If you haven't heard about what has been going on with Facebook Privacy these days, the Brainiacs are here to give you the low down. Essentially, a lot of people clicked through their news feeds into those amazingly addictive personality quizzes and in turn authorized a third party to collect enough information to build a 50 million user database - and then sell that information.
Whoa. So, now that you know what happened, let's get started on some tips to secure your data from now on.
Facebook Privacy Check Up - Step 1
Since this isn't the first time that Facebook privacy may have been a hot topic in the recent years, Facebook has made it quite easy to check on your personal profile and the level of privacy you have set. First, you'll want to be logged in to your Facebook page! Then, from any page, we are looking for the question mark in the top right corner [Pictured Below]. Find the lock at the bottom that says 'Privacy Checkup' and click there.
Next, it will open up a window that will walk you through a three step process to check your profile. To start, Facebook will have you take a look at what audience will see any of your future posts. This is a great way to start limiting how much of your life is accessible by strangers! Here is a quick explanation and example of each option:
- Friends - This will show your posts to only your friends list. If you post photos of your children or any personally identifiable information (such as things about your work, your home, vacations, etc.) this is the most appropriate option.
- Public - This allows anyone with a Facebook login to see your posts. If you would like to be a part of a public discussion and welcome contribution from anyone around Facebook - this is the correct option!
- Only you - This allows only you to see what posts to your feed. This is useful for personal memories you'd like to keep stored on your Facebook as a backup but may not necessarily want to share with anyone else.
Once you have selected your preferred option for your future posts - you can click the next button! Now, you have finished Step 1 of Facebook Privacy Checkup.
Facebook Privacy Check Up - Step 2
Step Two is where you really will need to do some Spring Cleaning! Step Two includes all the apps that you have authorized to use your Facebook as a means to login. It also has the ability for you to choose who will see the content you post from those apps.
This is probably going to take some time if you have had your profile for awhile and can't resist clicking those 'which are you?' type quizzes. First, let's start with how to delete apps that you aren't familiar with or that may be outdated. In the photo, you can see that I had 'Lolsided Quizzes' authorized as an app on my Facebook. Yes, I am a quiz taker! To remove this app from accessing my profile, I just clicked the 'X' to the right. It is that easy.
Now, one thing you may have noticed about my Facebook apps is that all the little locks say 'Only Me'. That is a BONUS tip that I would love to share with you. If you find yourself logging in through Facebook and it asks you if you would like to allow the app to 'post on your behalf', choose 'Only Me' to help prevent something posting to your Facebook page before you've seen it. This helps stop the spread of bad apps collecting more data! Also, it helps you keep another level of privacy and screening of exactly what you are sharing with your friends and family.
Facebook Privacy Check Up - Step 3
Whew! I am not sure about you, but I just cleaned out at least 10 apps from my Facebook. So, on to Step 3! This part is the information that you have added to your profile that can be viewed anytime in your 'About' section. It includes things like your phone number, email address, birthday, and hometown. There are security benefits to having the most up to date phone number and email address on your page, so be sure it is the most up to date. However, there is no need to share this information publicly. You can choose to share it with your friends, but even then, it may be best to keep it private altogether. (Don't forget to learn more about how putting your email out there can affect your inbox. Click here to read why.) Finally, you're done!
Is that everything you need to know about Facebook Privacy?
Almost done! One last thing I want to have you check is what information you are sharing with apps that OTHER people use! If you go to your Facebook settings (Click the arrow in the top right and hit settings), click the apps section on the left bar. This will take you to the more involved version of Step 2 above. Scroll down to see boxes that include one titled 'Apps Others Use'. If you hit edit, there will be an explanation of how much fun it is to share your information! Unfortunately, it is probably best to have all these boxes unchecked. You never know what apps other people may access!