Facebook rules to live by

Facebook etiquette guide to prevent fall-outs with friends, embarrassing ordeals as you surf the social minefield.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  September 25, 2007

As a team of tech-head ‘power users', we not only spend our months fiddling with motherboards and overclocking any other components we can find, but we constantly trawl - some might say abuse - the internet. So as you might imagine, when Facebook (FB) went ‘live' to the general populous this time last year, we were there with proverbial bells on. And those bells have been clanging ever since.

As such we've had a full twelve months to work out what's ‘done' and ‘not done' when using the site, in other words how to go about using it - playing games, making new friends, hooking up with long lost chums etc. - without alienating these mates or scaring strangers. Plus of course we've fiddled with pretty much all the available FB apps.

This, we feel, puts us in a good position to offer advice on using the site, which should help you ‘Facebook' (yes, it's a verb now) sensibly - ie without peeving your best buddy , or getting the sack, or losing the last remnants of your social life.

Our comprehensive guide - entitled Facebook Dos & Don'ts - will hit newsagents next week as the cover feature in our next issue, but hey we figured that's no reason not to begin your education now. So here are two choice picks from that article, plus some juicy FB apps we reckon you'd be a fool not to check out. If you have your own, hit us on windows@itp.com.

DO know your limit

If you're planning to allow work or school colleagues and acquaintances (that are not close friends) to link to you on FB, then DO make use of the site's Limited Profile' feature.

Say your boss has added you to his/her friends list for instance (we'll call him ‘D' for the sake of argument here). Whilst the chances are that you don't want to peeve D by ignoring his friend request, if you give D full access to your FB updates then he might soon work out - via your FB status for instance - that you're writing to your mum when you should be finishing that urgent report. Not good.

Accepting D as a friend but giving him access to only your Limited Profile however means that he'll only see a tailored, cut-down version of your online information. And in case you're wondering, when you set your boss up with your limited profile, he won't know this, which helps - so whether you add D as a ‘full' friend or a limited friend, only you will know.

Once you've added D as a friend, head to FB's Privacy page and click Limited Profile. Put D's name in the box to limit his viewing to what you want, then hit the Edit Settings link to determine this available information.

DON'T do data

As with anything online, DON'T give out your personal data. Your birthday is about as far as you should go on this front.

Why? Well adding your mobile number could easily lead to spam SMS messages, whilst your e-mail published online will be grabbed by spiders and the amount of spam you receive will increase. There's also the problem of ID theft. This so-called ‘white collar crime' is on the increase around the world. Think of it this way. Your name and date of birth are relatively easily available on Facebook, which in many cases means a crim therefore also has your ATM/bank pin code.


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