The Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy

Facebook “ve never” been particularly good at prioritizing your privacy. Your data powers its business, after all. But recent discoveries that a house announced Cambridge Analytica collected the personal information of 50 million unwitting Facebook users in 2015 has created new sense of urgency for those working hoping for some modicum of restrict over their online life. If “youve been” requirement a wake-up summon, this is it.

The good report: Despite the repeated, public privacy omissions, Facebook does offer a fairly robust specify of tools to verify who knows what about you–both on the programme and around the web. The bad news: Facebook doesn’t always clear those determines easy to find, and they may not all offer the level of protection you want.

Fear not! Below, we’ll tread you through the steps you need to take to keep advertisers, third-party apps, strangers, and Facebook itself at bay. And if after all that you still appear too uncovered? We’ll show you how hanging in there entirely.

Keep Apps in Check

Over the years you’ve expended Facebook, you’ve likely leaved various apps permission to tap into its data trove. And why not? At the time it’s a simple enough seek, a space to share photos more easily, or find acquaintances from all the regions of the app diaspora.

In doing so, though, you’re granting developers deep penetration into your Facebook profile. And until Facebook tightened up dispensations in 2015, you were also potentially telling them see information about your friends, as well; Cambridge Analytica scored all that data not from a hack, but because the developer of a lawful quiz app elapsed it to them.

So! Experience to audit which apps you’ve give pussyfoot on your Facebook account, and give the boot to any that don’t have a very good reason for being there. That’s most of them.

On a desktop–you can do this on mobile as well, but it’s more streamlined on a computer–head to the downward-facing arrow in the upper-right reces of your screen, and click Privacy.( You’re going to expend a lot of epoch here today .) Now go to Apps, and gaze upon what your heedles permissions-granting hath wrought.

On this page, you can see a inventory of apps with better access to your Facebook profile information.

OK, so maybe it’s not that bad. Or perhaps it is! I have friends who discovered well over a dozen apps hiding within the Logged in with Facebook pane; I exclusively have four, but that’s because I did some spring cleanup recently. Either channel, you can see not only what apps are there, but how much info they’re toilet to. For instance: I haven’t used IFTTT in years, but for some reason it has access to my Friend list, my timeline, my work biography, and my birthday.

To repealed any of those dispensations, go over and click the pencil. To scrap the app altogether, made the X. You’ll get a pop-up asking if you’re sure. Yes, you’re sure. Click Remove to make it official.

An important note here: Those developers still have whatever data related to you that they’ve compiled up to this degree. You have to contact them immediately requesting them to to remove it, and they’re under no obligation to do so. To at least prepare the struggle, find the app on Facebook and send them a word. If they ask for your User ID, you can find that back on the Apps page by clicking on the app in question and moving all the style down.

It feels like you should be done now, but you’re not. From that same Apps page, go down just a smidge further to Apps, Websites, and Plugins. If you don’t want Facebook bleeding into any other part of your online experience–that’s competitions, consumer charts, apps, you identify it–then click Disable Platform. This been in a position to unintended repercussions, specially if you’ve use Facebook to login to other websites! Merely one lane to be informed about, though.

And then scroll down only one more teensy fragment to Apps Others Use, where you’ll see about a dozen fragments of data concerning you, like your birthday, or if you’re online, that your best friend might unwittingly be sharing with apps and websites. Uncheck anything you don’t want out there in the world, which is candidly likely all of it.( UPDATE: As it is about to change, this setting doesn’t actually do anything, and hasn’t for years. Facebook somehow never got around to changing it .)

OK , now you’re done. With apps. There’s still a lot left, though.

Bad Ads

Back to the Settings panel! This time head to Ads, which you’ll find right below Apps.( The happening that neither of these fall under Security or Privacy should tell you all you need to know about Facebook’s disposition here .)

Just to be clear, Facebook–along with Google, and tons of faceless ad networks–tracks your every move online, even if you don’t have an accounting. That’s the internet we’re stuck with for now, and no quantity of establishes tweaks can fix it. What you can do, though, is take a modicum of authority over what Facebook does with that information.

That pair of shoes that recurs your News Feed, even though you already bought a similar pair? Exorcise them by revolving off Ads based on my implement of websites and apps.

“Online interest-based ads” are circulars which are dependent on access to your browsing activity.

Also say no to Ads on apps and websites off the Facebook corporations, which incorporates all the non-Facebook roles internet where the company provides up ads–which is pretty much everywhere. Then leader straight-out down the line to Ads with your social actions, which you should only leave on in the event you want to share with “the worlds” that you accidentally clicked Like on that sponsored upright from a furniture busines who are likely to exists only on a server in Luxembourg.

And for some fun insight into what Facebook thinks you’re into, click on Your Stakes. There you’ll encounter the categories that Facebook uses to tailor-make ads to your Liking. You can clear out any that fus you by clicking the X in the upper-righthand area when you poise over, but principally it’s a fun assignment in how digital advertisers purify your centre. You’ll also likely find at the least one stun; Facebook reckons I’m into IndyCar, which frankly, maybe, if I’d only devote it a chance.

Please remember that none of this will in any way change the number of members of ads you see on Facebook or around the web. For that, you’ll requirement an ad blocker.

Friends Focus

After a decade on Facebook, you’ve likely picked up friends along the way you no longer recognize–not just their profile paint, their appoint and context. Who are all these parties? Why are they Liking my baby pics? Why aren’t they liking my child pics?

To get a handle on who can see which of your berths, it’s finally time to thought to Settings then Privacy.

Start with Who can see my uprights, then click on Who can see my future posts to manage your defaults. You’ve got options! You can go full-on public and share with “the worlds”, or limit your circle by geography, boss, institutions, radicals, you appoint it. Whatever you pick will be your default from here on out.

Whatever you pick, instantly go to Limit the gathering for berths you’ve associated itself with friends of friends or public? to acquire that choice retroactive. In other paroles, if you had a public chronicle til now, changing your fixeds won’t automatically become your past poles private. You have to get into a few additional clicks for that.

Not everyone you know needs to see everything you do.

Skip onward down to How People Find and Contact You, since that’s thankfully fairly simple. Nip all the locates to your taste. The main note here: Don’t share your email or phone number unless you utterly have to, and if you do, keep the clique as small-scale as possible.( If you do have to share one or the other with Facebook for account roles, you can secrete them by going to your chart sheet, clicking Contact and Basic Info, then Edit when you mouse over the email field. From there, click on the downward arrow with two silhouettes to customize who can see it, including no one but you .)

And while we’re almost done with this part, firstly we have to talk about tagging. If there is a desire to label you on Facebook, there’s not much you can do about it. Sorry! But they are able to at least stop those embarrassing pics from indicating up in your timeline. Enable the option to Review posts you’re tagged in before the upright appear on your timeline so they are able to clear anything out that you’d rather not look there.

Then, foreman to Timeline and Tagging in the left-hand menu. There you can restriction who can berth to your timeline, who can see which berths, who can see what you’re labelled in, and so on. Your indulgence here will vary depending on how active a Facebook user you are and how objectionable your best friend can be, but at the least it’s helpful for placing custom audiences that exclude people–your boss, perhaps, or an ex–you clearly don’t want taking an active role in your Facebook experience.

To test out those changes, top to Inspect what other beings hear on your timeline, where you can see what your detail looks like through the eyes of a set of parties or a specific friend.

One last-place act: You’ll ascertain a Face Recognition option in the left-hand menu pane as well. It has some genuine helps, like letting you know if someone is using a photograph of you in their account for trolling or parody. But if you’re fundamentally more creeped out by Facebook’s algorithms hunting for your look than by potential human morons, plow ahead and swap it off.

What About Russians?

While it still sounds like the subplot to a lesser Die Hard installment, dozens of Russian propagandists really did infiltrate Facebook only a few years ago. Did you follow or like one of their accountings? Find out for certain here, acquiring Facebook doesn’t is again upwardly revise the amount. And then find a way to get that relation in front of your aunt. You know which one I mean.

Is Facebook Listening To Everything I Say?

By this place, it’s a trope: You have a casual conversation about umbrellas with your roommate–as one does–and a few hours later, umbrella ads spate your News Feed. Surely this signifies Facebook’s using your smartphone’s mic to eavesdrop, right?

Well , no, sorry! As we’ve explained here and others have investigated abroad, Facebook’s not actually hijacking your microphone. For starters, it would be wildly impossible is not simply to sort through all that data, but to figure out which statements represented anything.

Besides, worrying about Facebook snooping distracts from the far more referring fact that it doesn’t have to. The thoughts you and your friends do online, and whatever it is you do them, and when, and how, and from what sites, all organize more than enough of a profile to inform ads that feel like Facebook isn’t just listening in on your conversations, but on your private thinks. So, please do feel better about the mic thing, but much, much worse about the regime of internet tracking, targeting, and marketing at large.

Going Nuclear

If even moving through all of these settings tweaks has left you exhausted, much less actually implementing them, you do have a more efficient option: pulling the plug altogether.

Before you do this: First, do recognize that this won’t solve all of your online ad woes. You’ll still be tracked, targeted, and so on across the web, both by Facebook and other ad networks. They’ll all have that much less info to work with, though! So that’s something.

And second, if you do decide to go through with it, think it is right downloading your history firstly. There’s no reason to lose all those photos and statuses and such. To retain those reminiscences offline, chief to Settings> General Account Settings> Download a facsimile of your Facebook data and click Start my archive. Facebook will email you with a download relation when it’s ready, which you should pounce on since it’ll expire eventually.

OK all set? Here we go. Head back to Settings again, where you’ll begin in General. Click on Manage Account, move past the gruesome “what happens to my social media presence when I die” chips, and click Deactivate my chronicle. You’ll need to enter your password here, look at photos of friends who will “miss” you, take a speedy investigation about why you’re bailing, and then click Deactivate one more time.

There are several steps to deleting your note. Be sure to ended all of them.

Please note that you have not yet actually deleted your report! You’ve just applied it in hibernation, in case “youve been” decide to come back. For full-on deletion–which aims if you do decide to go back you’ll have to start from scratch–head to this link right here. That’ll put you exactly a password entry and a CAPTCHA away from freedom. There’s a slow of a few epoches though, and if you sign back on in the interim, Facebook will go ahead and cancel that deletion request. So stick to your artilleries, don’t log in, and perhaps remove the Facebook app from your telephone just in case.

And that’s it! You’re clear, at the least until Facebook changes its privacy alternatives once again. Whether you decide to stay or leave, the important thing is to take as much control over how your data goes used as possible. Sometimes that’s still not a lot–but it’s something.


That’s What Friends Are For

A recap of the week a hurricane dropped Facebook

Cambridge Analytica’s targeting efforts maybe didn’t work, but Facebook should be humiliated regardless

If you want to be done with Facebook altogether, remember that it owns Instagram too

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