Using Facebook: General Online Privacy Do's and Don'ts

Protect your privacy when using Facebook — or anytime you are online at home, work, or elsewhere. Following are some handy tips that will help increase your online security and privacy:

  • Do choose a strong password. Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. If you can remember your password, it may not be strong enough.

  • Don't share your password or write it down where someone could easily find it. If you have trouble keeping track of your passwords, you may want to consider using a service such as RoboForm or LastPass.

  • Do create an e-mail address specifically for signing up for things. Don't use this e-mail address for everyday interactions. Instead, just use it when you're signing up for e-newsletters, placing orders online, or signing up for website memberships (for example, signing up for Facebook). That way, any spam related to those interactions won't fill up your main e-mail address.

  • Do be careful when using public Wi-Fi. Your local coffee shop, bookstore, and library probably all offer free Wi-Fi, and that's pretty handy. But public Wi-Fi makes it easy for others to spy on your digital comings and goings. If you're going to log on in a public space on an unsecured wireless network, don't make purchases online or do your banking.

    If you want to log on to a website such as Facebook while using public Wi-Fi, see if the website offers the option to get a single-use password. Facebook offers this option. Just text otp to 32665 to receive a temporary password. That password expires after 20 minutes. Note that it doesn't mean that your session expires after 20 minutes; it just means that you need to use the one-time password to log in within 20 minutes of receiving it.

  • Do assume everything you post online is public. Privacy online is an illusion. Private messages can be copied. Friends can take screen shots of your status updates and share them with others. You may forget to set your share setting for a specific update, or you may accidentally reply all when you just wanted to e-mail one person with a response that was maybe better left unsaid. It happens to everyone at some point. There's no need to stop interacting online; just be vigilant in how you interact with others.

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