Protect Your Privacy on Facebook, Part 3

The only way to be completely private on Facebook is by not signing up, but there are some things you can do to protect your identity. Namely, you can begin limiting what you share and with whom.  The social media giant has had plenty of problems over the years. Some are more egregious than others. We don’t want to get into any individual issue too much, but here are a few times where Facebook has stepped over the line: Without consent, 2007 introduced a feature which companies could track purchases by Facebook users and then notify friends of the goods that were bought.  In 2011, Facebook was hit with a brutal charge by the FTC. The platform had been allowing private information to be made public, without so much as a warning. Facebook was letting third-parties access user information without consent.  In 2013, Facebook had a very generous activity. Alongside the “Donate” button to be able to donate to charities, they also had this helpful bug that leaked the email addresses and phone numbers of over six million Facebook users. 2014 was the year Facebook decided to do some research. They wanted to know if they had the ability to make users depressed. Turns out, they did. They purposely displayed depressing content in hopes that users would feel overwhelmed with depression.  In 2015, Facebook finally addressed growing privacy concerns. They put their foot down, and no longer allowed Facebook apps to have boundaryless private user data. What does this mean they were allowing before 2015?  In 2018, more sensitive information was released. Who about this time? Facebook. 2018 was the year that revealed Facebook had a massive 50 million user data breach. However, they justified the breach by doing nothing about it, until their reputation began dwindling. Once they noticed how poorly this affected their image, then they decided they should do something about the breach.  For Facebook, privacy-related concerns have come to be a regular occurrence. When you have a free-to-use interface that is used by billions of people, you have to be more careful than you would otherwise, while also finding ways to make a profit. This has been proven to be difficult for Facebook over the past few years. Today, we’re going to help you out by providing you with information on how to best protect your Facebook profile. Facebook’s Privacy Options Log in to your Facebook account on your desktop. There is a small down arrow at the top right of the page. Click on it and go to settings. From there, click Privacy. Facebook will allow you to set privacy options that will control the people that have access to your information: Public – Anyone can see this information, even if they are not your current Facebook friends, and even if they aren’t signed into Facebook. In theory, this means search engines can see your information as well. Friends – This means only people you are Facebook friends with can see the information. Friends except… – This lets you filter out some of your friends or specific user-created groups from seeing certain information.  Only me – This means none of your friends can see the information, and that it is strictly between you and Facebook. Still, don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want to get […]

Protect Your Privacy on Facebook

What Does Facebook Know About You? Facebook has gathered a lot of information about its users. From a person’s posts, to their like history, to the advertisers they engage with, the world’s most popular social network knows more about the average user than most of their family members do. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal–where third-party users had free reign of Facebook user information–Facebook vowed to offer more transparency, so they now allow users to view the information they have collected about them.  Here’s how to view this information on a computer, and a mobile app respectively. It is a pretty straightforward process.  On a desktop or laptop: Log in to your Facebook account. If you are on a desktop or laptop, click the down arrow on the top right and go to Settings. On the left, click Your Facebook Information. Facebook will present you with five options. Look for Download Your Information. Click View, Facebook will give you a screen where you can choose the date range and format of the data. Since in this case, we want to download everything, we’re going to set the Date Range to All of my data and set Media Quality to High. This means we’ll get a higher quality version of all of our photos and videos in the download. Click Create File and Facebook will start building the download. This can take a while, but Facebook will give you a notification when your data is ready for download. Once Facebook gives you the notification, click it and Download your data. From the Facebook mobile app: Tap the 3-bar hamburger icon in the top right of the app. Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy, and then tap Settings. Tap Download Your Information. Leave all of the options checked, and scroll down. Ensure the Date Range is set to All of my data and that Media Quality is set to High. Tap Create File and Facebook will give you a notification when the data is ready for download. After you create your file, it takes about an hour before you are given a notification. If you’ve been with the social media site a long time, or if you are a heavy user, it may take longer. Most users that have been using Facebook for a while will end up with GBs worth of information. Now that you have access to your report, click on Your Facebook Information:  Access Your Information – Facebook itemizes all of your information with Posts, Photos, and Location all available to be viewed. This still doesn’t tell you what Facebook knows about you outside of Facebook.   Activity Log – This page is basically a timeline recap, which is great if you are looking to relive any old moments.  Deactivation and Deletion – Facebook users looking for a way out have complained that deleting their account is extremely difficult. Today, it’s not so difficult.  What Does Facebook Know About You? Once your file is viewable, you will be shocked at just how much information they know about you. They have the basic information, but beyond that they track and log your location, which can be disconcerting. You can pull up a date and learn just what you did that day. You may have forgotten, but Facebook hasn’t. Then there […]