Like it, Love it, Be Mad at it, Laugh at it. These are the options we have come to use in our daily interaction with Facebook, if we are members. Like it or not, Facebook isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. This social media giant has captured the world and touched nearly every aspect of our lives. With more than 2 billion active users, a whopping 1.62 billion visit the platform daily—that’s approximately 75% of all users! This makes for some great positive communications between friends, family, high school and college friends, and even strangers; but there’s a downside—it has also been used for ill by criminals who scour Facebook pages for your personal details to use in identity theft scams or for political hackery.
Ways to secure your Facebook profile
First, clear your history—this is the data Facebook gets from tracking you around the web. Facebook collects a lot of data on you as you interact online—shopping, downloading apps, searching websites and other services sends them a ton of information on what you’re doing on other parts of the internet or what you’re doing in the real world. Think of it as strolling through the neighborhood merchants and purchasing an item here or there, and all of it gets documented on the internet and Facebook—hello technology! Go to the Off-Facebook Activity to look at the data. You can clean that up by going to Settings & Privacy>Privacy shortcuts>View.
Make yourself familiar with Settings and Privacy. This is where you’ll find a large list of features that you can control with just a click. Following are important measures you may want to consider:
- Keep your location to yourself. That’s an easy fix and totally under your control – resist the urge to post real-time pics of you and the family on vacation. It says to would-be robbers “Let’s find out where they live so we can scope the house.” It happens. Instead, post your beautiful Grand Canyon pics AFTER you get back for friends to see. On your phone or PC, change settings by going to Settings>Privacy>Location Services>Facebook to choose your preference.
- Disable Facebook recognition. Even though it’s a useful tool for tagging friends in photos, and useful for spotting fake accounts, Consumer Reports says that biometric data could eventually be used, and since FB has invested a lot in this technology, they will want a return on investment at the end. You can turn Face Recognition off for good on your computer or phone by going to Settings & Privacy>Privacy Shortcuts>Control Face Recognition>edit>no.
- Limit Data Collection by Facebook Partners. And who isn’t a partner on Facebook these days? So we have to limit who gets the info and lock out those we don’t care for.
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication. This is a very strong way to lock out hackers and secure your profile. Hackers can’t get in without a text-message code sent to your phone. Only you will be able to login. Activate this from Settings & Privacy, select Security and Login.
- Make your account hard to find. Unfortunately the default settings on Facebook permit your user profile to turn up in any Google search that includes your name. So, make it less searchable by changing your settings and limit who can send you friend requests.
- Limit who can see your posts. It’s fun to share the details of your life with family and friends, but not so much when internet criminals are combing Facebook pages for personal data to use in identity scams. Turn this off in Facebook’s Privacy and Settings tab.
- Restrict Facebook from tracking you on other sites. Did you ever click on a website for some merchandise only to find that those cute shoes end up in your Facebook feed for days or weeks? It’s called re-targeting, but can be over the top. It’s annoying to be sure…but also a little creepy. Three cheers for technology, but do you really want those shoes following you around on every website you go to? No. You can either buy the shoes (which might be great!), or install an Ad blocking extension such as Disconnect, Ublock or Privacy Badger on your browser to disrupt Facebook’s efforts to track you online.
- Protect privacy on Facebook’s siblings. Facebook is the Daddy to Instagram and What’s App. So you should consider locking down your setting on those too. Also, consider checking security options on Google and LinkedIn.
Our best advice is to take some time to peruse the parameters in Facebook to see exactly how you can protect yourself. We’ve listed many of these areas above, but there are many other ways to help you to secure your account.
For additional cyber security resources, please visit Financial Know How.
Resources: Consumer Reports; Komando.com; techlicious.com, Payette Forward