<p> For millions of people, Facebook is the Internet. Its apps, games, instant-messaging abilities and constant postings take care of all their needs.</p> <p> Yet many Facebook fanatics fail to realize how much <a href="">information about themselves</a> they&#39;re giving away, and how easily unscrupulous app makers and identity thieves could exploit that data.</p> <p> Here are 11 things you should do (or not do) to protect your privacy on Facebook.</p>

Don&#39;t share identifying information about yourself, such as your address, date of birth or telephone number, on your profile pages.

<p> Users who insist on sharing some of their personal information should be sure to at least make their pages private so that only people they trust can see them.</p> <p> &quot;Facebook privacy settings have multiple layers in them,&quot; said Steve Schwartz of Intersections Inc., a provider of consumer and corporate identity risk-management services based in Chantilly, Va. &nbsp;&quot;You really have to go into the depths of Facebook to ensure that you&#39;ve set it up so only people that you know and <a href="">have accepted as friends</a> are allowed to access your information.&quot;</p> <p> Tim Armstrong, a Boston-based malware researcher at the Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs, agrees.</p> <p> &quot;The first thing everybody should do is visit the privacy settings,&quot; Armstrong said. &quot;There&#39;s an awful lot of customizability in there that people don&#39;t take advantage of. You should really look at your account settings and your privacy settings and go through every single one.</p> <p> &quot;You can control how <a href="">apps</a> connect to your Facebook account and whether or not they can post things on your wall,&quot; Armstrong said. &quot;You can set it up so if someone tags you on something, you have to approve it before it posts. That&#39;s the No. 1thing &mdash; just going through all the settings and seeing if they fit what you&#39;re doing.&quot;</p>

Be wary of messages, wall posts or Tweets from anyone &mdash; even friends.

<p> Scammers might hack your friends&#39; accounts and send enticing links that could lead you to an innocent-looking page, but could transmit <a href="">harmful malware to your computer</a> and allow the criminal access to your data, Schwartz said.</p> <p> &quot;If a post from a friend looks odd, maybe you want to contact that person and ask, &#39;Did you just do this?&#39;&quot; Schwartz said.</p>

If your child participates on Facebook, talk to him or her about identity theft in the same way you would talk about drugs or safe driving.

<p> &quot;Be sure they understand what privacy means,&quot; Schwartz said. &quot;Especially with <a href="">child identity theft</a> on the rise, it&#39;s really important that parents make sure that if they&#39;re setting up Facebook accounts for kids, they make it as private as possible.&quot;</p>

Social-media users looking for fraud protection need to have robust passwords.

<p> &quot;Use capitals, numbers, and, if possible, symbols, in <a href="">passwords</a> to make them harder to crack,&quot; Schwartz said.</p>

If you must access your Facebook account from a remote location, be sure your browsing session is secure.

<p> &quot;If you&#39;re on another machine, you want to be sure there are no cookies being saved and that there&#39;s no way for the information to be kept on the machine,&quot; Schwartz said. &quot;If you&#39;re in an Internet caf&eacute; or a place where there&#39;s free Wi-Fi, Facebook offers HTTPS, so you can always go in through a <a href="">secure browser session</a>.&quot;</p>

Keep your browser, operating system and anti-virus software up to date.

<p> &quot;When your anti-virus software tells you it needs to <a href="">update its definitions</a>, you have to do that,&quot; Schwartz said. &quot;Be sure you have anti-spam software and anti-malware software, so that if someone does try to attack your computer through social media, you have something on your machine that can catch it and shut it down.&quot;</p>

Make your social circle more selective.

<p> Be selective about who you have in your network.&nbsp;</p> <p> &quot;Only accept <a href="">friend requests</a> if you&#39;re confident they are genuine,&quot; Schwartz said.&nbsp;</p>

Do not broadcast personal information about travel plans.

<p> &quot;Thieves could be patrolling your social network and use that information as an opportunity to <a href="">target your home</a> while you&rsquo;re away,&quot; Schwartz said.</p>

Never share your password with anyone &mdash; even your friends or family.

<p> Not all relationships end up happily ever after, and once you start <a href="">sharing passwords</a> with friends, they can tap into basically anything you have that&#39;s private to you, according to Schwartz.&nbsp;</p>

Change your password often.

<p> &quot;While it may be tempting to just use the same password because it&#39;s easy to remember, <a href="">changing your password</a> at least once a month can help minimize the risk that somebody can use your password to access your account,&quot; Schwartz said.</p>

Consider removing apps that you&#39;re no longer using.

<p> &quot;We all love Farmville as much as the next person, but why give third-party developers and advertisers access to your profile if you don&#39;t have to?&quot; Schwartz asked.</p> <p> &quot;Throughout its history, Facebook has collected a lot more personal information,&quot; said Sarah Downey, an attorney and privacy analyst at Boston-based online-privacy provider Abine. &quot;If you track the kinds of information that was public by default back when Facebook launched in 2004, things were mostly private by default.</p> <p> &quot;But Facebook has now taken the stance that you want to <a href="">share everything by default</a>. So it all comes down to:&nbsp; If you&#39;re on Facebook, you are the product, not the customer.&quot;</p>

11 Facebook Privacy Steps to Take Now