January 9, 2019

If you’ve come to find out how best to secure your Facebook account, then you’ve come to the right place.

You’ve probably been guilty, as many of us have, of initially taking to social media without really thinking about the security or privacy implications.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  But, now we’re all a little wiser, it’s important that we look to be as secure as we can be.  That’s why, in this short article, you’ll be able to get to grips with your Facebook security and privacy.

 

But, what information am I actually sharing on Facebook?

Essentially, depending on your privacy settings, anyone in the world could view your profile and the information on it. This could include your personal phone number and email address, your interests and hobbies, as well as details of your friends and family. Scary, huh?  Well, no need to fear, let’s get started by conducting a full privacy check-up to keep your account secure!

Let’s being by checking who can view your profile and what they can see.

 

Who can see my information?

To manage who can see the information about you, such as the places you have lived or your family and relationships, follow these steps:

  • Click About below your cover photo
  • Hover over the info you’d like to change and click Edit
  • Use the audience selector next to this info to choose who you’re sharing it with.

The “audience selector” is a tool that gives you control of who is able to view a post, a photo or other information.

As you edit your information, you can control who sees it by using this tool. You can also control who is able to view your posts before you post it.

You can even control the posts that other people have posted on your timeline by using the “Who can see what others are posting on your timeline” setting:

  • Click the down arrow in the top right of any page and select Settings.
  • Click Timeline and Tagging in the left column.
  • Click Who can see what others post on your Timeline? and click Edit to the far right.
  • Select an audience from the dropdown menu.

Note: Posts on your timeline may appear other places on Facebook, like News Feed and search, for people who are in the audience they’re shared with (example: friends, public, custom).

 

How can I restrict who can see my old Facebook posts?

Have old posts that are public or shared with friends of friends? You can change the privacy of these posts to “Friends Only” by following these simple steps.

  • Click the arrow next to the “Home” button in the top right corner
  • Click Privacy Settings 
  • Go to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts”
  • Click “Manage Past Post Visibility” 
  • Click “Limit old posts”.

 

What does my profile look like to the general public?

Facebook recently got rid of their “View As” features, that had let people see what their own profile looked like to someone else, due to security issues as cyber-criminals had exploited a vulnerability in their code.

However, you can still double check what information is publicly available about you by using the incognito browser to visit your account.

 

How can people find and contact me?

Limit and control how people can find and contact you by following these few steps.

  • Click downward arrow
  • Click Settings
  • Click Privacy in the left column
  • Click edit for each of the elements

Don’t share your email or phone number. If you absolutely have to, limit this information to a small circle of people. You can do this by following these steps.

  • Go to your profile page
  • Click Contact and Basic Info
  • Click edit
  • Customise who can see the information by clicking on the two silhouettes.

 

How do I improve my Facebook’s security?

There’s no better time than now to give your Facebook a bit of a privacy check-up.

 

Where am I “logged in” to Facebook?

Why not start by logging out of Facebook from unused browsers and applications. You should always ensure that you log out if you are sharing a computer or device.

Regularly check your Active sessions. If you notice any unfamiliar locations or devices, your Facebook account could be at risk. Log out from these sessions and be sure to change your password immediately after this. Need to log out remotely? No problem… follow these simple steps to log out from your Facebook remotely:

  • Go to Settings
  • Go to your Security and Logins
  • Go to the section Where You’re Logged in (you may have to click See More to see all of the sessions where you’re logged in)
  • Find the session you want to end à Click and then click Log Out.

 

Set an alert when someone tries logging in to my Facebook account

Did you know that you can get alerted when someone tries logging in to your account?  You can also receive alerts when someone tries to log in to your account from an unrecognised computer or mobile device.  This is a great way of alerting you of any issues before they might occur.

To enable this log in notification, simply follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings
  • Go to Security and Logins
  • Scroll down to Setting up extra security
  • Go to Get alerts about unrecognised logins
  • Click Edit
  • Check the boxes where you wish to get an alert.

 

Use Two-Factor Authentication to add another layer of security to my Facebook account

Set up two-factor authentication on your Facebook account, giving you a double layer of protection, to help keep it secure. You can do this by following the steps on screen.

  • Go to Settings
  • Go to Security and login
  • Click Edit next to Use two-factor authentication
  • Click Get Started and follow the steps.

How to check my App permissions

How many apps do you think you have given permission to link with your Facebook account?

Maybe it’s a quicker way to log in, or you are really tempted to take that quiz and can only access it through Facebook.  It’s important to check what Apps you have linked and also what information they have access to.

Apps may be able to not only view your friends list, date of birth, page likes, and email address but in some circumstances, they can also post on your behalf, which will appear on your timeline and in your News Feed.

Check what Apps are connected to your Facebook account and what permissions they have by following these steps. Here, you can see which Apps are actively connected, expired and removed.  Take some time to do a clean-up and see which Apps you may need to revoke permissions for and which Apps you can scrap altogether.

  • Click down arrow
  • Click Settings
  • Go to Apps and websites
  • Active – Expired – Removed  
  • Click on each app to ‘View and Edit’ or check the tick box and click remove

It’s important to note, however, that although you may have removed the App, the developers still have whatever data they have collected about you up to this point.  You will need to contact them directly to ask them to delete it.  In order to do this, you will need to find the app on Facebook and send them a message directly. If requested, you can find your User ID by scrolling to the bottom of that specific App.

 

Checking the Ad Settings on my Facebook account

Are those expensive pair of shoes haunting your News Feed? Or, maybe it’s that new shirt you have been eyeing up? Unfortunately, this is the internet… and Facebook, along with Google and other ad networks, track your every move online even if you don’t have an account. You are not completely restricted, however. Simply follow these steps to turn off Ads based on any of your used websites and apps.

  • Go to the down arrow
  • Click Settings
  • Click Ads in the left side bar

 Here, you can alter your Ad Settings based on your interests, advertisers you’ve interacted with previously and the information that you’ve provided on Facebook and other activity. You also have the ability to allow and disallow what the Ads are based on, as well as hide certain ad topics for a certain period of time, or permanently.

 

That’s a whistlestop tour of some of the key measures you can take to secure your Facebook account but, don’t forget, you also need to be mindful about the password you use for the account itself.  Make sure you use different passwords for different accounts and, if you’re struggling to remember them all, why not consider a password manager.  They’re simple, cost-effective and a great way of improving your security whilst using the internet.

 

Stay safe!

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