Do not disturb

I’ve been using the internet for about a decade and a half. But until about three years ago, I didn’t know the importance of privacy and why it even existed. Sure, I had my own theories. I naively thought the reason that privacy mattered really was the people’s–quite understandable–disposition of keeping things like relationships, intimate photos/videos hidden from their parents, siblings and/or friends.

Later, I came to know it was more perplexing than that. Evil people roamed around the internet, seeking opportunity to steal and misuse the personal stuff of gullible internet users. And since it was much easier to keep your identity secret online and to escape punishment, acts like data theft were fairly frequent and, indeed, common.

Eventually, I souped up my privacy settings on Facebook. It wasn’t simple. I had made many friends who I knew only from Facebook. And most of them were indispensable–I’d had many meaningful and enjoyable debates/repartees with them over the years on Facebook groups, pages and profiles. I didn’t want to lose them.

And there emerged a dilemma. I wanted to keep my online friends, yet I didn’t want them to see my personal photos and videos. It’s not that I didn’t trust them–most of them were really good people–but I couldn’t take chances; not when my personal data were at stake.

So I made use of the Lists feature on Facebook. I categorised my friends into different Lists like–Friends, Family, Online Friends, Real Friends, and so on.

This new feature made my online life hassle-free… or as close to hassle-free someone’s online life could be. For instance, if I wanted to share a photo of my parents or my sisters or my girlfriend or some relative, I could just share it in the Family list or the Real Friends list. And if there was something I wanted to share that I didn’t want my family members or relatives to see, I could just exclude the Family list by tinkering with my privacy settings.

Are you aware of the risks which arise if you post your private stuff online? If yes, what do you do about that? How do you manage your privacy settings on Facebook?

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