As you may have heard in the news all over the place, Facebook has failed to protect your privacy. You and I might feel worried about how our personal data has been used and why it has been used. No one knows, yet. We hope that nothing serious would happen. You as a user of Facebook, may or may not aware of how Facebook has been either selling or using your personal data for advertising but you can take precautions to protect your private information by several steps before and after you use Facebook.
It is easy to get angry about what the lack of cyber security of Facebook has done, but it’s not the end of the world. According to reports by Cambridge Analytica, they have used Facebook user’s data to promote a political campaign for the election of 2016. Here, as a computer major student and developer, I am going to tell you five ways to protect your privacy while using Facebook. It’s doable by an average person without any technical expertise.
1. Always log out from Facebook
You should always log out from the Facebook after using it for numerous reasons. First, by doing so, you’re decreasing the chance of your personal information being stolen or misuse. I’m claiming that Facebook use your private data without your permission, but there are more chances that your other activities (e.g., browsing) might be recorded for various purposes. Also, someone you know or complete stranger might take your phone and post whatever he/she would like to post. So, it’s a best practice that you should do it.
2. Use the "incognito" searching mode
You have seen a notice either in the header or footer of the webpage saying “this website use cookie... Accept/OK!..” Well, those people want to know what do you like/search on the internet so they can give you advertising according to it. Your browsing history, cookies and site data, and information entered in forms would be saved/accessed if you do not choose to go incognito. Incognito mode means “browse privately” (Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N). Since you have a Facebook account, your preferences about products and browsing are more likely to be accessed by other websites that have like and share buttons. In short, go incognito!
3. DO NOT log in with Facebook for other websites
According to Facebook recent privacy updates, they are limiting how developers can use your login information. However, you should avoid to Sign Up or Login using Facebook for numerous reasons. First, if you log in to other sites with Facebook login, you are sharing your personal and private information with them indirectly. Someone would need your full name, email, and a city that you’re currently live to track you down or at least figure out who you are. You are more likely to get tons of ads on your browser and Facebook page. If you hate ads, then you should avoid using Facebook to Sign Up or Login to other websites.
4. Manage Facebook apps that you use
Go to (Settings⇒ Apps and Websites) to make changes of your choice. You will be surprised by how many apps and websites you are going to find that you no longer use. You should remove all apps that you don’t use frequently. Also, you should click on each app’s (View & Edit) to make changes how they should use your private information. Personally, I want to suggest that DO NOT use apps or websites that would tell you “who are your top 5 best friends?” or “how much money you will make in 10 years,” etc. These are spams. By using this tools, you’re putting your privacy in danger.
5. Manage Facebook ads
This is my favorite one, and this is the on that I’m most pissed about for numerous reasons. You will be shocked after looking what kind of categories Facebook has set up to give you the “perfect matching” ads. You will also be surprised after clicking on your interest tab. You will be amazed by how powerful Facebook Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool is. You may or may not remove whatever preferences you no longer have about any categories. You should check “Your Information” tab to make sure that what kind of information you are sharing with whatever company. You should also hide whatever ad topics that you don’t want to see.
MUST DO: You should click here to here to see if your personal information has been shared with Cambridge Analytica or not (you must be logged in).
In short, these are some basic precautions that you can take to protect your privacy if you are a Facebook user. The primary purpose of this article is not to oppose what Facebook does for their user, but it is to inform them about how to protect their private data besides what Facebook does or will do. In the 21st century, cybersecurity is becoming the biggest concern, and we should be aware of what do we share online because once it’s out, it stays there forever. I hope that after reading this article, you would know how to protect your privacy while using Facebook. See you next week!
To see Facebook’s current practice, click here.