When it comes to privacy, Facebook really isn’t your friend - and even if you’re careful, you might be giving away more than you think.
For instance, would you want EVERY person you’ve ever handed your mobile number to be able to find you, instantly, from a simple search?
Or would you want people to be able to work out your ‘secret’ crush who you’ve been searching for on Facebook?
No? Very sensible. Here are five things you should probably delete from Facebook - if you value your privacy, your relationship and your job.
Your phone number
If you’ve ever put your mobile number on your Facebook profile - something FB is keen for you to do if you upload pictures from mobile - you should worry.
By default, people can search for you using your number, even if you’ve hidden it from your profile.
Many users are not even aware they ARE ‘sharing’ their mobile number in this way.
To get rid of it, tap on your profile picture, then go to Update Info.
Facebook says, ‘Everyone who uses Facebook has control of the information they share, this includes the information people include within their profile, and who can see this information. Our Privacy Basics tool has a series of helpful guides that explain how people can quickly and easily decide what information they share and who they share it with.’
Your LIkes are actually very visible on Facebook - and can be searched, so that, for instance, people could look for anyone who likes, say, ‘Chicken’ who lives in ‘London’.
Humour sites on the web have already used the search to highlight lists of people who use casual sex apps and are also listed as “married”.
Visit your profile, then remove any ‘Like’ you wouldn’t want others seeing.
Where you’ve been
If you’re not careful, it can be very easy for people to work out where you’ve been - and where you are - on Facebook.
If you’ve ever used the Facebook feature ‘Nearby Friends’, Facebook will store a record of exactly where you’ve been, using your smart device’s GPS or Wi-Fi location services.
It will also broadcast your approximate location to anybody else on your Friends list who has the feature enabled.
If enabled, they will see your approximate location on a map within Nearby Friends in the Facebook app.
The feature can be disabled, though: Facebook’s instructions on how to do so can be found here.
Most of us love the attention of getting dozens of birthday wishes on Facebook - but is it really wise to share the information?
If you use open privacy settings, you could be handing an identity theft kit to people - with birth dates often used as security measures for telephone banking and other financial institutions.
You can change the privacy settings, though - here’s Facebook’s guide on how to do it.
Your secret crush
If you’ve ever repeatedly searched for a person’s name, Facebook will remember and store this information - and the next time you search when logged in, it will predict your most common searches.
This data can be quite private - and embarrassing.
For instance, if you’ve searched repeatedly for a specific person, this can be very obvious, even if someone happens to glance over your shoulder as you use the site, as the function will auto-suggest the names you’ve searched for most frequently.
Thankfully, it’’s possible to delete this data entirely within your Facebook settings. Go to Activity Log (one of the options at the top of your Profile page), then select More, then Search.
From this page, you’ll be given options to delete either individual searches, or your entire search history. By default, Facebook stores this data, and it’s available to anyone who sits down at a PC logged into your account.