DETROIT -

In an exhaustive survey of Facebook users, Consumer Reports finds far too many of us are failing to take even the most basic steps to protecting our privacy and personal information.

Consumer Reports found nearly 10 percent of us do not use or are not even aware of Facebook's privacy settings.

Nearly 5 million of us have posted when we were away from home. - a big tip-off to burglars.

Another 4.5 million have liked or joined groups related to an illness or disease – a potential tip-off to insurers.  

Millions of others disclose religion, sexual orientation, and political affilitiations by groups they join or like.

Those reporting harassment, threats or other problems rose 30% from a year earlier.

Your profile picture will be seen by everyone on facebook. If you're concerned about you or your child's privacy do not show a face.

 

You probably don't want every friend seeing every post so: 

  • Divide your friends into groups based on your level of closeness.
  • You can choose which group sees your posts by clicking this button at the bottom of the status update. 

Here's how to check privacy settings for yourself or your kids.:

  • Go to the arrow next to home and click on it.
  • Then click on privacy settings.. Limit your exposure to just friends. If you are even more privacy sensitive, click custom and narrow the field further 
  • Remember if you choose to share information with friends of friends you're exposing yourself potentially to tens of thousands of strangers. 
  • Now go to the limit the audience for your past posts. It makes sure past posts can be seen only by friends, not the public.

    Go to the tagging tab. Click on edit settings. If Facebook recognizes what appears to be your face in someone else's picture it will suggest tagging it with your name. You can turn this off by selecting "no one"

  • Go to app settings. I was shocked how many apps, groups, and advertisers had access to my information.  Keep the essential ones by limiting what they can see.  Ditch the rest.
  • Ask yourself if Facebook is really that important to stay connected. If yes, have fun.
  • If not, delete your account. Even if you do, in many cases your info will stay in Facebook computers up to 90 days.