13 tips for better Facebook privacy (easy and effective methods)
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Social media privacy and security concerns hit the headlines, almost every day. So, it is natural for you to worry about gaining better Facebook privacy.
Once you make yourself to be a part of social media platforms, the first thing which you are conscious of is protecting your data safely and securely.
Many people want their private information or data to stay restricted within your friends. As you make your social media account, you choose that platform to share all your relevant data and private pictures on it as a memory to stay with you forever.
But at the same time, you would want those memories to stay safe and secure from hacking attacks by opting for maximum Facebook privacy. This article will help you achieve precisely that.
Since I feel you are a privacy-conscious Internet user like me, first, let’s quickly go through why Facebook privacy matters.
Why Facebook privacy matters?
Millions of people log into this platform every day to stay connected with the whole world (or their worlds).
When you create a new account on Facebook, you are required to submit your private information like date of birth, country, and mobile number on the platform before proceeding further.
As per your liking, your private data should only be restricted between you and Facebook. But it is quite funny to mention that Facebook has already handed-over such information to some third-party organizations that continuously need users’ data.
If you post something on your Facebook wall and delete right after an hour, while it might get deleted from your wall, but you never know specific information from that post would have reached the third party already.
In this whole scenario, it is essential to keep your data safe and protected by learning some crucial tips for Facebook privacy.
Also, it brings a critical question to us: Are we trading our privacy away in exchange for an attractive social network?
Well, two major privacy concerns come to play here.
On the individual level, when you publicize your life on the internet, all your comments and posts are available for everyone, including people whom you may or may not want to access. That does not look to be an ideal situation.
Secondly, looking at the broader image, Facebook’s mysterious data-mining capabilities are scary, especially when many among us do not have any idea of the exact extent.
I think that pretty much covers why Facebook privacy matters, so let’s jump onto the best ways to have better privacy and security on Facebook.
Essential tips to follow for better privacy on Facebook
1. Use a VPN
The first thing you need for having stealthy Facebook privacy and security is using a secure method to access the Internet. That’s a combination of having an antivirus installed on your device, firewall, and a quality VPN service.
A trusted VPN ensures your connection and device safety while you connect to the Internet for using Facebook or any other website.
Using a VPN is optional but as per social media security best practices, on top of adjusting your Facebook account settings for optimum privacy, using a VPN is highly recommended.
2. Optimize your FB privacy settings
Before you choose to perform anything on Facebook, make sure you have taken all the necessary steps to optimize your privacy at the very best, and one easy way to do that is by locking down your profile.
Facebook has now taken special measures and steps to allow users to have more power over their profile security by introducing new features.
But still, some default privacy settings are woefully inadequate in terms of preventing a malicious third-party organization to extract the private data from your profile. To ensure your Facebook security, set the following settings on your profile:
- Log into your FB account.
- In the page’s top-right corner, click “Account.”
- Look on the left corner to locate and open “Customize Settings.”
- Select “Friends Only” on everything.
That’s it; you now have most-recommended Facebook privacy settings.
3. Limit the access on post updates
Facebook allows you to limit the audience on any post. If you are sharing a private picture, you can define your audience. You can select only those friends with whom you want to share that particular post.
To perform this step, visit update status, and from the drop-down menu, you have to select the ‘friends‘ option. Choose the custom option and mention those friends’ names with which you do not want to share the post.
4. Keep all videos and pictures private
If Facebook has been your go-to social network for some years already, then you more likely are a center of attraction for hackers and stalkers.
And being an old Facebook user, you would have probably uploaded a substantial amount of pictures and videos on your account as well. Before you upload any photo or video on the timeline, you should make it private, so only your friends can view it.
I have many images posted already, how do I make the existing ones private? I hear you ask.
In that case, go to “settings” and select “make all past posts private,” simple. It will save your day of going through a thousand pictures and update their status individually.
That way only your FB friends would be able to see your uploads, including the ones you uploaded from mobile.
5. Concealing your age
Do you want to hide your age or date of birth from your friends or hackers? If yes, then head over to the Edit Profile option in the menu and proceed over the About section.
Now select Contact and then choose the Basic Info. Under it, you will view the birth date that you have mentioned on Facebook. You can restrict it to only me option so no one else could see it.
6. Hiding relationship status
Most of the people are also fond (or in need) of hiding their relationship status from their friends or stalkers.
If someone is stalking your profile then probably they want to know whether you are single, married or in a relationship. That’s common sense.
To hide your relationship status, simply go to edit profile option and check out the Family and Relationships tab. No matter whatsoever relationship you have mentioned, edit and set it to “only me” to hide it from others.
7. Restricting your friend requests
Getting Facebook requests from strangers is common. Understandably, female users get more requests as compared to male users.
If it is annoying you, then you can easily restrict the friend request by heading over to the settings and then the privacy tab. Now go to the option ‘how you connect,’ and select “friends of friends.” You are done.
It is among the essential Facebook privacy tips. What this will do is limit the group of people that can send you a friend request.
Notably, you cannot completely block people from sending you the friend requests on Facebook, but the platform allows limiting them to your “friends of friends.”
8. Hide Facebook friends list
For better Facebook privacy, you can also consider hiding the friend list as well. That way, no one would be able to know who are your friends.
If you want to keep your friends private, go to your profile by clicking on your name at the top menu. Then;
- Click on Privacy Settings.
- Next, under the “Connecting on Facebook” bold header select “View Settings” (blue link).
- Now click “See your friend list.”
- There you would find a drop-down menu, where you need to click “Customize” first; a box appear would then appear, choose “Only me.”
- Finally, click on “Save setting.” All done.
9. Limit the rights of third-party applications
Many apps such as Instagram and Twitter allow you to sign up into their platform through your Facebook account. To perform this step, you need to grant individual app permissions.
You can limit the rights of all thirty party apps which are connected to your Facebook account.
One of the most critical and little-known Facebook privacy hacks is to learn to use its app permissions kill switch feature that the social giant introduced in 2018.
The kill switch feature provides maximum Facebook privacy to users in only one-step as they can remove all applications that can access their accounts.
Thanks to Facebook kill switch, you can altogether disable all the future third-party sites login using Facebook, too
Find and using this pro-privacy feature of Facebook is pretty simple;
- Head over to your profile “Settings.”
- Then locate “Apps and Websites.” You’re home, that’s where you can manage what information you are sharing or remove any websites or applications that you no longer wish to use.
10. Avoid revealing private data in posts
You should avoid sharing the information or the data that is deemed private and can harm you in the future.
For example, you may never mention your mobile number and home address in the account information. Also, you should consider not uploading the private pictures or videos of your family celebrations.
11. Avoid sharing information which you could delete later on
Make sure you make your mind before you think about sharing any information on your Facebook wall. There is no need to share any such information that you might delete later on.
Why that’s important? I hear you ask.
Because even though if you delete something right after an hour of posting it on your Facebook wall, it will disappear from your wall, but you never know a third party might have got their hands on some (or even all) of the data already.
12. Use blocking tools
You can consider using some outside blocking tools for protecting your Facebook account data. There are many blocking tools available to serve users of different browsers.
If you use Firefox, Facebook Container is a browsing tool that offers protection against all the third-party applications.
In the case of Google Chrome, you can try Fanboy’s Anti-Third party Social add-on that works pretty much like the Facebook Container alternative for Chrome users. For complete privacy on Facebook, you can also opt to other extensions such as Unseen for Facebook.
13. Avoid sharing your password with others
Lastly, you must keep your passwords safe. Not paying attention to password security is a common cybersecurity mistake everyone makes, even the giant firms.
Alongside going with complicated passwords (a combination of words and special characters), you should keep in mind to never share your passwords with anyone else.
Admittedly, without Facebook (and other social media platforms), we cannot imagine a life.
Even though many out there might boast a love-hate relationship with the social giant, but everyone out there admits it connects the lives.
At the same time, it is vital to stay secure on Facebook. As billions of people around the world can access all your information, you can be easily prone to privacy issues and other security risks without knowing much.
When we take that all into account, it is essential to follow all the tips listed above for better Facebook privacy.
On top of paying due diligence and knowing how to adjust your Facebook account privacy settings for optimum security, using a VPN can improve the safety of your Messenger and Facebook activities drastically.
On top of providing you with best-possible Facebook privacy (and Internet security as a whole), a quality VPN like ExpressVPN will help you avoid virtual roadblocks usually set by employers, some countries (such as China and Saudi Arabia), or schools.
Images Courtesy of Pixabay.
About the author
Ali Qamar is the founder of PrivacySavvy, which he started out of the sheer passion for making every internet user privacy savvy. Ali has always been concerned about security and privacy for the general public and very libertarian. He has been a privacy advocate even before Edward Snowden appeared with his revelations about NSA's mass surveillance.
Ali graduated with a computing degree from the leading IT college in Pakistan, so he boasts a background in this area. He has an accountable understanding of the technical sides of encryption, VPNs, and privacy.
Ali is regularly quoted in the privacy and security reports by the local press. His contributions have been featured in HackRead, SecurityAffairs, Ehacking, Intego, Livewire, Business.com, InfosecMagazine, and many more publications online. Ali is naturally attracted to transforming things.