Current category:Tips and Tricks

Spring Clean Your Facebook Account

fbspringSpring is here —  and it is a good excuse to spring clean your house, your drawers, and maybe even your Facebook account. Why clean up a Facebook account you say? There are a few good reasons, and we’ll tell you why.

First off: there may be items on your Facebook Wall that you are not proud of and there might be privacy and security issues you haven’t given much thought to lately. Last but not least, you may have come to a point where you think Facebook is a bit of a time waster. To clean your Facebook account might make you focus a bit better and get more out of it.

We have gathered five tips to quickly and easily clean-up your Facebook account in mere minutes. Let’s have a look:

1. Remove Facebook Applications You Don’t Use (Two Minutes)

Facebook applications are pieces of code that work as add-ons to Facebook, but are actually created by third party companies. Some of them add fun and/or functionality to your Facebook user experience, but others are downright annoying (think quizzes, games like Farmville, and the like). Apps can actually learn a lot about you and your Facebook friends too —  if you let them. Stories are flooding the media lately about app privacy breaches — with some apps actually being rogue in nature. Looking at my list of Facebook apps I actually found no less than 33 apps and most of them had access to collect personal information about me.  A simple clean-up here reduced that number to 11. If you are interested in Facebook apps and privacy there is a nice little tool that scores each app on a 0-100 scale. You can try it here.

Here’s how to remove apps you don’t want: start by visiting the list of installed apps on your Facebook account. Each app is listed in order of the most recently used, and you can see the how much information each app can access.

Just be careful what you delete here, as some apps are needed by some programs to keep them working properly. You can however, easily remove apps for games, quizzes and other stuff you are not using.

2. Remove Potentially Embarrassing Facebook Information (Five Minutes)

If you are considering finding a new job or looking good to a potential partner, this is the perfect time to remove embarrassing pictures, inappropriate updates and other questionable things you have shared. So what is actually considered inappropriate in the mind of a employer? SimpleWash is a handy tool to help you weed out what could be flagged as inappropriate, but do take a few minutes to go through your page and give it a look-see yourself. Some places to start:

  • Removing membership of inappropiate “Drunk in the Morning” type of groups
  • Untagging yourself from inappropiate pictures
  • Removing comments that are inappropiate – including comments from your friends on your postings
  • Changing your profile picture if it is not portraying you in the way you want

3. Downgrade Annoying Facebook Friends (Five to Ten Minutes)

This is probably the trickiest part for many Facebook users. They really dislike daily pictures of cats and dogs in their News Feed or annoying updates from Friends, but are hesitant to go as far as shutting some Friends out of their online social lives. 

Let’s assume you aren’t willing to completely defriend. There are a number of other things you can do though. First, you can downgrade said person from “Friend” status to “Acquaintance” status – with a newer tool released in 2012. Start by locating your Friends List and on each Friend who is cluttering your News Feed, easily change them to “Acquaintance”, so you’ll see fewer of their updates but they will never know how close they came to actually being defriended.

 

There is also the option of going through all the relevant friends and blocking pictures from particular users. It’s quite a long process but may be well worth the effort if there are any known issues. 

Unfortunately, as of now there is no way of blocking all Facebook’s games in one go. Let’s write Mr. Zuckerberg and ask him why.

Browser extensions take clean-up to a new level. Clever guys have created Unbaby Me which will remove baby pictures if you use the Chrome browser. Likewise, there are extensions to remove all political comments. I haven’t tested them all so I can’t tell how effective they are.

  

4. Adjust Your Facebook Privacy Settings (One minute)

These days Facebook privacy is being discussed everywhere. It’s quite a job setting up the perfect privacy policy since it is rather complicated to get an overview of all privacy settings. Yesterday I stumbled upon a rather large e-book called “Facebook Privacy Manual” explaining all privacy settings. That book was actually 52 pages indicating the complexity here! Here’s a few tips:

A basic but very important setting is to make your profile non-public. Profiles are by standard non-public, but your status may be set to public. Check it under Privacy -> Who can see my stuff?

If you want to hide your Facebook profile from search engines such as Google and Bing, there is also an option for that. Choose Privacy -> Who can look me up?

Now searches for your name in search engines won’t bring up your Facebook listing. Note that it may be some time before the change goes into effect.

You will probably also want to know before someone tags you in pictures. There is a setting for that:

 

5. Miscellaneous Upkeep (One minute)

Facebook has some rather cryptic ad settings. Right now they state third party companies “do not use your picture and name in social ads” but they do write that they might do this in the future. You can already opt-out of this by choosing Ads -> Third Party sites. While you are at it, you might also want to opt-out of Ads & Friends at the same time. That functionality will prevent product promotion and services liked by your friends — to you.

Change your Facebook Password. When was the last time you changed your password? Now is a good time to do so. Reset your Facebook password here and remember that all mobile devices hooked up to Facebook need to use the new Password as well.

We saved the best tip for last: Get out and enjoy spring and the warmer weather. Let Facebook live its own life for some time and get out there and enjoy real life!

What is your favorite Facebook tip? Feel free to share in the comments.

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About Kim Falkner

VP Marketing for SPAMfighter with a passion for IT-security and blogging. Follow me on Google+ (+Kim Falkner) or LinkedIn (Kim Falkner on LinkedIn)
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7 Comments

  1. Andy Heaps says:

    Thanks, although you never know when they are going to overhaul the thing in its entirety and leave us to more work ;)

  2. Beau says:

    Heaven forbid someone post a picture of a baby. I’d rather see cute kids and kittens any day than political rants and selfies of shallow, single “professionals” partying somewhere.

  3. Susan says:

    You know, I usually stick to configuring the Privacy Setting, making sure my personal information is locked up tight. I never really thought about getting rid of unused apps or filtering my feed. Thanks for the advice!

  4. Jaden says:

    #1 is a good tip. There are quite a few apps that will automatically post to your feed. So if you’re not using Facebook actively or are only focusing on one aspect of it (e.g., paying games), you’re not seeing the adverts and unintended app use updates that people on your friends list see.

  5. Maxwell says:

    This is a novel post. I have never thought about giving my Facebook account and activity a “Spring Cleaning,” but I can see why it would be useful.

  6. April says:

    Took your advice and my account just feels so much cleaner. Less junk on the sidebar and feed updates/posts from people I KNOW and actually LIKE, lol.

  7. Edith says:

    I use “Unbaby Me,” and I highly recommend it if you’re friends are currently going through a baby season (where everyone is pregnant or has a newborn). Of course, this won’t prevent your from answering questions about whether or not your saw pictures of Junior’s first footsteps, lol, but it will make scrolling your feed easier.

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