By now, you’ve probably heard the news that Facebook and third-party app makers have been collecting and sharing users’ personal data with an unknown number of organizations. This month, a whistleblower revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a political firm hired by the 2016 presidential campaign for Donald Trump, gained access to the private data of over fifty million Facebook users, mining data directly from the users and each profile on their ‘friends’ list, which was allegedly used to sway the presidential campaign in a certain direction. After concerns for user privacy, Facebook has rolled out some new privacy settings and changed the ‘Friends Permission’ feature in 2014. If you’re worried about your data ending up in the wrong hands, here’s what you can do to protect it starting now.
#1. Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings:
Since the news broke, many users have been rightfully appalled and have called for a boycott of the social network, with #deleteFacebook trending. However, it’s important to be aware that simply deleting your account won’t fix the problem. The first step to protecting your data is updating your privacy settings. This doesn’t just mean tightening up your statuses and posts so that only friends can see them, but also de-authorizing any apps that you don’t use. Chances are, you’ve used Facebook to sign in to apps in the past since it’s usually more convenient than logging into each individually. But, these apps now have access to your data – even if you haven’t used them since. Access the App Settings within Facebook to delete any apps that you no longer access.
#2. Keep Your Browser Clear:
Since the Facebook app is connected to multiple sources of data, bear in mind that those in the know may find it easy to collect data from beyond the app itself. For example, if you click through to a link using Facebook, this part of your browser history may be available to anybody with your social media data. Instead, ensure that you are regularly clearing your browsing history – this will not only help to keep your private data safe, but will also lead to a decrease in target-driven advertisements in your Facebook timeline that reflect your online search history. You can get more information on keeping online history safe from Secure Data Recovery.
#3. Be Careful What You Click On:
Most of us don’t think twice about the links that we click on within the Facebook website or app as we believe them to be safe and secure. However, be aware that trending ‘quiz’ apps that allow you to have a bit of fun by guessing your future soulmate or creating quick quizzes about yourself for your friends have been tied to huge data leaks in the past. Facebook games are another tricky area, since simply clicking on ‘play now’ could lead to you unintentionally sharing your data with the developer. Although it can be time-consuming, it’s always best to read any terms and conditions before clicking through to a third-party app outside of Facebook to determine how much of your data will be shared.
Being careful with the amount of personal information that you share on social media can help to keep your private data secure.