One of the important aspects of using Facebook in the K12 environment is having appropriate security and privacy settings. Whether you are teaching digital citizenship or using Facebook as a collaboration and communication tool, it is important to understand and review your security and privacy settings.
After logging into Facebook, click the ‘account’ tab and choose privacy to view the screen below. Next, select the ‘view settings’ option.
The top 3 settings (below) govern the settings for your visibility on Facebook, that is, how easy it is for people to find you. Narrowing down the permissions (friends of friends, friends) in these settings places increasing limitations on who can locate you. Leaving these settings at ‘everyone’ makes it easy for people to find you.
There are settings for all other aspects of Facebook. Facebook security and privacy settings allow for control over most aspects of this environment. The greatest control is implemented by organizing your contacts (friends) into ‘lists’. Once your lists are created (through the manage friends option), use can further control access to Facebook features by adding these list names to the ‘exclude’ section within the option panel. This feature is particularly helpful in the K12 space where administrators, teachers and students may be collaborating together within the Facebook space.
Many Facebook users like to make their friends/contacts aware of a personal or professional web resources such as a web site, blog or wiki etc. Access to the listing of your web resource is controlled by the website option as listed below.
The screen shot below shows a small sample of the other security options available.
Facebook users have complete flexibility over how much contact information is shared, if any. I have personally found it helpful to include my professional email address so that potential contacts can use that address as a search option.
I would certainly recommend a thorough review of the various options in the applications section since many applications require some access to your profile in order to function.
Facebook uses strategies to personalize your experience by tracking what you click, much in the same way an Internet browser does using the cookie function. It is important to decide whether or not you want this information to be potentially available outside of the Facebook environment. A greater level of privacy is maintained by unchecking the ‘enable instant personalization on partner websites’ option. This is on be default.
Finally, there is an option to completely turn off public search results. Turning this off (by unchecking the option) means your Facebook profile, as you defined it, will not display in Facebook searches. Essentially, turning this off means people can not find you, you must find them.
Note: There are additional settings to block interactions with specified Facebook users.
I hope this security/privacy overview provides some insights to using Facebook in a professional manner within the K12 environment.