Staying Private On Facebook; Here’s What You Need To Know

It is estimated that Facebook and their affiliates have over 5000 data points on each of their users. Whilst scrolling through your feed can seem innocent enough, the way you interact with the application and what type of content you digest increases all the data these affiliates hold on you in an attempt to learn more about you. Facebook is the social media platform that has come under the most fire recently. From allowing gaping holes in their security, to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in 2018 you couldn’t get away from their systematic failings of how they have handled user’s data, but thankfully, there are ways you can stay private. If you want to keep your Facebook as private as possible, here is what you need to know.

Default Settings

You will want to make sure that your settings aren’t the default settings that Facebook impose. These default settings include having your profile visibility set to everyone. Go into settings and tools and limit your audience, if you haven’t changed these settings before, it means that everyone can see all of your posts. Select friends, this means that only your friends can see all future posts. It may not seem like a big deal, but a lot of employees will look back through your social media history and make an opinion of you based on what you post.

Remove As Much Personal Information As Possible

You’ll be surprised at how much personal information you have given Facebook over the years, especially if you are a long standing user. You can remove a lot of this, such as where you live, where you have studied and worked etc. Click on about and hover over each entry, you can then remove these details. You can’t delete your age, but what you can do is remove your year of birth. These changes don’t seem like a lot, but it is  start, the less definitive information you have on your profile or wall, the more private your wall and feed becomes.

Limit data collection

Data collection is the big one, this is the area that Facebook has got into a lot of trouble for, either for not protecting users data, or actively selling it to companies that have zero respect for users data. You can stop all accounts that you have logged in with via Facebook from harvesting your data by restricting access. Click on the three bars on your home screen and then select settings and privacy, finally click apps and websites. Once you have selected this, websites can no longer collect information, it may not seem like a lot, but it is enough data points for organisations to build marketing profiles about you.

VPN’s or Proxies

vpn

A virtual private network or proxy can help to keep up some of your privacy, especially when using Facebook. A lot of the ads you receive are often targeted to the location that you find yourself in. If you don’t want this type of invasive marketing, a proxy for Facebook or a VPN could be a good idea. If you are unsure of what a proxy is, let us explain. A proxy or VPN operates a middleman, think of it as a redirector that covers the signal your device sends to Facebook. This means that you can browse Facebook in the UK but set your proxy to Italy if you don’t want Facebook to store your actions or market to you based on location. A VPN or proxy is also a good tool to have if you are somewhere where you can’t access social media, they scramble the signal to make it so you can access your normal sites. Whilst a VPN can’t stop legal data collection, it can make data collection a lot more difficult, especially for Facebook and its associates.

Final Considerations

It is widely regarded by many that data is to be considered as the new oil, at the moment this may sound ridiculous but companies are investing millions on the basis that they want more information about us, to market to us, predict buying habits and create new products. By limiting what information, we put on our Facebook and limiting the information available to outsiders, we instantly become more secure, not only to these businesses but to other people who may not have our best interests at heart.

Viewing Facebook through a VPN can help you hide your location so that you don’t receive, and advertisements and it can also help you access the platform if you are in a location that doesn’t allow it. Facebook has been in the press a lot for miss handling of our data, make sure you take the right steps to limit what the public and businesses can see on your profile.

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