How Do We (Bloggers) Protect Our Facebook Privacy?

Being a blogger (sort of) implies going public: with your thoughts, ideas, your writing in general. What about your personal details? I chose not to share mine on my blog. I would like to be known for my writing, not for who I am in ‘real’ life. This is why you won’t find my name here, or my contact details. Not that it would be a rocket science to find them. And, still, I would like to know that I am doing my best to stay safe online.

What has been happening to me over the past few months showed me that I have to be careful. Very! My Facebook account was nearly hacked today, which rang a few alarm bells. Luckily, no harm was done, as the fraudulent attempt was detected and my account got locked. I didn’t mind changing my password, as this showed me that someone is watching over my online safety.

This is not the first time I am slightly worried about my privacy – which is why I am writing this post. For two reasons. Reason one: to warn other bloggers. Reason two: to ask for their advice. What are your tips for staying safe online?

I am sure there will be someone out there who will disagree with me, but to me is indisputable: social networks are a great (if not the greatest) tool for publicising your blog. I swear by Facebook. Not so much with Twitter (just not my thing). I’ve got to admit, though, that since I got my Twitter profile to represent my blog, the number of my followers started rising – slowly but steadily. They are obviously following me as a blogger, rather than just a Twitter user.

While I’ve never published anything particularly personal on Twitter, I cannot say the same about Facebook. This is the social platform for me, and I would like to know that my privacy there is safe. Ever since I started my blog, I have been posting links to my blog in various groups and forums. This got me (and keeps getting me) lots of traffic.

Credit: http://imgfave.com/
Credit: http://imgfave.com/

What I also, worryingly, noticed is rising interest in me. As a person and a woman. Which is when it started to get tricky. While I do like to go public as far as my blog is concerned, this is not what I want for my personal profile. So here is what I found to be the best ways to keep your own privacy:

  • Create a Facebook page for your blog and make sure it is separate from your personal profile.
  • Do not list yourself as the page administrator. Unless you do want people to link you to your page, which will result in a fair number of new friends requests.
  • When publishing links on various groups and pages, or when commenting, try to post as your page rather than yourself. This is a relatively new feature that I find is just great. This would have prevented a number of unwanted friend requests for me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on all devices. Therefore, when posting links, I try to do it from a PC/laptop rather than my phone.
  • Enable the ‘follow’ option. Anyone whose friend request you reject, will automatically follow you. Very handy! Any posts or photos you choose to post as public will be visible to your followers. Which will keep both you and them happy.
  • Except for those cases when people keep trying and send you their requests a few times. Some are even cheeky enough to message you and insist of being your friends rather than your followers. Which is when it’s your call: to add them or not to add them?
  • Rejecting a friend request and/or blocking that person is the easiest thing to do. If they read your blog, though, would you like to do this? I would say no. Which is why sometimes you may have to compromise and add people you wouldn’t normally do.
  • There is a way around this, too, which is why I find Facebook fascinating. You can play with your security settings and keep your account as private as you would like it to be. What I have done is change the settings for each one of my albums. I have albums that I find safe enough to be visible to the public, and others that I would like to be visible only to my friends and family. Although it does take a fair amount of time, I swear by this. As well as regulating every friend’s viewing permissions. If I don’t trust them enough to give them access to my private photos, I just categorise them as acquaintances. Nice and easy.
  • When posting any status updates, photos, etc., make sure you select the desired level of privacy: public, friends or friends without acquaintances. You can go even further by using custom privacy settings: your post can be made invisible to certain people on your friends list. Which doesn’t make it private to the rest, though.

Viola! You can be both private and public on Facebook and enjoy its great potential for growing your blog.

Why go through this trouble? You (honestly!!) don’t want to know! But, trust me, it can be disturbing. Which doesn’t mean that the only way to avoid spammers and hassle is by deleting your account. Just take the time to follow the steps listed above.

If you have got your own pieces of advice, please share them with me. As I am, frankly, fed up with strange men telling me they are madly in love me. And would not like my account to be hacked – ever again.

39 comments

  1. Thanks for writing this. I’m hopelessly dumb about hacking, but I don’t honestly understand what someone would get out of it if they hacked your Facebook account. Is it just malicious hacking, or is there some advantage to be gained from doing it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great article – thanks for posting it. I struggle with this all the time since my brand is ME. I made a conscious choice to do this a year and a half ago because of the type of business that I’m in. My previous business was a company brand, but I found that people still wanted to be in touch with ME and not the logo. It’s a hard line to walk and I had to give up on trying to keep my friend list manageable. I do still check out people’s profiles prior to accepting them as a friend because I have gotten some pretty gross spam in the past. Facebook is an ever changing and dynamic tool…but one necessary for our online survival. At least until the next thing comes out 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting post, and reading between the lines I’m sorry to hear that you have had some less than pleasant experiences. I take a rather different view, not to say that yours is wrong, for as an aspiring writer I want to be recognised as one – I’m the writer, the writer is me – and when/if my books are ever published they will have my name on them, not a pseudonym. I’ve linked my blog to my FB account, but not vice versa, and my FB account is locked down with the highest level of privacy that is practical. I link to FB because my friends want to know when I have written something new – so far I’ve had no security issues. But, like you, should I ever find I’m being stalked or similar on FB, then I’ll swiftly take measures. It is of course rather sad that we have to think like this, but for every unpleasant online experience I am sure there are many fold more positive experiences – finding and following your blog is one of them for me 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for this honest comment! I, myself, am an aspiring writer, but for more reasons that I can make public I will be using the name I write under on my blog. I, too, have linked my blog to my personal Facebook profile, as I do want my friends to know about my work. But if I do end up finishing and publishing my book, you will understand why I’d rather keep things this way. 😉

      Like

  4. As far as fb goes, I didn’t want my blog page attached to my personal profile…as with every other social media platform I have. My blog has it’s own profile for everything–fb, twitter, tumblr, instagram, etc. It’s my blog’s email that’s attached as the contact and there is no other form of contact information listed (though, like you said, it wouldn’t be hard to find if someone really put in some effort). I also use a pseudonym, not my real name and post as a page. What I did do to avoid logging out every single time I wanted to post to my blog’s fb page, was give my personal profile permission to post to my page in the “post as page” format. That way, any random friend request goes to my blog’s fb profile and not to mine. Even if they tried sending a message, it bypasses my personal profile all together. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww, this is a great thing you’ve done! What settings did you change to do this, as I don’t think I know how to do this? Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

      Like

      • You would have to log in from your administrator’s profile. If that’s your personal profile, I suggest creating a blog profile first. Then go to page settings –> page roles and give your blog profile admin power and change your personal profile to “editor,” which still allows that user to “post as page.” But now, everything’s connected to your blog’s profile and not your personal one, though you can post as page from your personal one. You can also change the general settings on your page to have messages sent directly to your page and not to your profile.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m in the page settings now, but it doesn’t look like I can change my own profile to editor, it seems to be defaulted to admin… I can add another person, but that doesn’t help much… 😦

      Like

  5. Thanks for giving detailed instructions on how to “safely” set up a Facebook page. I can’t work up the courage to merge the two worlds at this point. I manually post links to my blog on Facebook b/c it’s the easiest way to let family and friends know that I’ve written something new. Merging the two worlds is scary partly b/c I’ve posted many family photos (too many, honestly) on Facebook. Sorry you’ve had Facebook issues. Someone tried to hack my account a year ago, but it was caught thanks to Facebook’s security system (the person hacking me was on an unrecognized device in a different hemisphere).

    Like

    • Yes, this is what happened to me exactly. The attempt was caught on time, as the hacker was from another part of the world. I just posted something else on this topic, you might find that interesting too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We found this very thing out recently which is the reason up to now we hadn’t created a Facebook page. Online privacy is very important to us but until we did a search on how to create a Facebook page without exposing our privacy it was a no go. Kudos To You for doing the same. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t have a facebook or twitter account although I am slowly moving in that direction. Most of my safety concerns have to do with what I perceive as an acceptable level of sociopathy on some of the social networking sites that I have used. There seems to be a contingent of people who view success in terms of numbers rather than quality. And they are willing to steal to win their game.

    I discovered on Flickr that at least two people had decided to use my account name, why I don’t know; they were both dummy accounts. I immediately changed my account name and password.

    Unfortunately, technology does nothing to improve our collective ability to use reason. Just as it
    spreads the good news as it has with your writing, so it spreads the dishonesty that is so endemic
    to our species.

    Liked by 1 person

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