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Facebook Privacy Settings - What You Should Know.

April 03, 2018

In light of the recent Facebook privacy breach that left 50 million users’ information exposed, it is extremely important to review your privacy settings and take steps to make sure any sensitive information is kept as safe as possible.

There’s been quite a buzz about Facebook and their privacy policy of late. After an explosive report that a third-party garnered 50 million Facebook profiles, the social media site is rolling out a series of changes to give people better control of their privacy settings and data. While there is a certain level of privacy you have to give up when joining a social network, we have gathered a few helpful suggestions to avoid exposing anything you want to keep private.

More about the breach

Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, gained access to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users in 2016. The research firm gathered information that is public on people’s profiles- including causes, groups and products users “like,” their list of Facebook friends, and things they share with friends. This information was allegedly used to build software that could target potential swing voters in political campaigns.

Some helpful tips on Facebook privacy

  • Want a general overview of your privacy settings? To get an overview of your privacy settings, tap the question mark icon on the upper right corner of the home screen and select “Run Privacy Checkup”. This will allow you to access an easy-to-follow “walkthrough” of your current settings as they pertain to "Posts", "Apps" and "Profile" (personal information).
  • Download a copy of your Facebook data by going to Settings and scrolling down to the bottom where you’ll see “download a copy of your Facebook data”. You won’t be able to change a lot of the information Facebook has already, but you can take control of what you share going forward.
  • How can I make sure apps through Facebook don’t have my personal information? Again, from “settings” go to the lower right-hand corner and click “apps”. Apps can look at your name, profile photo, gender, networks, user ID and more. They have been given permission by “you” to collect this information, but you can remove the app entirely so that this information is private.
  • How can I stop getting ads? From settings again, select “ads” at the bottom of the left column. You can reduce ad tracking by managing what Facebook can share with advertisers.
  • How can I adjust the audience of my posts? Whenever you post something and want to adjust who can see it, click the “friends” icon at the top of your post (below your name) and select “Who should see this?” You have three options- friends, friends except, public, or only you.
  • How can I remove personal information in my “about me” section? You are not required to enter personal information like birthdays, relationship status, etc. but if you do choose to include this information, you can edit who is able to view it Under each section in your “about me” (i.e. birthday, relationship status, religious and political views, etc.).

You can also manage whether Facebook shows you ads intended to reach people based on your selected profile fields (for example, you set your relationship status as “single” and you receive ads for dating apps). From the down arrow icon in the upper right corner, select settings, then go to “ads” again (left column). There is a “your information” category where you can select what profile fields are visible to advertisers.

Facebook is a great tool for catching up with friends and family members, obtaining the latest news and creating pages for common causes, but if your information ends up in the wrong hands, your privacy could be jeopardized.

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