Best practices for (re-)setting up a facebook account?
July 25, 2015 12:47 PM   Subscribe

The last time I used facebook was five years ago. I 'deleted' that account back then. Now, I would like to set up a fresh facebook account, completely unrelated to that old one. What are the best privacy practices and settings in this day and age of facebook?

For examples, I presume using a new email address that I create for only this reason will be good. I intend to not install the app on my phone. I don't want to share my contacts to find friends. Beyond that I don't know what I am getting into...

Do I have to use a full rendition of my real name?
What are the privacy settings I need to change immediately?
Can I make myself invisible to others without an invite to be my friend?
Should I open it in a different browser?
What are the things I don't even know to ask about?

I just want to connect to a few close friends and family. I want to keep it small, simple, secure and pigeon-holed.
posted by zyxwvut to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Don't give them your phone number. I know someone that has said for years that she doesn't have Facebook and has never had an account, yet she comes up as a suggested friend reasonably regularly. Her profile photos are evidence that she's a current user. (Not awkward at all!)
posted by taff at 3:24 PM on July 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

It's their official policy that you have to use your real name. I have two low-profile accounts with a limited number of people on each and the maximum privacy settings. I use fake names on both - nicknames that my friends recognize, but can't be searched by other users. I guess if they ever find out that these are fake names, they'll make me change it or ban me, but it seems unlikely FB will ever notice this. So you can probably get away with it if you are willing to violate their rules. I always obey rules on a site with reasonable rules like Metafilter, but I hate FB and think this rule is unreasonable.

Anything you do on FB can be shown at random to anyone on your friends list. If you like something, leave a comment, add a friend, post to a community, or pretty much anything else you do can be shared with everyone. This leads to endless annoyances and awkwardness. This is why I have two accounts - one for people who know me better, and one for people whom I prefer not to know everything about me.

Also they are notorious for changing their privacy settings and making previously private things public.
posted by Cinnamon Bear at 3:40 PM on July 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

If you want to make it hard for people to find you, sign up with an e-mail address that you haven't given to anyone else. Sign up for a new e-mail address if necessary. If you sign up with an address that other people have in their address books, it is likely that FB already has a record of it and will start suggesting you as friends to those people.

Mrs. mmascolino is a teacher and initially signed up with her well known address and was almost immediately swamped with requests from former/current parents and students. She didn't like that at all for obvious reasons. After signing up with a clean "burner" e-mail address, this hasn't been a problem.
posted by mmascolino at 5:40 PM on July 25, 2015

If you don't want to sign up with your first and last name, make sure you're happy with what you pick, and that it's not something super fake sounding. Facebook is suspending my friends' accounts left and right until they switch to their legal names, and when I recently changed my name, it took multiple appeals and a scanned drivers license, name change amendment, and bank statement to change it.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:17 PM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can set your privacy settings to the point where the only people who will friend you on facebook are the people to whom you send a friend request to first. The only people who can find me on Facebook are those who are already friends of mine or who are friends of friends. But no one can add me as a friend. That option is not available to anyone. They can only send me a message.

If you go into settings you can make your account unsearchable. I have my account set to be unsearchable. That means if someone searches for my name on Facebook, or Google, or any search engine, they will not find my Facebook account (unless they're already Facebook friends with me).

Also, set your posts to "friends only" or "friends of friends" so that you're not posting publicly. And set your pictures to "friends only" too so that no one can "share" them with other people (unless they copy them and then share them -- nothing is completely private on the internet).

I would go into details on how to do all of this, but my language setting in Facebook is set to "Pirate" and has been for many years now. So I couldn't tell you where to go and what to click to do this -- Adjust ye riggin's is what mine says -- but it's all in the settings and relatively easy to do. If I could figure out the Pirate, I'm sure that the regular English will be a cake walk.
posted by patheral at 11:06 PM on July 25, 2015

Use that email only from a clean browser with NOTHING else on it, ideally from a separate account on your computer.

If you want to be super gnarly, set up a VPN that you only use facebook for.
posted by lalochezia at 8:00 AM on July 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

My Facebook account, created with a burner email, is not under my real name and nobody I know in real life knows it.
posted by Kwadeng at 12:13 AM on August 12, 2015

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