Editor's Note: This article was originally published November 2015 by Priscilla Rey.
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, Facebook remains by far the most popular social media site. As a member of the military, and for family members of service members, it is more important than ever to remain vigilant of operational security (OPSEC).
Sharing information on your Facebook timeline may seem harmless but can be dangerous to loved ones and fellow Soldiers.
Never accept a friend request from someone you don’t know, even if they know a friend of yours. Don’t share information that you don’t want to become public. Someone might target you for working in the DOD, so be cautious when listing your job, military organization, education and contact information. Providing too much information in your profile can leave you exposed to people who want to steal your identity or sensitive operational information.
Understanding what you can and cannot post on Facebook goes a long way in protecting yourself online, but more can be done by adjusting your privacy settings.
There are a lot of ways to protect your privacy on Facebook and a lot of people are not aware that most information is available for everyone. We did some research on how to set your settings into the highest security level.
Here to set the highest security settings on your Facebook profile.
Choose who views your Facebook posts
1. Log into Facebook, and go to Settings, Privacy.
2. Subjects: Who can see my stuff? Who can contact me? Who can look me up?
3. Choose Only me or Only friends to maximize security on your page. This prevents other people from seeing you posts.
4. Under Who can look me up?, Facebook asks, “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” Do not let other search engines link to your timeline.
Maximize the privacy of your timeline, prevent tagging
1. When you post pictures on your timeline, you can change the settings on who can see, comment or add things. You can also determine who is allowed to post on your timeline.
2. Log into Facebook, and go to Settings, Timeline and Tagging.
3. Who can add things to my timeline? Who can see things on my timeline? How can I manage tags people add?
4. The best thing to do is to make this limit visibility to Only You or Friends Only. Don’t have Friends of Friends post or comment on your pictures. Keep this as private as you can.
5. When you’re “tagged” in a post, it means that someone has created a link to your profile. You can turn on Tag Review to review tags friends add to your content before they appear on Facebook. In the How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions? section, click edit and change the settings to enabled.
Your profile picture
1. A recent Facebook update allows you to change the size of your profile picture. It also allows you to make the picture private and unclickable.
2. Using Photoshop, Microsoft paint or any other photo editing software, change the image size to 180 x 180 pixels. Save this and use this as your profile picture on Facebook.
3. Once uploaded, click on your profile picture, and select Edit.
4. Click on the Public drop-down menu, and choose Only Me.
1. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, videos, websites and SMS messages. It is the equivalent of adding a 10-digit grid coordinate to everything posted on the Internet. You can prevent Facebook from sharing your location.
2. Geotagging is typically done automatically on your tablet or mobile phone. When you first installed Facebook on your tablet or mobile phone, it probably asked for permission to use your phone’s location services so that it could provide you with the ability to “check-in” at different locations and tag photos with location information. Revoke this permission in your phone’s location services settings area.
3. There are also apps to strip your geolocation. Koredoko, deGeo (iPhone) or Photo Privacy Editor (Android) are just a few.
4. If you post to Facebook, you may see a light-gray location description in the lower left of the status box. Always check to see if the location is posted. If it is, remove it. Simply hover your cursor or finger over the location and click the X.
The Army’s Social Media Handbook provides great information on safe networking and how to register your unit site. It also gives you guidance on Army branding standards and provides Facebook reference guides. It’s available at www.us.army.mil/suite/doc/43167236 (AKO login required) or www.slideshare.net/usarmysocialmedia (login blocked on government computers).
Always remember: Think before you post. Stay safe.