Four easy ways to increase your privacy settings on Facebook

Since the social network’s creation in 2004, there seems to have been no end to the data hacks and privacy scandals on Facebook. Some of the most famous being the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2016, where 50 million Facebook profile’s were victims of a data breach, and in February 2019 when the Wall Street Journal revealed that highly personal information such as heart rate, menstrual cycle, and weight, is being shared to Facebook from third-party apps.

Whilst we may face an inability to determine how our data is handled by Facebook’s data sharing and privacy policies, we can protect our personal information from other social network users or malicious actors who might seek to gain from harvesting this data for themselves. Below we list four quick tips you can implement easily on your own Facebook desktop profile, in order to up your privacy settings when other users search for you.

One: Edit your ‘How people can find you on Facebook’ setting

This might seem an obvious solution to help protect your personal data, but many Facebook users don’t know how to update this setting to make your profile as secure as possible. 

To review this setting visit:

  • ‘Account’, which falls under an icon like a downwards arrow in the top right corner of your desktop. 
  • Click on ‘Settings and Privacy’ and then ‘Privacy Checkup’ 
  • Then click, ‘How people can find you on Facebook’

Once in the setting, up your privacy controls by only allowing ‘friends of friends’ to send you friend requests on Facebook, switching your setting to ‘Only me’ when Facebook asks you who should be able look you up by your phone number and email address, and toggle off the setting for your profile to be linked to search engines so people can find you more easily. 

Two: Double check your ‘Who can see what you share’ options

Again, this setting is relatively easy to update and can be found in the ‘Privacy Checkup’ section of your Facebook profile. If you’re unsure how to get here revisit tip one for more information. 

Inside this setting you’ll firstly be given the options to review who can see the information shared on your profile. Facebook gives you a wide variety of options as to who can see this data including; anyone, friends, only you, or to create a custom mix that includes ‘friends except…’ or ‘specific friends’. The most secure option here is to click ‘only me’ on all your data options. However, if you like the fact Facebook gives your friends a notification when it’s your birthday, you might want to leave this setting set to ‘friends’. 

Facebook will also let you modify who can see your friends list from your profile. Depending on how secure you want this to be, it is also worth updating this setting accordingly. You might not be worried about who can see your friends list but this might be different if you know your child has a profile on the site.

Next, you’ll be given the options to update who can see your future posts, stories, and past posts. Setting this to ‘friends’ is the best way to make sure your friends receive your updates but they are unavailable to be viewed by the public.

Three: Set up your reviewing options for tagged photos and posts

This is a great tip if you’re worried about employers or family members seeing updates on your profile that you may not approve of as it blocks your friends’ status and photos from being put on your profile unexpectedly. 

  • To find this setting click on ‘Account’, which falls under an icon like a downwards arrow in the top right corner of your desktop.
  • Go to ‘settings & privacy’ and then ‘Settings’
  • On the left hand side you’ll see a menu of options, here you’ll want to click on ‘profile and tagging’

The key here is to look at the ‘Reviewing’ section and toggle on the option to review any posts you’re tagged in before the post appears on your profile. 

Each time you’re tagged from then on, you’ll receive a notification asking you if you want the photo or status to be visible on your profile and who should have the permissions to view it. 

Four: Manage your Off-Facebook activity

Learning which companies have been sharing your usage data with Facebook can be a daunting prospect. Yet, in today’s digital world, with so many personalised adverts targeted at us, it’s also important to make sure you are happy with these privacy settings too.

Understanding and securing your advertising settings requires two steps.

First:

  • Go to your ‘Account’, which falls under an icon like a downwards arrow in the top right corner of your desktop.
  • Go to ‘settings & privacy’ and then ‘Privacy Checkup’ 
  • Click on ‘Your ad preferences on Facebook

While reviewing this setting, it is important to toggle off any information you believe Facebook should not be using to target you with adverts. This includes options like your place of employment, relationship status, and education. 

Second:

  • Go to your ‘Account’, setting again.
  • Click on ‘settings & privacy’ and then ‘Settings’
  • From the menu on the left hand side, click on ‘Your Facebook Information’ and then select ‘Off-Facebook activity’ 

Here you should now see a list of all the companies who have shared some of your usage data with Facebook. If seeing this makes you uncomfortable, the best thing to do is click on ‘Manage your off-Facebook activity’, which you’ll be able to see in the top right of the screen. Facebook will then ask you to type in your account password, and once the correct version has been uploaded you’ll be given the option to ‘Manage Future Activity’. 

Toggle off all ‘Future off-Facebook activity’. This should immediately prevent websites sharing data with Facebook, which according to Facebook, means ‘your experience may be less personalised and the ads that you see may be less relevant to you.’

Remember, you can always check how your profile looks to the public by going on your Facebook profile and clicking the icon that looks like an eye next to the ‘Edit Profile option. Will you be checking your Facebook privacy settings? Let us know in the comments section, and if you have any questions or other technology queries tweet @techtroublesho1.

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