Today is Fat Tuesday, the height of Mardi Gras celebrations everywhere. It’s a great day for having fun with friends, wearing costumes, and escaping from everyday reality . . . unless your escapades catch up with you online. We’ve got 9 tips to help you avoid a privacy hangover.
What happens in New Orleans doesn’t stay in New Orleans anymore with camera phones, Facebook, and geotagging. Your blackout night on Bourbon Street can end up right in Facebook’s news feed, which might be hilarious to your friends but not so funny to your boss or your parents.
Rather than wake up to a nightmare gallery drunken photos the day after Fat Tuesday, it’s a good move to enable Facebook options that let you approve—or disprove—any tags or mentions of you before they go up online.
Here are 9 tips for taking total control of any photos or tags of you before they go up on Facebook or who knows where else:
To start, log into Facebook, click on the gear icon in the upper-right of the screen, and click on “Privacy Settings.” On the privacy settings page, click “Timeline and Tagging” on the left. You’ll need to change several settings here, so let’s start from the top:
1. “Who can post on your timeline?” (Self-explanatory: control who can post things on your Facebook page so you don’t have strangers posting spam or other unwanted stuff.) Edit and change to “friends,” “only me,” or make a custom list of people.
2. “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” (Lets you click to approve or disprove any mentions of you before they show up on your timeline.) Click “edit” and turn the feature on.
3. “Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline?” (Further limits the audience that can see posts where you’re tagged.) Click “edit” and change to “friends” or make a custom list of people.
4. “Who can see what others post on your timeline?” (Limits who can see what other people post on your timeline.) Click “edit” and change to “friends” or make a custom list of people.
5. “Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?” (Lets you go over other people’s posts where they mention you.) Click “edit” and turn the feature on.
6. “When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren’t already in it?” (Keeps people from sharing posts where you’re tagged way beyond the original people who could see it.) Click “edit” and change to “only me.”
7. “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?” (This is Facebook’s facial recognition. Turn it off unless you want Facebook suggesting that it’s your face in uploaded photos.) Click “edit” and change to “no one.”
8. A fun privacy tip especially for Mardi Gras: trip up facial recognition with Mardi Gras masks. Wearing a mask during Mardi Gras has two benefits: masking your identity so you can let loose, and thwarting the facial recognition technology in social networks and photos. When you’re wearing a mask, facial recognition won’t know who you are and can’t suggest that people tag you in potentially embarrassing photos.
9. Disable geotagging in your mobile phone’s photos. Many smartphones will automatically include the longitude and latitude where a photo was taken in that picture’s metadata, and making it easy to pinpoint your location.
To disable geotagging on an iPhone, go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services>Camera>Off.
On an Android, open the Camera app, then hit the gear icon to open settings, scroll down to GPS tag, and make sure it’s turned off.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to an awesome Mardi Gras that won’t hurt your online reputation later. Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone!
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