Privacy Schmivacy: Protect Yourself from Facebook Social Ads Using your Pictures

PrivacyFromSocialAdsGone are the days when Facebook used to have to ask you for permission to use any of your pictures for advertising and all you needed to do was give them this permission merely by opting-in to the program.

And unless you knew, and you opposed this and knew how to opt-out, then chances are you are probably in danger of having Facebook use your own pictures in what they call “Social Ads”.

The way Social Ads on Facebook works is based on relevancy; say you like Unicorn Meat. Facebook knows you like Unicorn Meat so what they will do is show an ad to your friends on Facebook with your picture on it tricking your friends to believe it’s got to be good if you like it.

What is more frightening is the new privacy rule for minors. Facebook’s new language in their privacy policies states that all minors under the age of 18 must agree to the following language when signing up to use Facebook by “representing that at least one of your parents or guardians has agreed to the use of your pictures on your behalf”. How many kids do you know who are actually going to do this? Very few.

We would suggest you not only change your own privacy settings immediately if you do not want your pictures being used for Social Ads, and send this post to your friends and family so they can change their settings as well.

This is how easily you can change it:

Go to the gear icon in top right hand corner

  • Select Privacy Settings
  • In the left navigation menu click Ads
  • In the Ads & Friends section, select “No One” from the drop-down menu
  • Don’t forget to Save

How many people already knew about this? How many are going to change theirs immediately?

Comment below with any thoughts or questions you may have.



Yes, Facebook Sucks Sometimes…but there's a Silver Lining…

Just when they thought no one was looking, BAM! Facebook made another permissions snafu. They changed everyone’s email address to Facebook specific emails and posted them on your timeline. Though an easy fix, it just makes you wonder why the hell they just keeping doing sneaky stuff like this…(If you answered, “because they can” – Ding Ding Ding! You win the toaster oven!)

If you have not fixed it yet, it takes literally 2 minutes.
  1. Click “About” on your profile and scroll down to your email address. Click “Edit” to change them.
  2. Click on the circle next to your Facebook email address and change its setting to “Hidden From Timeline”.
  3. Click on the circle next to your other email addresses and change their settings to “Shown On Timeline”.
  4. Click the Save button at the bottom of the Edit popup (Don’t forget this step).


THEN – just when I thought I could not hate Facebook anymore than I did….they did this…
Aaaarrrgghhhh….must…now….like….Facebook. Again. 

Yes, it a wonderful thing.
Yes, it is long overdue.
Yes, it is what Geek Girl stands for and we won’t rest until there are more women in tech.She is the first woman on the previously all male-dominated board at Facebook.  She is also one of the very few women on any boards in Silicon Valley. Hoo-freaking-ray.
So now I must suck up my love-hate Facebook relationship because a sistuh done good.That’s okay. I’ll take the small victories any day…

Why isn't anyone posting comments on my Facebook wall?

It may be that they don’t have permission to!  If you want your Facebook friends to post to your wall, you may need to update your privacy settings.

a) Go to your Facebook profile page and click on “Options” which is located under the “What’s on your mind? – Share” button then click “Settings”.  Check the box for “Friends may post to my Wall” under the “Stories Posted by Friends” section.

- or -

b)  In the upper right hand-corner of any page on facebook go to Account > Privacy Settings > Customize Settings > Scroll down to Things others share and click “Enable” for Friends can post on my Wall

Whenever you edit your privacy settings it’s a good idea to check how this change may appear to your facebook friends.  Just go to Account > Privacy Settings > Customize Settings > Preview My Profile.  This is how your profile currently appears to most facebook users.  To see how your profile appears to a specific person, look for “Preview how your profile appears to a specific person:” at the top of the screen and type their name in the box.

Keep in mind that nothing on the Internet is ever “really” private – so post responsibly!

Do you want your Friends to Share Your info on Facebook?

Here is another Facebook Privacy Settings blog post that you all should know about. Recently, I posted Take Note: Delete Facebook Applications. Like, Now. which addressed the issue with third-party applications and your privacy which deserves a quick glance if you are interested in privacy issues.

Just because you updated your Facebook privacy settings once in one area, does not mean you are protected against others using your information. If you have not gone through these privacy settings for what your friends can share from you, and you do not want them to share your information, then follow these immediately to ensure they do not.

There are plenty of applications out there that still will cull your information if your friends have the application and sending to you, such as a automatic ecard or others. The best thing to do is make sure you are taking responsibility for your own data and that you are not releasing any information that you do not want out there. Also, just don’t make the changes. Understand the changes you are making so that you will become more familiar with all these profile settings so you can, from time-to-time, make sure your settings are consistent with your privacy concerns.

Despite what a lot of people think, Facebook does make it very easy to change your settings. However, they may not be as vocal in these changes as most would like. I would highly recommend you follow certain Facebook Pages that provide you with resources that will let you know when things change, such as Geek Girl Camp, and Facebook itself has some great pages to follow so you can get the updates in your stream such as Facebook Products, Facebook Pages and Facebook Security. “Like” these, and get the updates when they are released. It is your responsibility to be vigilant in knowing what is going on.

Let’s get started with these changes:

  1. Go to your “Privacy Settings” page and choose “Applications and Websites.”
  2. Click the “Edit Settings” button next to “What your friends can share about you.” This page will show you all the options that your friends’ applications can access.
  3. Check or uncheck them based on what you’re willing to share.

Your friends probably do not even know they are making your information public, so don’t blame them. Certain applications your friends are using may target your information if they send something to you. Don’t let the application use your information if you do not want them to.

As always, Facebook and any other web application service is going to do what is best for them. Just make sure you are protected if you do not want your personal information out there.

I must interject that I am a little surprised at all the hullabaloo with Facebook, as Google Buzz and Twitter have no privacy, either. It’s inevitable that Facebook will become more social. Whether you like it or not, it will.

So, take responsibility of your own information, and stop blaming the companies. They will continue to do what is best for them. Not you.

Take Note: Delete Facebook Applications. Like, Now.

Very important, please follow:

Facebook just announced at their f8 Developers Conference that applications you have given permission to previously now will be given more access to your information as they no longer have to dump any data they’ve collected on you after 24 hours. If you have applications on your Facebook account, please take the time to delete them NOW to avoid these applications getting anymore access to your private data.

How and Why?

Why: Facebook changed their policy (again) so it is up to YOU, the user, to protect yourself.

How: Follow these easy steps and take the time to do this now. Don’t say we never warned you.

From your Facebook page:

  • Go to “Account” on the top-right of your screen
  • Click “Application Settings”
  • Go to the “Show” drop-down box and change to “Authorized.” This will list all of the applications you have ever given permission to since you started your account
  • Look at the list and click the “X” on the far right next to each application you want to remove
  • When you get the pop-up box, click “Remove” and then click “Okay” on the next box confirming the application was deleted
  • So sayeth the Girls of Geek…

    Take the time and do this now.

    Protect yourself. Because Facebook is not going to do it for you.

    A Geek Girl’s take on the new Facebook Privacy Issues – What you Need to Know

    As I starting writing this blog post on Saturday morning, I was intrigued by all the blog posts, articles, even local news channels all getting their panties in a bind about the “new Facebook Privacy” issues. I was kind of shocked by all the outrage and nasty comments of the new Facebook announcement for privacy changes making their rounds on Twitter, Facebook and other sites, considering the first rules of the Internet that everyone should know. So, in total Fight Club manner, I give you those rules.

    Rule #1: Never post anything to the Internet you never want anyone to see. Rule #2: NEVER POST ANYTHING TO THE INTERNET YOU NEVER WANT ANYONE TO SEE!

    Of course I am making a joke, but throughout this post as I explain the new Facebook privacy policies and how to make them work for you; the pervasive theme of Internet privacy does start with your discretion as well.

    My views are divided on this issue for different reasons. As a person “in the business” whose company has built social networking applications, we know that search and content is huge and having that content is extremely important to build a platform. Yet, we also believe in filtering to make sure those providing the content are not bogus spammers, and privacy policies . We always have instituted privacy policies and they are dictated mostly on the premise of how the application will be using your data. On the flip side, I started Geek Girl Camp to educate women on the importance of the computer technology, with a huge underlying focus on personal security online. So, you can see why I bring up many different ways why these privacy issues are being introduced by Facebook as well as why the backlash is happening against it.

    As for someone being in the business, I would like more content to get in the search stream for things such as better blog post visibility and anything that pertains to my business. I do understand why a lot of other people are upset as they thought they signed up for a social network where their “privacy” was protected. All I can say is no matter how “private” you think everything is, assume it is not and always assume it will not stay this way. The world is evolving how it received information and this will most certainly not be the last time Facebook will try to be “more open” with your information.

    I just wish Facebook had been a little bit more forthcoming and had not chosen to use their advancement into search to compete with Twitter disguised as this new privacy settings meme. That was wrong. It does not seem like a privacy issue to me.

    Here are some quick things to think about, certainly not in defense of Facebook, but items you need to be aware of.

    Some Thoughts on Facebook

    1.) You are not paying anything to use this service. It is free. Facebook has and will again change their policies on how it will best serve Facebook, the future of the Internet and the direction of how information will be distributed, searched and stored. They are not making money off of you for subscription, so they need to raise money other ways. Search and advertising certainly are part of that future. Rest assured of this.

    2.) Unless you are an investor or Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, you have no monetary windfall coming to you for investing in this service, nor any voting rights, nor ownership, nor really any say in how the business model of Facebook will redefine itself in the years to come. Facebook was not even open to most of you reading this when it first started, as it was available for only college students. Aren’t we glad that they made it “more open” when we joined?

    3.) You have been told before that anything you put online can possibly stay there in perpetuity sometimes, so you should be careful what you put online. Despite Facebook originally being a service where people can choose who sees their content, the world is changing and if Facebook wants to compete with search engines and other services like Twitter, chances are they will lessen their restrictions. It’s the future of the Internet.
 It may be disastrous for Facebook to do so, but I contend that most people will still use the service.

    4.) If you want to share things you would NEVER want to see online, you better stay off social network sites and use email with only people you know. And as we know, loose lips sink ships there as well. Systems can also get hacked from malicious hackers and your content can be distributed. You hear stories about that happening with medical records and credit cards from time to time. But it also happens offline. Remember when the Boston Globe used everyone’s credit card numbers printed out on paper to roll newspaper bundles in? I see more outrage about people’s Facebook pictures then the other items that affect your well-being and assets. There is a slight bit of risk putting things online, credit cards, pictures, etc. no matter what the policy is. But I do believe information is a lot safer online than providing to a human being. I have never had my credit card stolen online before, but I have had many charges on it from local stores in my town where people steal the credit card numbers for use later on. And just an aside, if you think the Government is not reading your updates, then think again.

    For some to really understand the changes, one must understand the nature of the Internet, search and the future of web applications, and how things are changing for Facebook.

    The Reason:

    Facebook is changing their privacy settings policy because of the all-powerful ecosystem of search. They want to compete with Twitter and Google. Allowing more content from Facebook would allow the social network behemoth that ability to compete in search, and most importantly, live search. Now, of course this is for several reasons, most of all advertising dollars, but I think we all know that whoever controls the data is king. Google has been the leader in search, and has now unveiled live search. Bing recently partnered with Twitter to allow real-time search on their search engine. These are huge advances in how we search and receive content. And if you have a website and want to be found, you want as much search engine visibility to get people to your site.

    At least Facebook was all in your face about the changes and you could not escape this notification every time you signed it. Compared to Google, who released their new live search with pretty much nothing to let you know except for an after the fact update in a blog post, Facebook did make it extremely transparent and did not hide it at all.

    If you do not like the new Facebook Privacy Policies, there are several things you can do.

    • Follow the instructions below by going to your privacy settings right now and change to make sure you are protected (until of course they change that policy again). Will this protect you from people who are following you from reading your content and making screen shots of what you say and floating it out to others? No.
    • Stop putting content on your Facebook site and restrict what you say in the event it goes onto the Internet. You don’t want people to know you got blitzed last night and peed on the neighbor’s rose bush? Then don’t say it. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt just said recently, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Read full story here.
    • Delete your account. There. Case closed. It won’t be that disastrous. How did you stay in touch with friends before Facebook? How did we ever get along without the tv remote, either?
    • Invest millions of dollars into your own social network where you can make your own rules. My favorite one but it’s not so easy. I know. My company builds them and it takes a lot of money to build them. And though the rules are made that best suits the community, they are also made by what befits the business model as investors want their money back someway. Just like Facebook will make the rules in the future in determining how they will be profitable. They may revisit search again in another way.

    Changing Your Privacy Settings back to your Original Settings

    If you choose to follow #1 from above, follow the guidelines below to make sure your settings are pretty much back to your original settings. This will make sure the original settings you used will continually be used. For now at least. But don’t think that Facebook’s desire to be “more open” is going to go away.

    When you get this image, please read carefully and click the “Continue to Next Step”.

    You will then come to this page, which will say “Please update your privacy settings”. As you can see, Facebook has changed some of your privacy settings to make things more open. All you have to do is go back to your old settings from here. How do you know what were your old settings? Hover over the choices with your mouse and it will tell you. Change all the ones you want to your original settings by checking off all the ones on the right side.

    After checking , the page should look like this:

    This will restore all your old settings, as long as you hit “Save Settings”. Don’t forget, or they will not save.

    If for some reason you bypassed the above sections, you can also get to this page right now by going up to your navigation bar on right, and click where it says “Settings”, and then “Privacy Settings”.

    You will have choices in a row: Profile, Contact, Applications and Websites, Search, Block List. Though you should review all of these, start first with Profile and Contact. Make sure you change all of them to: “Only Friends” in both the first two, Profile and Contact.

    Also, check through Search, as you may want to change this to determine if you want people other friends to find you by search, and if you want your search engines to access your publicly available info and any information visible to everyone. If you do not, please uncheck “allow indexing”.

    You will want to go all though each line and make sure they are set the way you would like them.

    Ask Questions – Get Help

    If perhaps a visual element like video will help you best, the official Facebook video is available on Facebook here, “How do I use Facebook’s Privacy Settings?”

    If you have any questions whatsoever, please contact us here at Geek Girl Camp by commenting below this post, through Twitter, our Facebook Fan Page, our LinkedIn Group, or if email us.

    Do not let this information go undone, especially if you are not tech savvy and need help. We are here to help you.