The Cambridge Analytica scandal left a lot of people worried about how the social media company might be scraping their data and many are even deleting their Facebook profiles in progress. While deleting your Facebook profile makes little or no sense, there are other things that you can do to ensure that you give the bare minimum amount of data to the company. And that’s exactly what we will be telling you about today.
Today we are going to tell you about some Facebook settings you should change right now to make sure that the company does not violate your privacy. First things first, there are a couple of things you should do, no matter what, including checking which apps and services have access to your Facebook data and limiting the way Facebook shares your data with websites and apps.
1. Check Apps and Services
You’ll be surprised to see the sheer number of apps and services you have connected to your Facebook account over the time. It’s important to clear this up to make sure that your data is safe. In your Facebook account head over to Settings and then click on Apps. Here you can see the apps and services connected to your Facebook account. Go through them and remove the ones you don’t use anymore.
When you remove an app you will be shown a pop-up that says that the app may retain data that it has already collected. That sucks but at least it won’t be able to collect more data as you keep using Facebook over time.
Honestly, though this is something that’s very important because a large part of how Cambridge Analytica collected data was in the form of apps and services disguised as personality quizzes and more.
2. Limit the Information that Friends Share About You
One thing we were surprised to find out was when your friends access websites and services with their Facebook accounts; sometimes Facebook shares your data as well with those websites, the data that you have unknowingly allowed Facebook to share with such websites. Creepy! Yes, but there’s a way you can put a stop to it. In the Facebook Settings menu click on the EDIT button under Apps others use.
Here you can uncheck the data you don’t want Facebook to share with other websites when your friends visit them. This way, your data won’t be shared with websites and apps that your friends use. Honestly, this was one of the creepiest things we saw on Facebook. However Facebook has removed this settings in recent policy update.
3. Manage Facebook Apps’ Permissions
Facebook also does this really tricky thing where it asks you for a butt load of permissions when you install its apps on your mobile, probably something that most people don’t pay attention to. Fortunately, this is also something you can fix, at least for the future. In the Facebook app make sure you don’t give Contacts, Microphone, SMS and Telephone permissions to the app. If you have already given these permissions, you can head over to App information and revoke them. The app may need Storage permissions if you upload things from your phone and Camera permissions if you use Facebook stories or use the camera within the app to upload pictures or something. If you don’t use these (Uploading pictures and Taking pictures using camera in Facebook app), remove those permissions as well.
Similarly, in the Messenger app when you’re installing it, don’t turn on text anyone in your phone, don’t add your phone number to the messenger and don’t turn on send and receive SMS in Messenger.
If you’ve already installed Messenger, you can simply uninstall the app and reinstall it to opt out of these features. These permissions are why a lot of people are noticing that Facebook has their call histories, message histories and more all saved on its servers. These permissions are how Facebook gets that data. So, just don’t give it those permissions at all.
4. Limit the Kind of Ads Facebook Can Show You
Facebook survives on ads and it uses your personal data to target ads at you. Well, that is not something you can exactly stop but you can limit it to an extent which is better than not limiting it at all. In our opinion, in Facebook ad preferences, you can control the kind of data advertisers can target you with. You can also remove yourself from categories you don’t want to be targeted with. For example, you can remove your birthday month if you don’t want to get shopping deals around that time and spend all your money buying stuff.
Another really annoying thing is when your friends see a sponsored page with the line you (Your Name) like this. Well, we don’t like that and fortunately it is yet another thing you can opt out from. In Facebook at references, you can simply set Ads with your social actions to no one and you are all set.
While you’re in your Facebook Ad preferences Settings, there are a couple of other things that you should change as well – turn off ads based on your use of websites and apps which Facebook serves by basically stalking you around the internet.
Also turn off ads on apps and websites off the Facebook companies to prevent apps that use Facebook scan tools from using your data to target ads at you.
5. Some more settings
There are some other things you can do to ensure that you share the least amount of data with Facebook about your activities on the internet. Fortunately, they are very simple to do as well.
Firstly DON’T LOGIN WITH YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT ON THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES. If you do login on a third party website or app with Facebook, make sure you check the data it is taking.
YOU CAN ALSO DELETE YOUR UPLOADED CONTACTS FROM FACEBOOK. If you’ve ever used Messenger and allowed it access to your contacts, you will find your entire contact list on Facebook. You can click this link and see all of your uploaded contacts. Fortunately Facebook lets you delete this as well in just two clicks, click on Delete All, Confirm it and you’re done.
The point is Facebook has a lot of a personal data. It’s basically a history of your life ever since you joined the social media platform. But don’t take our word for it; you can even download a copy of your Facebook data from your Account Settings. But be warned, it will scare you, it scared us as well.
Protect Your Privacy By Changing Facebook Settings
Anyway, if you’ve been concerned with the kind of data you sharing with Facebook and how the company is using that data, following steps shown above should definitely ensure that you share a lot less data with the company. So, go ahead and change the settings on your Facebook account right now and share this with your friends because this thing is important. Be safe on social media, protect your data. Enjoy, have fun!