Once you join Facebook, or if you are already on it, please follow these guidelines to preserve your privacy.
1. Organize Friends in Lists
Friend Lists are the foundation of your Facebook privacy settings. Select Friends from the top menu, and use the Create link to create friend lists like Co-workers, Family, College Friends, etc. Your friends can’t see your lists, so you can name them whatever you like.
2. Customize Profile Privacy
Click Settings > Privacy Settings > Profile. Select which parts of your profile will be seen by whom. If you choose Customize in the drop down, you can be more specific. This is where the Friend Lists you created before become really useful.
Also go to the Contact Information tab and choose how you want your contact information to be shared on the Internet.
3. Set Facebook Privacy Level of Photo Albums
On the Photos tab of your profile page, click Album Privacy. Here again, you can use your Friend Lists to set the privacy for each photo album. Note that your profile pictures go into a special album that is always visible to ALL your friends.
4. Restrict Search Visibility
Click Privacy > Search to set your visibility when someone searches Facebook for people. This is an important way to safeguard your Facebook privacy.
5. Control Automatic Wall Posts and News Feed Updates
Your actions in Facebook such as comments, likes, appear as highlights on ALL your friends’ home pages. You cannot use friend lists here, only turn them on or off. Go to Privacy > News Feed and Wall and make your selections.
6. Set Facebook Wall Privacy
Go to your profile page, click Options > Settings under the status box. Here you can control whether your friends can post to your Wall, and who can see the posts made by your friends.
7. Avoid Appearing in Advertisements
Facebook has two types of advertisements: third-party and Facebook. Third-party advertisements are currently not allowed to use your pictures, but there is a setting to disallow it if it is allowed in the future. Go to Privacy > News Feed and Wall > Facebook Ads tab to turn this off.
8. Protect Yourself from Friends’ Applications
Go to Privacy > Applications, and click the Settings tab and uncheck all the boxes. These settings control what information about you is visible to applications installed by your friends. By default, these are set to visible. This means that your information is readily available to one of the million worldwide Facebook application developers, each time any of your friends takes a quiz, plays a game, or runs any other Facebook app. These settings control what applications installed by your friends can see about you, even if you don’t install the application yourself.
9. Privacy from Your Applications
There is no way to control what applications see about you; it is an all-or-nothing affair. The only thing you can do is to authorize only those applications you require and trust. Go to Settings > Application Settings from the top menu. Change the drop-down from Recently Used to Authorized. Here you can see all the applications you have authorized to get access to ALL your profile information. Remove the ones you no longer need. Also check the list of applications Allowed to Post and Granted Additional Permissions to remove unwanted ones.
10. Quitting Facebook? Delete, Don’t Just De-Activate Your Account
You can easily deactivate your account in Facebook from the Settings page. But deactivation will retain all your profile information within Facebook, including pictures, friends, etc. If you want to permanently delete your Facebook account, click here to submit a deletion request. Note that:
There is an unspecified delay between submitting your delete request and actual deletion.
If you login to Facebook, your deletion request is automatically cancelled.
There doesn’t seem to be any way to confirm that your request was completed.
Even after permanent deletion, copies of your photos may remain on their servers for technical reasons.