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Have you checked your privacy settings lately?

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Now that my main office is inside my house, I spend more time on Facebook than I used to when I was commuting to work 40 miles away. It’s become my water cooler in a lot of ways, the place I go to catch up with coworkers, vet story ideas, and chat about the latest news.

But Facebook seems to change in some tiny way or another every few weeks. Between trying to navigate a new timeline to figuring out whether you follow your friends and their status feeds, it’s easy to forget to check your privacy settings. And Facebook counts on that, to some extent.

It didn’t occur to me to check until I noticed, all of a sudden, that there were little messages in my newsfeed telling me what my friends were reading on Yahoo and the Washington Post. And when I checked I noticed that my privacy settings had changed pretty much across the board to give more websites and more people way more access than I wanted them to have.

If you can’t remember whether you’ve made your Facebook photos public or private, you probably haven’t noticed whether you’ve let other websites “check in” or whether people can see what you’ve posted on other social media sites like Twitter, Flickr or Instagram (think those last two are just for photos? Think again). And plenty of other people are in the same boat.

There’s an easy way to check and see how much access you’ve (inadvertently) given out. Go to and start clicking on the icons to see who and what people and places can do with your Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Instagram, Yahoo, Dropbox, Google, and Twitter accounts. You may be surprised.

Monitoring your online privacy settings is part and parcel of managing your online reputation and protecting yourself from ID theft. Have you double-checked your permissions lately?

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