Guide to Privacy with Facebook Video Calling

A recent partnership between Facebook and Skype enables anyone on Facebook to call their friends through Facebook using Facebook video calling, also referred to as ‘video chat’.

Video chat, like Facebook chat, can only be used between confirmed Facebook friends.  For individuals concerned about their privacy, or those with far too many Facebook acquaintances, these privacy tips can help keep video chat limited to people you know and want to speak to face-to-face:

1.  Create Friend Lists for Video Chat. Group trusted friends and family members into a separate friends list from acquaintances, work buddies, or people you don't remember. Friend lists have privacy configuration options, including the ability to allow video chat requests only from certain lists. If you don’t want certain friends video chatting with you, create a friend list that includes the people you want to block from video chat.

  1. Click the settings icon in the right corner of the chat list.
  2. Select “Edit Availability...”
  3. Check the box next to the friend list you’d like to appear unavailable to and click “Close”. You will no longer appear online to these friends.

2.  Temporarily Go Offline. If you want to make yourself temporarily unavailable for Facebook video chat, simply click on the Chat bar at the bottom right of the screen, select Options, then click Go Offline. This will make you unavailable for both instant messages and video conferencing, a must when you only have a few minutes and don't want to be drawn into a long conversation about your favorite television show.

3.  “Ignore” or Remain Offline Permanently. If you find yourself frequently interrupted by chat requests from friends you don’t want to talk to, you can simply ‘Ignore’ the call as suggested by Facebook, or better yet stay offline permanently and do not allow anyone to initiate a chat session with you.

4.  Clean Up Your Friend List. It's a good idea to review your friends list on a regular basis and delete the individuals that you do not know, a process known as ‘unfriending’.  To stop someone from contacting you, you can also block the person from interacting with you in any way on Facebook.

5.  Beware of Video Chat Scams. Beware of Facebook video chat scams from people you don’t know asking you for money or assistance for a cause. Report the abuse to Facebook immediately, and delete the offender from your friends list. If the request is coming from a friend you do know, but it looks suspicious, email or call your friend directly to report the incident, as your friend's Facebook account may have been hacked.

For more information on how to use Facebook video calling, read Video calling: Basics on Facebook.


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