The most important security checks to do now
Between security and revelations about Facebook’s tracking policies, it’s no secret that your privacy is at risk with the social network.
Facebook has unveiled a tracking technology called pixel, which website developers can add to their site’s code to track Facebook users for ad targeting. Mozilla and the Markup teamed up to take a closer look at Facebook’s pixel-tracking network. Tap or click here for our report and find out how you can participate in the survey.
While you could leave Facebook, you may not want to leave your family ties, groups, friends, and more. You can reduce your exposure by fiddling with some settings and still enjoying the social network. Keep reading for ways to take back some of your privacy.
How to change privacy settings on Facebook
Facebook’s new Privacy Center aims to let you know what data the social network collects. It is divided into five modules: Security, Sharing, Collection, Usage and Ads. Each contains some controls and settings that you can change.
To access the Privacy Center, open Facebook on your computer and click the down arrow in the top right corner of your screen. Then click Settings & Privacy and tap Privacy Center. Please note that you may not be able to access the tool yet as it is still being rolled out to users. Tap or click here to learn more about the Privacy Center.
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You don’t have to wait for Privacy Center to change privacy settings on Facebook now. The following instructions are for the desktop version unless otherwise noted.
1. Disconnect and delete activity outside of Facebook
When you visit a website or use an app, it may share your information with Facebook. This is used for targeted ads and suggestions on the Facebook platform. You can view, delete and disable this setting.
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Select Settings & privacy > Settings. Click on Your Facebook Information in the left column. Click Activity off Facebook to view. From here you can also click Manage your activity outside of Facebook for more information. You will be prompted to re-enter your password. Click Clear History in the right column to delete your history so far. Click Manage Your Activity Off Facebook, then click Manage Future Activity twice. From here you can disable Future Off-Facebook Activity to disable the feature.
Tap or click here to learn more about Facebook offsite tracking.
2. Make sure Facebook isn’t listening
Facebook says it doesn’t listen to what you say, but it depends on you. Your settings affect how much your devices and apps hear what you say, so it’s a good idea to check permissions.
To check Facebook microphone permissions on iPhone:
Open Settings, scroll down to your apps and select Facebook. Slide the switch next to Microphone to the left to turn it off.
To check Facebook’s permissions on Android:
Tap Settings and then Apps & notifications. Scroll down to Facebook > Permissions. Here you will see a list of all permissions requested by Facebook.
You can also get a microphone blocker or make your own. Tap or click here for tips on how to get this done.
3. Change who can find or see you and your posts on Facebook
Want to prevent strangers or exes from finding you? Here’s how to do it:
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Select Settings & privacy > Settings. Click on Privacy on the left. In the How people find and contact you section, you’ll see a setting for your email address and a setting for your phone number: To update your email setting, click Edit to the right of Who can look you up with the email address you provided ?To update your phone number setting, click Edit to the right of Who can look you up with the phone number provided? Select who can look you up with that information. Choose from Everyone, Friends of Friends, Friends, Only Me.
While you’re at it, clear your friends’ list. Remove people you don’t know or are not interested in to keep in touch.
4. Make your previous posts less visible
You can restrict who can see your past Facebook posts. For example, keep your posts in your friends’ list:
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Go to Settings & privacy > Settings. Click on Privacy in the left column. Tap Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public? Click Restrict Previous Posts > Confirm Restrict Previous Posts.
5. Do not allow search engines to link to your profile
If you don’t want people to find your profile with a Google search, change this setting:
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Select Settings & Privacy > Settings. Click Privacy in the left column Click the button Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile? section.Uncheck the box labeled Allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile.
6. Hide your location
Facebook uses your location to help you find nearby places and friends. It also targets you with content tagged with your location along with relevant ads. You can turn this off in your phone’s settings.
To disable location access for Facebook from your iPhone:
Go to Settings and scroll down to the Facebook app. Tap Location and select Never.
To disable location access for Facebook from your Android phone:
Tap Settings and then Apps. Scroll to the Facebook app and tap it. Tap Permissions and then Location. Select Do not allow.
7. Limit Ad Tracking
Facebook targets you with ads based on your activity on its platform, but it goes beyond that. It follows you on other websites, online retailers and more. These are known as partners. You can prevent Facebook from using its partners’ data to show you personalized ads:
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Click Settings and privacy > Settings. Click Ads in the left menu. Click Ads Settings, then click Details about your partner activity. Toggle the switch to the left under You can choose whether we can show you personalized ads based on data about your partner activity, and you can change your choice at any time. It should not be allowed after flipping the switch.
8. Enable Timeline Review
When someone tags you in a post or photo, it will automatically appear on your Facebook profile. This isn’t always a good thing, so you may want to see what you’re tagged in before accepting it. This is where Timeline Review comes in handy:
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Select Settings & privacy > Settings. Tap Profile & Tagging in the left column. Turn on the switch for Review posts you’re tagged in before the post appears on your profile?
9. Set trusted contacts and an old contact
Getting locked out of your Facebook account can be a nightmare, but you can let trusted friends help you. They may send you a recovery code with a URL that you use to regain access to your account. Best of all, you don’t have to share any private information. Choose wisely! This is how you set them up:
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Select Settings & privacy > Settings. Click Security and Login in the left column. Click Edit next to Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you are locked out. Click Choose Friends and follow the on-screen instructions.
We all have to go sometime, but have you thought about your business in relation to social media? You can leave the management to someone else, also known as a legacy contact. Not only can they manage your friends, posts, and tags, but they can also close the account if they want to.
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Select Settings & privacy > Settings. Click Memorial SettingsClick the Choose a friend field and add a friend. Facebook will let your old contact know that you’ve chosen them.
10. Switch 2FA . in
Two-factor authorization, or 2FA, adds an extra layer of security in addition to your password. If you set up 2FA on Facebook, you’ll be prompted to enter a login code or confirm your login attempt every time someone tries to access Facebook from a browser or mobile device it doesn’t recognize.
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Select Settings & privacy > Settings. Click Security and Login in the left column. Click Use two-step verification and choose a security method. You can use an authentication app to generate one-time codes, a physical security key, or SMS to receive verification codes.
Check your activity log regularly to see if anyone is snooping. It could be someone you trust, as one woman discovered. It turns out that her boyfriend is unfriending men on her Facebook account.
Facebook parent company Meta has a post about how Facebook says it protects the privacy and security of its users. Read it and see what you think.
Facebook’s Privacy Control Tool helps you control some of your privacy and security settings. You can also set reminders to use it:
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook. Select Settings & privacy > Privacy control. Click the three-dot menu on your screen, then click Set Reminders. Click the circle next to how often you want to be reminded to run a privacy check. Click Save.
Do you want to delete Facebook for good? Tap or click here to see how to do this correctly.