly. Facebook will never charge you to use the service. That would be counterproductive. It already makes plenty of money off you. You are the product.
Also, Facebook will never just turn private posts public. You always have full control over who sees your activity.
Don't believe Facebook? Ok, fine. Believe me. I'm pretty trustworthy, I promise. Facebook is not trying to ruin people's privacy – people do a fine enough job of that on their own.
But just because this is a hoax, it doesn't mean privacy isn't a serious issue when it comes to social media. And it's shocking how many people are unaware of just how much granular control Facebook gives people when comes to controlling who sees what on the site.
Is Facebook evil? Probably not. The company is making money off you, yes. And it's tracking everything you do, yes. But despite what some might think, Facebook doesn't lie to you about privacy controls. They are there, and they're rather easy to use.
The Activity Log
Did you know that there is a page that contains every single action you ever take on Facebook? It's called your Activity Log, and it's easily accesible from the little lock icon on your Facebook homepage.
Inside your Activity Log, you can see everything you've ever done on Facebook. Everything you've ever posted, commented on, liked, RSVP'ed, or been mentioned in. And here, you have complete control over every single action.
You can change the audience, from public to just friends, for instance. Or from friends to custom.
Facebook's Custom privacy setting, by the way, allows you to single out specific people to shield from your activity.
Want to post something but you think your mom will hate it? Simply choose to not share it with your mom only. It's that easy.
There's really not excuse to bitch about Facebook's privacy settings when you can control everything from this one hub.
The "View As" Timeline
Also available from the lock icon drop down menu – the "View As" option. This allows you to view your own Timeline as another person sees it.
You can enter in a specific friend's name and check out what your Timeline looks like to them.
And don't forget, you can always choose your privacy levels for every individual post you make.
If you want true privacy, don't use social media. But if you're smart about things, you can easily control your online persona in a matter of clicks.
And you can rest assured that the posts you make more private will stay that way.
Image via mkhmarketing, Flickr Creative Commons