Change These 10 Facebook Security Settings To Improve Privacy
Facebook has touched almost every aspect of our lives over the past decade, and it looks like it won’t be any time soon. The social media titan has more than 2 billion monthly active users, with approximately 1.62 billion visiting the platform daily. Tap or click here to visit Kim Komando on Facebook.
And now Facebook is introducing itself into our professional lives through its new video chat service that competes directly with Zoom. Tap or click here to see if it’s worth using.
If you rely more on Facebook to stay in touch, now is the perfect time to adjust your privacy and security settings. Here’s how.
1. Clear your history with ‘Activity outside Facebook’
Facebook constantly monitors your activity, both on and off the site. Apps and websites automatically check whether you are still logged in and report back to Facebook what you do online.
This data used to be a well-hidden part of Facebook’s advertising strategy. Not anymore. Customize and even delete what the company knows from a menu called “Activity outside of Facebook.”
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The Clear History button is a bit of a misnomer. It disconnects your profile information from your account, preventing Facebook from serving you targeted ads. However, it will not completely prevent it from collecting analytics reports from other websites. You have to log out first to stop that.
The Manage Future Activity tool acts like a more permanent version of Clear History. When you disable it, it prevents businesses from sending Facebook ad targeting data about you.
Keep in mind that if you turn off Future Activity, you won’t be able to log in to other apps and websites with Facebook.
To clear your history in the mobile app:
Tap the three-line menu at the bottom right of the Facebook app. Select Settings. Scroll down and select Activity outside of Facebook. Check out the apps using your activity and make sure you want to remove the information. Tap Clear history.
To clear your history on the Facebook website:
Click the drop-down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook and click Settings & Privacy. Select Settings. Tap your Facebook information in the left column. Click Activity off Facebook to view. Click here on Manage your activity outside of Facebook. You will be prompted to re-enter your password. Once verified, you will be shown the apps and sites that have shared ads with your Facebook account. When you’re ready to clear this information, click Clear History.
2. Hide your location
Facebook uses location data to provide you with news or to sell things to you. If you turn off location services, your exact location won’t be used to target you with ads. Unfortunately, Facebook can still access your network location, so you’ll need to disable the feature on both your phone and the app.
To disable location services on an iPhone:
Go to your phone’s settings and tap Privacy. Tap Location Services, followed by Facebook. Tap Never to turn off location services.
To disable location services on an Android phone:
Go to your phone’s settings and tap Privacy. Tap Permissions Manager, followed by Location. Choose Facebook. Tap Deny to turn off location services.
Once you’re done adjusting your phone’s permissions, follow these steps to turn off location tracking in the app:
Tap the three-line icon at the bottom right. Tap Settings & Privacy, followed by Privacy Shortcuts. Tap Manage your location settings, followed by Location services. Tap Location and select Never.
3. Disable Face Recognition
Facial recognition is central to Facebook’s photo algorithm. That’s why you’re automatically tagged in photos posted by others.
You can disable facial recognition on the desktop version of Facebook. Follow these steps:
Click the downward pointing arrow in the top right corner of the screen. Select Settings & privacy, followed by Settings. Click on Facial Recognition in the left column. Tap “Would you like Facebook to recognize you in photos and videos?” Select No from the drop-down menu to disable the setting.
4. Remove apps that follow you from Facebook
If you log into other platforms or websites with your Facebook username, those companies will be able to access your data and share your activity with Facebook.
This was one of the main problems behind the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which collected the profiles of millions of people. Tap or click here to learn more about Cambridge Analytica.
Thankfully, Facebook has changed its stance on third-party applications and allows users to disable all that tracking.
Disable third-party app tracking from your desktop:
Click the downward pointing arrow in the top right corner of the screen. Select Settings & Privacy, followed by Settings. Tap Apps & Websites in the left menu. Select Active. Click the box next to the app’s name to stop tracking you and click Uninstall. Because of this, it cannot track you.
5. Enable two-factor authentication to lock out hackers
Two-factor authentication is one of the most robust ways to protect your profile from unwanted logins. When someone tries to break into an account with 2FA enabled, they cannot get in without a text message code. Since the code goes to your phone, you can only log in.
Activate 2FA from your desktop
Click the downward pointing arrow in the top right corner of the screen. Tap Settings & privacy, followed by Settings. Select Security and Login. Scroll down to Two-Factor Authentication and tap Use Two-Factor Authentication. Enter your phone number and confirm the code in the text to complete the installation.
6. Prevent Google from showing your Facebook account
Did you know that your Facebook profile is indexed on Google? That means anyone looking up your name can find your social media account along with all of the publicly visible data.
If you’re not comfortable with this, we don’t blame you. Google and people search engines have a nasty way of making your private life public. Tap or click here to learn how to remove yourself from people-search sites.
At least with Facebook you can keep your profile out of searches. Follow these steps:
Open Facebook on your computer and click the downward pointing arrow in the top right corner of the screen. Tap Settings & Privacy, then Settings followed by Privacy. Under “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?” click Edit. Click the checkbox at the bottom to disable the setting.
7. Limit the audience for your personal messages
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Not every friend on your list needs to know the intimate details of your life. This is even more risky when you consider how many fake profiles are floating around. Tap or click to learn how to spot the fakes. Limit the audience of your posts so that only specific people can see them.
From your computer, follow these steps:
Open Settings & Privacy again, then Settings and click Privacy. Scroll down to Who can see your future posts? and click Edit. You can adjust the settings for specific audiences here. Scroll down to Restrict past posts to change who can access your past content.
People accidentally share all kinds of personal facts and information without realizing it. Changing this setting can help prevent phishing or a hacker from correctly guessing one of your security questions.
8. Prevent Your Activity From Being Advertised (Literally)
Ever seen an ad telling you which of your friends liked it? That’s because Facebook automatically uses these recommendations to target ads to you and your friends. And if you like something, your friends will see the same types of ads.
Of course they don’t ask for your permission. But you can turn off the setting to keep your interests and likes more private. Follow these steps on your desktop:
Under Settings and privacy, select Settings, then click Ads, followed by Ads Settings. Click Social Interactions and select Only Me.
9. Avoid those Like and Share buttons on other parts of the web
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Whenever you use a Facebook button on another website, you are feeding the beast that is Facebook’s advertising machine. Every Share, Like and Recommendation becomes part of the data feed that Facebook uses to adjust its algorithm.
Even if you’ve disabled tracking outside of Facebook, using these buttons is like letting us know what you’re doing. You don’t need to change any settings to avoid the pitfalls of these buttons. Just don’t use them.
If you need to share something, do it the old-fashioned way by copying and pasting it into a message.
10. Clean up your friends list
Having a lot of Facebook friends means that a wider audience is witnessing your personal and private life. You probably don’t need thousands of people to see the personal ins and outs of your social life.
In addition, studies have shown that people who frequently accept new friend requests are at a higher risk of being attacked by fake accounts. Tap or click here to see why.
For the sake of privacy, you’d better clean up your friends list. To do this, open Facebook on your phone or computer and visit one of your friends’ profiles. Find the button labeled Friends and click or tap it.
In the drop-down list that appears, you can select Unfriend. Do this for anyone you’re not 100% sure about or don’t know well. Facebook is not a competition and having more friends does not make your account more complete.
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Now that you’ve ironed out your privacy settings, you can feel a little more relaxed using the Messenger Rooms feature. Just be careful not to give the game away via video chat. You still have a right to your privacy whether you’re in front of the camera or not.