While Facebook’s been defending itself since news about Cambridge Analytica broke, and seeing how Facebook only really cares about growth, and remembering that Mark Zuckerberg once called Facebook users ‘dumb f***s’ for handing over personal info to him, I thought we might take a moment to see how you can tweak your privacy settings (assuming you want to keep using Facebook).
Since most of our members use Facebook on the desktop, we’re going to use that for these instructions. NOTE* Facebook will likely change the Privacy interface soon so these instructions may not be 100% accurate in the near-future.
Start by clicking the little arrow in the very top-right corner of Facebook and selecting SETTINGS.
Under GENERAL, give a quick look to make sure those basic settings are correct, then move to PRIVACY on the left. (It’s good to check the security settings as well, but we won’t be looking at those today).
Review the settings here to make sure your posts are as private as you want them.
Who can see what you’re posting, who can see what you’ve posted in the past (you can actually bulk change all previous posts if you want so they’re not public). Who can see your friends, who can contact you, who can find you with a phone number (yes, if I put in your phone number it will pull up your profile!). CHECK THESE CAREFULLY and scale them back as tight as you want.
Do the same thing with Timeline and Tagging. Did you know how many people could see when SOMEONE ELSE posts something to or about you? Did you know you could force Facebook to let you review it before it goes public?
Moving on the Face Recognition… This doesn’t require a screenshot. Do you want Facebook to automatically recognize you and tag you in photos? Probably not. Turn that off.
Now we get to the section that got Facebook in trouble and REALLY started all the problems. Apps and Ads.
You should see a list of ALL the apps/developers/people who have access to your information. Take a good look, this is where you’ve given up control of your privacy. Mine’s empty because I’ve already removed them. You’ll need to start clicking and deleting until you’re happy with who has access.
Now for Apps, Websites, and games. This section is a HUGE privacy risk, but changing this setting will break a LOT of the interactions Facebook has with the outside World Wide Web. Before you turn this off, here’s what you will lose.
Log into other apps and websites using Facebook
- Interact with and share content from other apps and websites using Facebook social plugins such as the Share and Like buttons
This is the FIRST thing I turned off when news about the privacy leak broke. It restricts Facebook to a simple website, not a platform. Now when I go to a website or open an App, I have to create an account with that company, not just click Login With Facebook. If you have a lot of websites that you interact with that rely on this feature, be prepared to spend time signing back up (and possibly losing some content you made on those sites). This is why it’s so hard to completely leave Facebook – we’ve let them weave their way into other parts of our online identity. Make no mistake, turning this OFF is THE BEST THING FOR YOUR PRIVACY, but you have to decide if it’s worth it for you!
Now we’re going to tweak ads so we’re not tracked as much based on US. This creates more generic ads. If you like ads customized that are more pertinent to you, you can leave these alone. Again, I want as MUCH privacy as possible while still using the service so they’re all disabled.
The last part of the Ads section is Ads Settings. Change them all to no.
Finally, for those that are using Mozilla Firefox for their browser, they’ve released an add-on that sandboxes Facebook. You can read more about what exactly that means and how to install it, but if you use Firefox and want MAXIMUM privacy from Facebook, you’ll want to use it. (note that you will be forced to log back into Facebook, so make sure you know your password).
There’s a quick and dirty post about Facebook Privacy. As always, if you would like help making these changes, we’re here to help!