7 Ways To Protect Your Data On Facebook
How do you protect yourself on social media?
It seems that there’s nothing you can’t do online—connect with friends, read the news, watch movies, shop and even work. But as with all good things, there are disadvantages that come with the power of the Internet.
One particular problem recently came to light when it was revealed that the data of 87 million Facebook users were allegedly harvested through a quiz app called “thisisyourdigitallife.” It was created with Facebook’s Open Graph API by Cambridge Professor Aleksandr Kogan and his company, Global Science Research.
As the unconfirmed story goes, the data was analyzed and used by British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, who then handed this over to the Donald Trump campaign team. With this data, anti-Hillary Clinton Facebook ads were created. Reportedly, it also helped predict and influence votes in the US Presidential Elections.
This incident made Facebook users paranoid for the security of the information they share online. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can help assure the confidentiality of the personal details that you don’t want accessed.
Adjust your app settings
The alleged breach was done via the Facebook app, which means limiting use of the platform is the best way to go. However, that’s almost impossible.
So instead, go to Account Settings on your phone and then App Settings. There, all the apps you’ve used and the information you have shared are stored. You can choose to disable the sharing of information or completely disconnect the app from your account.
If you choose to and have the willpower for it, you can completely disable the Facebook app from your smartphone—but this definitely has its own set of drawbacks.
For one, you won’t be able to log into websites, applications or mobile games through Facebook anymore. This means that friends won’t be able to interact and share tidbits with you using the app and instant personalization will be turned off.
In addition, there’s no actual guarantee that the apps you’ve already installed will delete your information. The only confirmation is that the apps you’ve logged into will be removed. To do this, go to your App Settings, then edit Apps, Websites and Plugins.
Access and download your data
There’s a new option now called Access Your Information, which allows you to see posts, reactions, comments and searches from your Timeline or Profile. From there, you can decide whether to keep or delete any activities.
Facebook also allows you to download your data, which are sorted into categories. The Download Your Data link is found under General Account Settings.
Adjust privacy settings
Nowadays, you don’t have to dig through the entire App Settings tab to find Privacy Settings, which makes it so much easier to control personal information, advertisement information, profile privacy and the like. Just go to Account Settings and you’ll see several options:
1. Under Privacy, you can check who can see your future posts
2. Under Timeline and Tagging, you can change who can post onto your Timeline and who can see them, as well as whether you want to review posts that you’re tagged in
3. Under Blocking, you can indicate which apps and app requests you can block
4. Under Ads, you can see how Facebook categorizes you to advertisers, which advertisers you’ve already interacted with and which ad topics you want to be hidden
You can also run a Privacy Checkup to see the default privacy settings of your posts, the apps you’ve logged into using Facebook, the accuracy of your profile and who can look at your information.
Security and Login
In Security and Login, you can see the locations that your account was accessed in and the devices that were used. If one seems unfamiliar, delete it to be sure. You can also change other security settings like your password, logging in with a profile photo, two-factor authentication, encrypted email notifications and more.
Mobile app permissions
If you’re accessing Facebook through a mobile device, take a look at the default mobile app permissions. Particularly keep an eye out for storage access, camera, microphone recording, phone status, approximate location (network-based) and precise location (GPS and network-based).
Go all out and delete the account
Of course, you’re also free to delete your Facebook account entirely. There’s no way to easily access account deletion, but you can look it up under Facebook Help. The entire process usually takes 90 days.
There’s a Let Us Know button that will take you to the Account Deletion screen. Click on “Delete my Account” and fill in the password portion. After that, there’s a two-week wait after your confirmation and another 90-day deletion process before it can be completed.
If you’re hesitant about deleting your whole Facebook existence though, you can choose to Deactivate it instead. Your account will remain active, but your information and all your activities will remain on Facebook—they just won’t be accessible.
The best way to avoid falling victim to data breaches and other online security threats is to be wary of what you put online. You have the freedom to do whatever you like with your account, but with internet security and privacy issues still rampant, it’s better to be safe than sorry.