Managing into Facebook Privacy settings

Written on August 9, 2018

Or just don’t use it

Facebook image

Facebook is one of the widely used social media with more than 2.23 billion users in second quarter of 2018. And with that, the company has a great responsibility of keeping user data safe and secure. The company was under fire for the Cambridge Analytica scandal which caused data of millions to be misused.

However, I feel that it is responsibility of user to know and understand everything the company provides for managing privacy. Some settings are directly presented to user while you have to dig for other privacy focused things.

What options Facebook provides to users directly

Facebook settings

Under Privacy section in Settings, you will find a bunch of options that primarily focuses on your activity with friends. You can manage whether to show your posts to all people, or just your friends. Or specific friends or no one. If you don’t want to share with a particular friend, you can use option ‘friends except…’.

But if there is a stalker then he might use another account by other name with fake identity. So don’t be so sure that a stalker might not see your post just because you block his one account. So take care of it wisely.

There are also options to manage how you are visible on your profile and search engines. Like how you share your phone number and email address with your friends. Also if you don’t want anyone to simply search for your name on Google or Bing, you can toggle the option to OFF.

Protecting your login

A lot of bad guys may be looking to hack into your account. They may be anyone who are interested in your personal information. That’s why I strongly recommend you to set up a strong password. Not logging into public devices and logging out as soon as you finish working.

Facebook Two Factor Authentication

Using Two-factor authentication is the best way as I recommended earlier. Facebook supports Two-factor authentication in many ways. It is not something only for geeks or secret agents. It’s for everyone if you care about your privacy. It just adds a extra step to get security code for making your login secure. Your information with Facebook.

The social media giant offers it’s services to users for free. Imagine if Facebook charged $10 a month for using their services. No one would use it. Even WhatsApp stopped charging users.As rightly said,

“If You’re Not Paying for It, You’re the Product.”

The same applies to companies who provides their services for free.

Then what are Facebook and Google doing out of your personal information

They are simply selling it to advertisers. You are not the customer for Facebook, but advertisers and their so called ‘partners are’. This means Facebook keeps a track of your personal things and present you with personalized ads.

This makes Facebook and also other social media companies an attractive place for money makers.

Facebook Ads

To access what information the social media giant provides to advertisers about you, Go to Settings > Ads > Your information.

You can also download a copy of your information to check all content you have on your FB profile.

Apps that work with Facebook

Some apps and services use Facebook login to get your information and sign you into their services on the fly. They also connect you with your Facebook friends.

Facebook Login

That’s also a privacy concern because your account data gets in their hands partially. Some parties say that they don’t post anything without your consent. But you cannot trust all of them who says this. That’s why you must check which apps has access to your data.

Head over to Settings > Apps and Websites to check which apps has access to your data. You can also remove an app’s access to your account. It depends on services to how much extent they need your account data.

And Yes, this kind of unauthorized access by Cambridge Analytica resulted in big crisis for the social media giant. It showed how data of 87 million users was harvested by the CA firm and Facebook couldn’t do anything for a while to protect users.

That’s is why it has become essential for users to understand what companies know about us.

You can also change preferences for Apps, websites and games so that your Facebook account doesn’t have option to share data across services that apps and websites offer.

Check some Messenger things

As Facebook has a lot of users, you might be using Messenger as a texting app. After all, there are chances that you have almost all friends on Facebook. This makes it an attractive platform to chat. Also it is deeply integrated with your FB account.

Messenger Active Status

When you install messenger, the app has access to your contacts, location, etc. like any other chat app. If that’s your concern, you can disallow the app accessing your contacts.

Furthermore, if you don’t want anyone to check whether you are online or not by switching off the “Show when you are active toggle”. There can be many reasons why you want to turn it off.

And if you turn that off, people you chat with cannot see whether you are online. But you cannot see their ‘Active’ status too. Tit for Tat.

Removing Facebook tracking.

Facebook tracks you whether you have a Facebook account or not. Facebook and their partner websites have cookies that allows them to track your activity across websites you visit.

And their cookies work even when you are logged out of Facebook on the browser. You can learn more on how companies use cookies here.

If you are concerned about this tracking, you can disable it. Go to Facebook Settings > Ads > Ad Settings. Then you can disallow them to show ads based on other websites.

Messenger Active Status

WhatsApp sharing of data with Facebook

After the social media giant acquired WhatsApp, they promised to keep WhatsApp data private. But now they have changed their privacy policy for WhatsApp.

Messenger Active Status

This allows them to share data with Facebook for personalized ads.

Thankfully you can opt out of this in first 30 days when you open WhatsApp account. You can do this by going to Settings > Account > Share my account info in WhatsApp app.