It’s not a secret that having a Facebook account isn’t great for your privacy. The entire world has access to every little detail of your life (or as much as you decide to share), and anyone who is a little curious about you can gather the tidbits and form a nice database he or she can use against you.
Facebook provides an easy avenue for anyone to monitor you if he or she wanted. From burglars keeping tabs on their victims before breaking into their homes, to fake profiles to lure you into divulging sensitive information and hack into your online accounts, or simply legitimate apps that gather enormous amounts data on your behavior, there’s many out there waiting to take advantage of social media platforms like Facebook to get to you.
Here’s where the often-forgotten Facebook Privacy Settings come into play. While there are many security settings provided by Facebook to keep you safe, it’s also your responsibility to activate these settings. This is something most of us don’t even care to set up or aren’t even aware of.
Below we’ve outlined four critical Facebook security settings anyone who cares about privacy should quickly check and set immediately. As you read this, open your Facebook account and make the changes.
1. App Settings
The Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2016 made it very obvious how easy it is for anyone to peek into your personal life with Facebook. The scandal resulted in the theft of data from more than 50 million users just by using a simple quiz app. Users who signed up for this quiz connected their Facebook accounts to the app. By doing so, they gave the app permission to read and monitor their activities, as well as those of their friends.
Every time you sign up on a website through Facebook, you are giving that app permission to access your account. With this permission, it can access a lot of your and your friends’ information.
Make sure you review this permission from time to time. Go to settings>apps>logged in with Facebook. There, you’ll see a list of all the apps that have access to your account. Choose the app and then the edit button to change the information it can access.
You can deselect some sensitive information if you still want to use the app or choose the “remove app” button to get unlinked.
2. Ad Settings
The ad settings let you choose how Facebook uses your information to show targeted ads. All too often, websites you search regularly will share your “searches” with Facebook, which will, in turn, use the information to show targeted ads based on the information it received from the website.
To adjust this, click on settings>ads. Set “Ads based on my use of websites and apps” to “No.” This will prevent other websites from sharing your information with Facebook and from sharing them with other websites. You may want to set “Ads with my social actions“ to “No one.” This way your friends won’t see your name.
3. Privacy Settings
This setting control allows you to choose who will be able to see the things you post. Go to settings>privacy. You may want to change the “Who can see my stuff?” to “Friends” and change the “Limit past post” to “Limit old post.” This automatically changes who can see your old posts from “Public” to “Friends.”
You may also want to edit the “Who can contact me” privacy settings. Change it to “Friends of friends.” This way, only people you are familiar with can contact you. Change “Who can look me up?” to “Friends.” By doing this, unauthorized people won’t be able to check your profile by searching for your name, phone number or e-mail address.
4. Timeline and Tagging Settings
Timeline settings have a few loopholes that aren’t great for your privacy. All your friends can post, and all posts will appear by default. You may want to control this and review the posts.
For “Who can add things to my timeline?,” you should change it to “Friends.” Or, if you want more control, you can change it to “Only me.” This way, only things you post will show up.
If you change “Who can add things to my timeline?” to “Friends,” you may want to review what your friends post before it appears on your page. Click “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” and change it to “On.”
Change the “Who can see what others post on your timeline?” to “Friends of friends.” Or if you want to be extra cautious, change it to “Friends.”
You should also manage how people tag you with pictures and posts. Choose “How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?” and set tagging to “On”; then, “Only me”; and, then, “No one.” This simple setting keeps everything you’re in visible to only you, and your name won’t appear on the tag to other people.