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How to Customize and Perfect Your Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook Privacy
Privacy is, without question, the number one concern of virtually every Facebook user. We tend to share a lot on the social network, but we don't necessarily want everyone peering into our lives -- especially not the co-workers, family members and ex-flames scattered throughout our lists. When Facebook unveiled its new Open Graph and Instant Personalization services earlier this year, these concerns only amplified, and many users began rightfully complaining that they were losing aegis over their own online domain. In reality, though, we still have plenty of control over who can see our profiles, and even what information they can see.

To be a master of your castle, all you have to do is click on the 'Account' tab at the top right-hand corner of your homepage, and select 'Privacy Settings' from the drop-down menu and then 'View Settings.' From here, you can choose to share all your info with the entire Facebook community, with friends of friends, or with your friends exclusively.

friends of friends
Clicking on each setting will give you a clear idea of exactly which information will be visible to the group of people with whom you choose to share it. For example, if you choose the 'Friends of Friends' option, one-degree removed Facebookers will be able to see your status updates, personal bio and favorite quotations when they click on your name. Details like religious views and contact information, meanwhile, will remain visible to friends only. The site also offers a 'Recommended' option, which is basically a melange of all three settings, and could be an easy solution if you don't want to spend more than two minutes recalibrating your privacy.

custom settings But, if you're still not satisfied with any of Facebook's preset options (and, if you're like most people, you probably won't be), you can always choose the 'Custom' option. This feature will allow you to micromanage your privacy settings down to the last detail, and determine exactly who sees what on your landing page. If you have an especially persistent ex who has a proclivity for posting saccharine, embarrassing nothings all over your Wall, you can block him entirely by adding him to the 'Block List' at the bottom of the menu.

Once you've found the right mix for you, double-check the settings by clicking the 'Preview Profile' tab near the top of the customization page. There, you can see exactly how your profile looks to specific friends, by typing in their names at the top of the page. Facebook may not officially "recommend" that you customize your profile with such a fine-toothed comb, but we certainly do.

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