How to Take Your Privacy Back on Facebook
As a digital agency with an emphasis on security, we’re getting lots of questions from friends and clients asking what people should do in the wake of the Facebook privacy concerns. So, we made this blog.
First: A Run Down on Facebook Privacy News
Facebook holds a wealth of information about its users and, unfortunately, some of that information was leaked out to other organizations.
A third-party Facebook app, called This Is Your Digital Life, began collecting information from users by asking them to complete a personality quiz in exchange for some dough. Here is where it gets hairier: information was gathered about the user who decided to use the app and also their friends.
Facebook’s standards at that time allowed this. The issue Facebook has with the third-party app stems from what happened after. Namely, the data was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm.
This news left many feeling exposed and violated. If you’re searching how to regain some privacy and hopefully protect yourself the next time something like this happens, you’ve come to the right place.
Before we dive in though: do you really need Facebook? If the answer is “nah”, you can always delete or deactivate your account. Those wanting the weekly photos of their niece and the updates on that-high-school-acquaintance’s birthday party should carry forth.
Get Your Face Out of Facebook’s Recognition Software
Ahh yes, who doesn’t want Facebook to gather some information about your face, something as unique as a fingerprint?
The Fix: Head to Settings → Privacy → Face Recognition.
Stop Facebook Integrating With Other Apps
You know all those times you installed an application and you had the option to either create an account from scratch — so. many. fields. can’t. type. email. address. — or — look! — you can do the one-click option to link your Facebook account. Like the rest of us, you probably chose the latter option. Bad news folks: through these linked apps, Facebook can monitor your activity even when you’re not on the Facebook app.
The Fix: Settings → Apps → Remove for every app. You can also go to Edit and change the permissions for each application. Also, in this section, you can completely remove the ability to integrate Facebook with apps.
Hide or Remove Personal Information
Remove some basic information you’ve volunteered— do you really need everyone knowing your birthday? We recommend at least removing the year of your birth. That’s personal information people really don’t need to know it. Err on the reserved side; remove anything you don’t want absolutely everyone and their mother to know.
The Fix: View your profile and click on the edit button next to details about you. In there, you can edit who can see your birthday, city you live in, etc. Go ahead and do an editing spree and remove items. Mystery is intriguing folks, we promise.
Stop Facebook From Monitoring Your Location
Turn off location services for every device you use, especially when you’re not using the app. For different devices, the process is a little different.
The Fix: Visit this webpage to walk you through the process for your device. Repeat this process for other apps too.
Tell Facebook What You Don’t Want Considered for Advertisements
Every like, every dislike, every ad click — kind of reminds us of this creepy love song — for an ad is being monitored by Facebook and turned into data to determine ads to show you in the hopes of conversion.
If you don’t want Facebook to give your political ideology or other personal information to advertisers for determining whether you should be targeted for an ad, you’ll need to go through the information they have on file and remove items you don’t want considered.
The Fix: Settings → Ads. Go through all the information they have. While you’re there, put No one for the Ads that include your social actions. You can also opt for Facebook to no longer gain information about you on other sites for advertisements, by not allowing Ads based on my use of websites and apps and Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere — you’ll still get the same number of ads but they’ll be less targeted.
Get Your Facebook Profile Off A Google Search
If you don’t want your Facebook profile — and the accompanying profile picture of you partying it up on NYE — to show up on searches outside of Facebook, you’ll need to change this in your settings.
The Fix: Settings → Privacy → Edit (next to Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?)
Stop Getting Facebook Ads From Brands or Products You Don’t Want
Sure, we’d love to live in a world where our Facebook feed is uninterrupted by ads, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Make the experience a little more enjoyable and let Facebook know when you don’t want to receive an ad about something anymore.
The Fix: On the unappealing ad, click on the drop-down menu. Choose Hide advert to stop seeing similar ads. You can also click Why am I seeing this? to ban the particular advertiser or go through more advertising options.
If You’ve Learned Nothing Else … Please Stop Taking Those Quizzes
Don’t take another quiz. Please. We know it’s tempting to find out which Harry Potter character you are or what ice cream treat fits your taste, but, the data from those quizzes will likely be shared.
The Fix: Stop taking the quizzes. On Facebook and other sites and apps. Also, trust no one. Kidding about that last part.
We hope this information proves helpful as you take back some of your privacy on Facebook. Of course, as a digital agency, who manages Facebook ads, we understand these changes could, long-term, impact our ability to target consumers. But, we’re proponents of everyone understanding how ads are reaching them and being equipped to change the amount of information advertising platforms have about you. While you’re on a roll, go ahead and beef up your passwords by reading this blog.