Raise your hand if you’ve seen (or posted) the following Facebook status update:
“Hello friends, I like to keep my FB private except to those I am friends with. So if you all would do the following, I’d appreciate it. With the new FB timeline on its way this week for EVERYONE, please do both of us a favor. Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says : “Subscribed”. Hover over that, then go to “comments and likes” and un-check it, by clicking on it. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the bar side for everyone to see, but most importantly it limits hackers from invading our profiles. If you repost this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll “like” it.”
Yep, that’s what I thought! I see a lot of hands out there! This has been spreading like wildfire for the past week or so. I’ve seen it countless times myself.
There are a few problems with these instructions:
- This has nothing to do with the advent of Timeline.
- While it’s true that if you unsubscribe from a friend’s comments and likes (and vice versa) these items will no longer show up in the ticker…but they also will no longer show up in your news feed.
- Maybe most importantly, this action will NOT protect you from hackers!
So what should you do? Can you disable Timeline? Disable the ticker? How do you protect yourself from hackers?
First things first. You cannot disable Timeline (frankly, I don’t understand why you’d want to…it’s beautiful and gives you more options than ever!). There are posts going around on Facebook saying, “click here to disable Timeline”. Please don’t be fooled by this! This is a scam to get you to “like” the scammers’ pages and some of them are asking people to download a browser extension that may, in fact, do damage to your system. For the complete story on this, please click here to read the facts from The Next Web.
That Blasted Ticker!
You can disable the ticker according to AllFacebook.com. Click here for instructions on how to disable the Ticker. I’ll add the disclaimer that I haven’t tried to disable the ticker yet, but I trust AllFacebook so if they say this is how to do it, it is.
It’s Up to You: Passwords
Keeping your account safe from hackers isn’t all that hard – but it has nothing to do with the ticker or Timeline. Here are some suggestions:
- Change your password frequently. I change mine on the first of every month (sort of a hassle, but much less trouble than trying to regain control of your account once you’ve been hacked).
- Use numbers AND special characters (! ? %, etc) in your password.
It’s Up to You: Check Those Privacy Settings
If you’re concerned about people you don’t know seeing your posts, comments, likes, etc. simply change your Privacy settings. This is easily done by clicking on the arrow at the top of your news feed, to the right of the word Home. Click on Privacy Settings, which will take you to this page:
You’ll notice that my Privacy Settings are set to Custom. Within the Custom setting, you can be very specific about who sees your posts – even to the point of excluding one or a few people. Those who want only friends to see posts can click on Friends so that only your friends will see your posts, comments, likes, etc.
Also on the Privacy Settings page, you’ll see an option called “How Tags Work“. Here you can set it so that you can review and approve tags (of photos and posts) before they show up on your Timeline as well as limiting who can see those tags. Another option there is enabling/disabling being “checked in” to places by friends.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll also notice an option to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts”. Click that and a box will pop up to help you change all of your old posts to Friends only. You can also remove old posts from within your Timeline by scrolling down to the post you want to remove, hover over the post, click on the pencil icon and delete it completely.
You can limit who sees your posts on a post-by-post basis by clicking on the icon to the left of the Post button on the status update box on news feed or within Timeline. See picture below:
I hope this post helps you realize that you actually do have a lot of control over who sees what on Facebook. I also hope that posts like this will convince people to double-check information before re-posting on Facebook. If we all take a minute or two to do some research before re-posting we will all be better informed and our news feeds won’t be cluttered by what is essentially spam.
If you’d like daily information, tips, etc. regarding Facebook and other social media platforms please “like” the Seek Media Group page on Facebook by clicking here. I make it my business to keep abreast of hoaxes, scams, and security measures – among many other things – and post them on my company page every day.
If there is anything else you’d like information about, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer it for you! And…please let me know if you found this post helpful!