Privacy and Security

You have a certain amount of control over who sees what on your profile

People in your network:
Profile information you submit to Facebook will be available to users of Facebook who belong to at least one of the networks you allow to access the information through your privacy settings (e.g., school, geography, friends of friends).

Everyone in Facebook:

Your name, network names, and profile picture thumbnail will be available in search results across the Facebook network and those limited pieces of information may be made available to third party search engines. This is primarily so your friends can find you and send a friend request. People who see your name in searches, however, will not be able to access your profile information unless they have a relationship to you (friend, friend of friend, member of your networks, etc.) that allows such access based on your privacy settings.

The Internet:

Facebook profiles can be searched for and found using Google or other search engines.  What is visible to the public is up to you and the privacy settings you choose.  Generally, the public profile consists of your profile picture, your name, network, and a selection of your friends' names and photos with links to their pages.

What Facebook does for you

What you can do on your own

Adjust your Facebook Privacy Settings

Making changes to your Facebook privacy settings is the easiest and safest way to protect your identity and your information while using Facebook.  You can easily adjust the following:
  • Search: Control who can search for you, and how you can be contacted.
  • News Feed and Wall: Control what stories about you get published to your profile and to your friends’ News Feeds.
  • Applications: Control what information is available to applications you use on Facebook.
Want to know what your profile looks like to your friends?  Facebook will let you view your profile from someone else's perspective!

You also have the ability to block people from finding you in Facebook, seeing your profile, and communicating with you via Facebook.

Facebook Best Practice
tips from a security company on protecting your identity in Facebook

How to Use Facebook without Losing Your Job Over It
suggestions on how to use Facebook professionally and/or socially with simple steps to keep your information private

Known issues

From Facebook's Privacy Policy:
  • Facebook may use information in your profile without identifying you as an individual to third parties.
  • We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services, Facebook Platform developers and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile.
  • We share your information with third parties only in limited circumstances where we believe such sharing is 1) reasonably necessary to offer the service, 2) legally required or, 3) permitted by you


General netiquette (internet etiquette) applies in Facebook.  Here are some pointers:
  • If you don't want other people to see something, do not put it in Facebook (a common rule of thumb is "if you don't want your mother/spouse/boss to see it..."
  • Anything you put into Facebook can be downloaded or copied by others who have access to your profile/that information.  A "just between you and me" video sent to a friend can be saved or linked to and have a life of its own outside of Facebook
  • Facebook is a private company.  Facebook is interested in Facebook's own interests, mainly making money via Facebook. 

Deleting your account

Facebook does not want to lose you as a user.  As a result, they do not give you a delete option up front.  Instead, your first available option is deactivation-- a reversible removal of your profile from Facebook. 

If you would like to deactivate your Facebook account, login and click on Account.  From here, click Deactivate and confirm the action with a reason.

To fully and permanently delete your account, go to the following page: and select Remove My Account From Facebook.  This action does take 2-3 days, but will result an in the removal of all of your information from Facebook's site.