Facebook is a great way to stay connected to all the latest and greatest news and photos from your friends and family. Itís also a superb avenue for meeting new people that you otherwise would not have access to in everyday life. With those benefits come some negatives, however. Primarily, your privacy is at stake. Not only can others see some intimate details about your thoughts and your life, but you open up yourself to being hacked by outsiders looking to inflict cyber harm for one reason or another.
Adjust your Privacy Settings First
Of course, you could avoid such problems altogether by simply deleting or deactivating your Facebook account, but why limit yourself? Instead, you can use these following tips to keep all of your Facebook data as private as possible.
Beyond its huge population of members, one of Facebookís best features is the way in which the social network allows you to adjust your profileís privacy settings. You literally have control over the way in which your content is shared, so thereís no excuse for not covering your tracks.
To take the first step in increasing your Facebook profileís privacy, go into your accountís Privacy Settings which reside in the upper right-hand corner of the page. You can adjust privacy to three different levels: Public, Friends, or Custom. Public is obviously the least private, while Custom lets you choose sharing with friends, friends of friends, specific people, or only yourself.
Over time, Facebook has added more privacy settings to give increased control over how information is shared. Now you can see separate sections for settings adjustments on how you connect with others, how tags work, sharing of apps and websites, how your past posts are viewed, and the blocking of people and apps. You can go into each section and adjust settings for various characteristics. If you prefer to have your information open to the public, list the setting to Everyone. If you want to keep data amongst friends, select Friends from each drop down, and so on.
Stay Hidden from Searches
Just because you have a Facebook profile does not necessarily mean that you want the rest of the world to know your whereabouts. You can keep yourself hidden from those searching for you rather easily. Go to the aforementioned Privacy Settings and click on the How You Connect option. You will see options detailing who can message you, send you friend requests, and search for you. If you do not want to show up in a search, set the setting to the Friends level.
Organize Contacts into Lists
If you are like most people, you use your Facebook account to connect to family, friends, as well as co-workers. Itís also likely that you have contacts for networking and other purposes. With such a mix of contacts, you probably donít want every person to see the same amount of information. For instance, you probably donít want your boss to see photos from a party you just went to, or maybe you prefer to keep your work posts away from family members.
You can tackle this issue by organizing your contacts into lists. You can group people into lists such as Close Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and even create your own specialized lists. Once your lists are created, you then have control over which lists see certain pieces of content. For example, you can set photos to be viewed by only Close Friends, and so on.
Watch Your Apps
Facebook apps are a fun way to pass time, but they can also intrude on your privacy, as many require pieces of your personal data to work properly. You can control app settings by going into Privacy Settings and clicking on the Apps and Websites option. You can see the apps you currently use and remove unwanted apps. You can also edit the information that friends bring into the apps they use, such as your birthday, interests, photos, and more. Itís best to uncheck all of these options to remain as private as possible. To really prevent apps from using your info, select the Turn off all platform apps option for a quick fix.
Many Facebook fans like to access their accounts from various devices. Whether itís a smartphone, a work computer, or a computer at the library, access to Facebook is a must. While this may be true, it does not mean that you cannot control which devices are used to log in to your Facebook account.
Under the Security tab in Account Settings, you will notice options for Login Notifications and Login Approvals. Check the boxes in both of these options to enable them. The notifications option will email you when your account is accessed from an unrecognized computer or mobile device. The approvals option will require a security code to be entered each time an unrecognized device tries to access your account.
Enable Secure Browsing
Unsecured Wi-Fi networks come in handy when you want to connect to the internet for free and are away from home, but they can also leave you vulnerable to hackers who are on the same network. Using a personal account like Facebook on an unsecured network is not a good idea, as your account could be compromised. Facebook implemented a feature to help make browsing a bit more secure, and itís a good idea to make sure it is turned on.
Go to Account Settings and click on the Security tab. Click on Secure Browsing, and check the box next to Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) when possible. Click Save Changes.
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