Primer on Facebook Privacy Settings

Primer on Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook has come under some very harsh criticism after reports that a company called Cambridge Analytica gained access to the private information of more than 50 million Facebook profiles which it analyzed and used to develop strategies during the Trump campaign in 2016. For those concerned about their private information, there is still a number of actions to take to secure your Facebook data and limit the access the social network and others have to it.

Use two-factor authentication

Turn this feature on and Facebook will require a verification code whenever your account is accessed from an unverified location, computer, browser, or phone. Facebook sends the code to an email or mobile number you have designated and you need to enter the code, along with your usual login credentials, to gain access to the account. It adds a layer of protection against unauthorized access. To activate this feature using a laptop, go to Facebook’s Account Settings menu, select Security and Login, tap “Use two-factor authentication,” and click on the Set Up link.

Disable Location Services

By default, Facebook gathers location data and uses it for status updates and photo uploads. You can turn off location services from within the app or from a phone’s own settings. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Facebook and choose the Never option. Android users can go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > App Permissions > Location Permissions > Facebook, and slide the bar to the Off position.

Limit third-party data collection. All mobile apps, plug-ins, games and websites that you linked to your account via Facebook Login gather info on you. For a complete list, visit the Apps section in Facebook’s Settings menu. To limit data collection, you can turn off Facebook Platform, the utility that houses the apps and services created by those third-party developers. Go to Settings, select Apps, and click on the box titled Apps, Websites and Plugins. Keep in mind that you will no longer be able to access the unlinked apps and services using your Facebook Login, so you may want to create new logins and passwords before you shut off Facebook Platform.

Limit Facebook tracking on other websites

Many online sites feature code that tells Facebook what pages you visit. They do this by embedding on your computer tiny data files known as cookies and hidden images known as web beacons that track your movements, analyzing what you watch and read. You can cut down on this by installing a tracker blocker extension (such as Disconnect, Ublock, or Privacy Badger) on your web browser. They only take a few seconds to download and activate.

Control who can see your posts

To do this, use the drop-down menu right next to the Post button. Choices include friends, the public, groups you belong to, and an option to build your own custom list. You can choose specific people to block. This feature is not exclusive to statuses—photo albums can have custom viewer lists, too.

Choose who can add to your timeline

Enabling Timeline Review lets you control what’s allowed on your timeline by requiring you to approve each post. Notices asking for you to approve posts appear in the Activity Log portion of your profile page, alongside an overview of your Likes and images you’ve been tagged in.