Some 1.5 billion people use Facebook, yet many of them have no idea how to protect their accounts and make sure that others can’t take advantage of their data. Facebook is constantly trying to ensure its customers that it has their privacy in mind, but that doesn’t mean your data is always safe, as one security researcher has recently proven.
Even so, there are things you can do to protect your personal data from being spilled all over the Internet without messing up your Facebook experience. You’ll still be able to share all the posts and pictures you want, but you’ll do it in a way that makes sure that data doesn’t leave Facebook.
A handy Wired guide shows you what privacy settings you have to customize to make sure you keep your Facebook privacy in check.
First and foremost, you have to decide which Facebook friends see the information you post. Go to Settings and then Privacy to access the Who can see my stuff?, Who can contact me? and Who can look me up? options. Each one lets you manage who gets access to your information and you should customize them according to your needs.
By manually adjusting these settings you can make sure your work colleagues don’t see your posts or personal information, and that friends can’t access stuff you’d like only family members to see.
In fact, you can further divide the Friends lists into smaller lists that will give you even more control over who will see certain selfies and status updates in the future. To create personalized lists, go to your Facebook profile on a desktop, and then select the Friends list heading on the left side of the screen. On that page, you can then add new lists and give it any name you’d like.
In addition to all your Facebook friends, everyone with an Internet connection can access your data via Google or other search engines if you leave one privacy option unchecked. The option is found in Settings > Privacy, right at the bottom of the panel. Switch off the Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline? setting to make sure your data can’t be accessed by strangers via simple Google searches.
Finally, one thing you have to pay attention to is what third-party apps with access to your Facebook profile can see. Go to Settings and then Apps to see what apps are authorized to see your data, and remove the ones you’re not using.
Some of these settings can be accessed from the mobile versions of Facebook, but all of them are readily available on a desktop – also make sure to check Wired’s full guide at this link.