By Scott Baughman

Summer is right around the corner and you’re daydreaming about chilling at the beach, skiing across some epic wake in the lake and chowing down on some good eats at the local diner, drive-in or dive bar. But what’s the BEST part about those summer experiences and memories? Why, sharing them on your social media feeds, of course!

I’m talking Instagram season, getting Twitter-pated and certainly last but not least, updating your Facebook page! But wait, you say, Facebook has recently been the topic of some not-so-great privacy violations, fake news, and scams galore. Aren’t I supposed to be in an uproar over the Social Network? I mean, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg even had to testify before Congress about all this. Surely, I can’t use the site anymore, can I?

Fear not, dear reader, I’m here with some tips (as per usual) to get your Facebook page shipshape and ready for you to use without fear.

So let’s get started – first of all, if you decided to customize ALL of the Facebook security settings yourself, manually, you’d have to go through 40 individual entries! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to go through all of those. For starters, I don’t have enough space. And even I would get bored doing that much computer stuff.

The first thing you should do is make sure you know what your Facebook profile looks like to everyone else. Head to the little gear in the top-right corner of your page and select Privacy Settings, then select Timeline and Tagging in the left pane. Now, click on “View As” and then close the pop-up window to see your timeline the way the rest of the world does. Want to change how this looks? Go back to the Timeline and Tagging settings and you can edit “Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline?” and then also “Who can see what others post on your timeline?” if you want to alter who can see what.

The second step is to make sure you’re browsing securely. Facebook made this the default mode for everyone a few months ago, but some folks still haven’t switched over. To turn this on, click Security in the left pane of Facebook’s Account Settings. With this on, you’ll use a secure connection whenever one is available – decreasing the likelihood that anyone can intercept your data. You can also use this section to remove any unauthorized devices that are connected to your Facebook page like old phones you forgot you authorized years ago or any other nefarious connections you DIDN’T know where authorized.

Third, make sure you limit access to yourself and your Facebook stuff. If you go into the Privacy settings in the left hand pane of Account Settings, you can choose the option to Limit Past Posts under the “Who can see my posts?” section. Also – in a bit of temporal trickery – you can even edit “Who can see your future posts?” in the same section. However, you’ll need to be precise. A warning message will appear if you try to alter the settings for all posts at once. You can also restrict who’s allowed to contact you by phone or email.

And my fourth and final tip for taming Facebook is to keep your apps from running the show for you. Sometimes a Facebook app will grab all kinds of permissions without you quite realizing exactly what you agreed to when you downloaded or installed that app. These little buggers will gain the ability to access all your personal information, and post photos or status updates “on your behalf”.  Now, this all STARTED innocently enough by apps using the feature to automatically post your high score on Angry Birds or Candy Crush. I mean, who doesn’t want to brag to their friends – and even better do it automatically? But these days you can have apps that have total control over your complete profile and friends list! Yikes! To review your app settings and permissions, click “Apps” in the left hand pane of the Account Settings window and choose “Edit” to the right of the app’s entry. From here you can change the app’s visibility via the drop-down menu or click “Remove App” at the bottom of the entry to get rid of it altogether. Also, if you find a particularly abusive app, click the “Report App to Facebook” option to let Zuckerberg and the boys know about it.

And there you have it, the ability to tame the Social Network so that you can once again spend your spare time online posting about that epic burger you just ate, that awesome air you just grabbed while water skiing or those cute cat videos!

Until next time, download complete!