How to Protect Your Data on Facebook
Are you concerned about news of the recent news of Facebook data misuse, more like data theft, by Cambridge Analytica? If you haven't heard Cambridge Analytica is the data mining and brokerage company accused of collecting the Facebook data of over 50 million Facebook users, without their consent. They got the data by enticing Facebook users to take a quiz, and then connected to the users Facebook data, which was then harvested. At this point, it is unclear exactly what they did with the data, although there is strong evidence that it was used to target political posts to those users and their friends.
Facebook has quite a bit of information on you, you gave it to them, and trusted it would not be sold or misused. Facebook’s user agreement says that they will not sell your data, and in this case, they didn’t. A third-party allegedly took it.
If you want to keep all your data private, you can always delete your Facebook account. This might not appeal to everyone since Facebook is a good way to communicate with friends and family, close and distant. There a few things you can do to tighten up your Facebook privacy, here is a start:
- Either delete or don’t install the Facebook app on your phone. When you install the app there is a screen saying Facebook needs access to your contacts, your calendar, to download files, and access your text messages. If this concerns you, then use Facebook through a browser on your phone. Deleting the app will also improve your phone’s battery life.
- Turn of location services for Facebook. While you are at it, you might want to turn it off for other apps too. It depends on who you want tracking your every move, and if you care. This data is used to target ads to you.
- Check just which apps you have connected to your Facebook account, and delete the ones you don’t want. Most of these apps can gather your Facebook data for their own use. Do this in the apps section of your Facebook settings. I bet there are some apps in there that you never heard of, or don’t remember allowing. Be careful what you delete though, some of these apps might be an account you use outside of Facebook, and you will no longer have access to that account if you have been using your Facebook ID to log in.
- Check how you have the sharing of your personal info set up. The best way to do this go line-by-line through the privacy settings, and read the explanation of what each one does before you make a decision.
If you want some detailed information on how to tighten up Facebook, there is a great in-depth article from Wired.