SharingSocial media is all about sharing. What you’re doing, where you’re going, who you
are with and how you’re feeling. On Facebook, you can catch up with old friends,
keep up with your family and follow your favorite brands. But what’s public and
what’s kept private for your nearest and dearest? Here’s how to enjoy the best of
social sharing while staying in control of who can see what you’re up to.
Be Safe Online Baby Boomers’ Facebook Guide www.avg.com 2
o you’ve joined Facebook. You’re
reconnecting with old friends and
keeping up with your children,
grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Life’s
moments - from graduation parties,
weddings and new babies to your dream
trip to Bali - can be documented and
shared. Maybe Facebook delivers your
post-game reports, news analysis or just
cute pictures of puppies. Best of all it’s
You’re now part of a social network of
more than one billion users worldwide.
And that’s just on Facebook.
But how much do you really know about
the site and how it actually operates? If
you’re contemplating taking the plunge,
bear in mind that your name and face
might already be there - thanks to what
your family and friends have already
shared about their own lives.
Other Facebook users can post pictures
or videos of you or ‘tag’ you so that if
you do join, those pictures automatically
pop up in your timeline for all to see.
In other words, you may be on Facebook
even if you don’t have an account, so
it’s useful to know how to manage your
Even if you’ve been using Facebook
for years, it’s still a good idea to brush
up on the site’s key aspects and any
changes it has rolled out. Here’s how to
make the most of Facebook without the
IntroductionWhatever you think of Facebook, it’s a safe bet that social media is here to
stay. Whether you’ve been with Facebook since the beginning or you’re new to
timelines, tagging, friending and liking, we’ve got answers to make the world’s
biggest social network work for you.
Judy Bitterli is a Baby
Boomer and a Senior
Vice President at AVG.
She blogs about making
the most of life online at
aybe you don’t want a barely
remembered work colleague
from 20 years ago sending a
friend request. Maybe the idea of hearing
from an old flame, or your spouse’s high
school sweetheart, fills you with dread.
Your Facebook profile can be as accessible
or limited as you want, depending on how
you specify your privacy settings. Look for
the padlock icon on the top right corner
of any page to see whether those billion
other users can find you - or not. That
padlock is the go-to place for keeping
your private life private.
Likewise, you can filter who sees what
you post on your timeline. So if you don’t
want acquaintances to misinterpret
a remark that your close friends will
know is sarcastic, Facebook grants this
privilege. You can also filer what content
you want to see from friends’ posts.
If you’re tagged in a photo or comment
you’re unhappy with, simply click on the
tool at the upper-right corner of the post
or picture and delete. Or get a jump on
that possibility by tweaking your privacy
settings; check out ‘Who can see my
stuff’ under the padlock menu.
It’s also a good rule of thumb to think
carefully before posting anything on
your timeline. Do you really want to
state that you’re going on a month-long
cruise? Or that your retirement party will
be a free buffet at a local restaurant?
And don’t even think about blabbing
someone else’s news, especially if you
risk something as significant as beating
your daughter to posting pictures of her
The bottom line is, it’s always best to
stop and think twice before hitting ‘post.’
You could delete it later, but why risk it?
Be Safe Online Baby Boomers’ Facebook Guide www.avg.com 3
Circle of friendsOne of Facebook’s main selling points is the ability to reunite with long-lost
friends and acquaintances. But what about the people you were happy to
leave behind as life moved on? Fortunately Facebook is on top of it, and gives
you the tools to customize your profile.
You can edit or delete
a post, but the best
advice is to stop and
think twice before
clicking and sharing
what’s on your mind
art of the beauty of Facebook is the
ease and accessibility of sharing
pictures. But one consideration
when posting photographs is the
potential impact on others, be they of
Facebook friends, family members or
strangers in the background. Should
you have their permission? Would you
be happy for photos you appear in, even
if you were snapped strolling through
a park, to be seen by someone else’s
More complicated is navigating the
family photo question, and what digital
legacy you’re leaving for your children
and grandchildren. Even if you are
delighted by the cute picture of your
toddler grandchildren covered in bubble
bath, will they thank you years down
the line? Might future employers or
university admissions officers take a dim
view of your underage nephew toasting
the camera with a Coors?
Tread carefully when sharing images,
even if they are of close family members
with whom you have a good relationship.
Try to put yourself in their position. If
nothing else, it’s a chance to open a
dialogue with your teenage or adult
children, not least because they may not
be aware of what Facebook’s fineprint
says in regards to images.
Also, are you aware there’s data
embedded in smartphone photos?
Sometimes the geographic coordinates
are stored, which shows the location
where the photo was shot. Facebook
and some photo-sharing sites strip that
data from the images they display, but
what actually happens to it? A quick trawl
through the popular photo-sharing site
Flickr demonstrates just how easy it is to
track down exactly where each photo was
taken, which can be a little shocking if you
don’t know what you’ve signed up for.
Be Safe Online Baby Boomers’ Facebook Guide
Point and shootOur personal information is more easily accessible than ever before, and while
social networks have exploded over the past few years, the debate over personal
rights hasn’t kept up.
For privacy settings,
see the padlock
icon at the top right
of any Facebook
page. Then click on
‘See More Settings’
to block ‘friends’,
review posts and
photos you’re tagged
in or make other
Be Safe Online Baby Boomers’ Facebook Guide www.avg.com 5
Tag! You’re it
s it happens, any photos or
videos you upload can be reused
by Facebook, as spelled out in its
14,000-word terms of service - yes, the
small print. It’s worth looking at https://
Chances are you didn’t read it all when
you signed up, so here it is in a nutshell:
you’ve agreed to “grant us a non-
exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable,
royalty-free, worldwide license to use
any Intellectual Property content that
you post on or in connection with
That means everything from your profile
picture to the video of your grandson’s
clumsy first steps is available for
Facebook to use as it wishes.
Nor does Facebook relinquish these
rights if other users pick up things you’ve
posted. You may believe you’re sharing
information just with your friends, but
they are able to pass along that material
to others and so the chain goes on.
When posting an image, for example,
always consider that it could be seen by
a complete stranger and then ask
yourself if that’s something you’re
On a similar note, you might choose to
tag a picture’s general location, happy for
everyone to see the classic Corvette now
sitting in your driveway. You probably
have a pretty good idea that none of
your Facebook friends moonlights as car
thieves, and that no one else will get a
hold of that information.
Unless, of course, your friends are
viewing your picture in public, such as
on a tablet on the bus or on a computer
in a library. It’s still unlikely any bus-
traveling or library-using car thieves
might spy that your beloved hot rod
resides near Chevy Chase, Maryland.
But it might be enough to give you
pause for thought.
OK, so you’re comfortable that everyone concerned is happy to have their images
beamed among your chosen group of friends... and their network of friends and
so on. But now what?
Be Safe Online Baby Boomers’ Facebook Guide www.avg.com 6
Proportion who’ve attained:Proportion of all: Proportion of all living in:
Proportion of all: Proportion of all earning:
Some College 73%
18-19 year-olds 86%
30-49 year-olds 73%
50-64 year-olds 57%
65+ year-olds 35%
Less than $30k 68%
$30k - $49,999 62%
$50k - $74,999 69%
High school grad or less Cities 72%
Rural areas 63%
What’s Facebook like as a neighborhood? What proportion of American women
and men are members? What percentage of people with a college degree will you
find there? Are you likely to find your peers, your kids or grandkids?
ou don’t need to go as far as
‘liking’ or sharing something for
Facebook to assume it will suit
your interests, based on your profile or
keywords in your posts. Facebook calls
it “personalizing your experience.” You
might call it having your age, hometown,
personal views or other information
mined by Facebook for the benefit of its
advertising partners. Hey, you signed up
Facebook puts it this way: “If you
indicate that you are interested in topics
such as products, brands, religion,
health status, or political views, you
may see ads related to those topics as
well.” Facebook insists that it strips any
information that “personally identifies
you” to its advertisers.
Before you panic, there are ways
of managing how much Facebook
capitalizes on you, just as there are
ways of weeding out who can find or
‘friend’ you. We’ll come back to that
second point, but a good place to start
is Facebook’s own advertising page,
Or just search the internet for the latest
articles or rants, some of which will
provide easy, step-by-step instructions
for minimizing how much Facebook
may be exploiting information you’ve
Don’t forget to click on the padlock icon
at the top right side of the page - next
to the cog icon - to take you to privacy
settings. These are fairly bare-bones, but
if you click on ‘See More Settings’ you’re
greeted with lots of options, including
the ability to block ‘friends’ and to review
posts and photos that friends tag you in
before they appear on your timeline.
Pay with dataHave you ever wondered how Facebook operates without charging its users? Well,
in a way it is profiting from you. For one thing, every time you ‘like’ a product or
view a company’s page, Facebook knows. And it doesn’t forget. In fact, it uses this
information to show you targeted ads.
Be Safe Online Baby Boomers’ Facebook Guide www.avg.com 7
It’s not just a weird
coincidence that if
you’re single, your page
is covered in ads for
Microblogging site where users ‘tweet’ images or messages
of 140 characters or fewer, or simply ‘follow’ or ‘re-tweet’ the
content of other users.
Social networking with a business, professional or career focus.
More than 225 million users worldwide.
Popular photo-sharing site that enables users to build a
portfolio of images for others to view or follow.
Theme-based collections of images ‘pinned’ on a virtual mood
board and shared with or by followers.
Referred to as a social bookmarking site. Reddit hit the
headlines when President Obama took part in a 30-minute
Q&A ahead of the 2012 election.
Video-sharing website where users can generate original
content or upload and share clips from television shows, films,
music videos and more.
Be Safe Online Baby Boomers’ Facebook Guide www.avg.com 8
Use it wisely and the way you want to, and you’ll enjoy being
part of a billion-strong community.
Learn more about internet security at www.avg.com
Join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/AVGFree
On the whole Facebook is a revelation, an exciting, fluid, communal wonder of
the internet age. It’s user-friendly and can be life-enriching or even life-saving:
gone are the days of smiling through hours of your friends’ vacation slideshows
now that you can simply scroll past their endless photos. But as with all new
things, Facebook should be approached with a grain of caution.