A Facebook account is a repository of personal information. It contains masses of everything, from where you studied and your favorite films and music, to friends, contacts, and photos. If a scammer were to get hold of all this, they could very convincingly
impersonate you in the online eyes of others, or deceive you, knowing your weaknesses. And if your boss were to read it... perhaps that’s not a cozy prospect either. Basically, Facebook protection and privacy should be given top priority.
The privacy settings in the Facebook mobile app and the web version are slightly different, but the options themselves are the same. Therefore, we will not describe where the settings are located, especially since Facebook is forever moving things
around. It’s sufficient to learn the general rules, after which keeping Facebook data secure will be a breeze!
First, enable two-factor authentication to make it harder to hijack your account. There is one snag here: Facebook allows advertisers to target users by the phone number they provide, so it’s better to have a second number for this purpose.
Next, do not friend any random person. Flesh-and-blood friends can be allowed to see more, while strangers trying to get into your friends list should be kept at arm’s length. Someone you don’t immediately recall sends you a friend request? Ask who
they are and what they want. If the explanation sounds reasonable, add them; if not, don’t feel guilty for rejecting the request.
Change the settings so that all personal information in your profile is available only to you or a trusted circle of people. Sure, that way you won’t get drowned in congratulations from strangers on your birthday. But privacy demands sacrifice! Meanwhile,
if one of your online friends needs to contact you by phone, they can ask for your number in a private message.
To hide future posts from prying eyes, configure who exactly is allowed see them. Facebook offers various options: from Everyone to Only Me.
The latter option is not as pointless as it might seem at first glance. The fact is that Facebook allows you to set a default visibility for all posts, and for each individually. But if you forget to configure a specific post, it’s better if a close
friend doesn’t see it than a potential scammer does, right?
You can also restrict the visibility of all old messages. True, here there are fewer options — they can be made visible to either everyone or just friends. If this is no good, you will have to manually change the settings for each post.
Searching your contacts
Suppose an attacker somehow got your email address or phone number. Unless you change your Facebook settings, this person can find you with them. Knowing more about you, they will then be able to lie more convincingly to you or your friends. (Why
would they lie? See the next lesson about phishing!)
We advise you to either limit the circle of people who can find you by phone number or email address, or select the Only Me option so that no one else can match your contact details to your profile. And while you’re at it, hide your account from search
Tell me who your friends are, and... If an attacker gets information about your circle of contacts, they will be able to use it for their own purposes. For example, they could ask you for something pretending to be one of them.
To prevent this from happening, you can block strangers from viewing your friends list. Incidentally, this is handy not only for you, but your friends too.
Enable the option to control what others post on your timeline. Then posts will not appear without your approval or be seen by people you’d rather they weren’t — from your grandmother to burglars.
Photos with you tagged
Photo tagging is part of the Facebook experience, but there are probably some photos you would prefer not to be tagged in. Maybe it’s literally a bad hair day, or you’re doing something a tad embarrassing. If so, you can configure it so that photos
with you tagged appear on your timeline only with your approval. You will receive a notification about the tag, but whether the photo gets posted on your page is up to you. It is possible to remove the tag from each individual photo, but to delete
the shot itself, you need to contact the guy who posted it.
What’s more, Facebook itself can identify you in photos (for example, to notify you that someone posted an untagged photo of you). If you feel this feature threatens your privacy, disable it.
On a mobile device, Facebook will ask permission to access your location data. If you agree, your movements will be tracked and recorded in a special log. Plus the web version of the social network regularly nudges you to reveal where you are.
Sounds dodgy? Then block the mobile app’s access to location data, and don’t geotag unless absolutely necessary!
Which of the following helps protect your personal data on Facebook?