How to Protect Your Data on Facebook

This past week, Facebook faced multiple lawsuits from users whose data was used inappropriately by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm. The data of more than 50 million users was compromised in this breach. Is there such a thing as privacy on Facebook? No, not completely. But that doesn’t mean you should delete your Facebook page—you do want to stay in front of your customers.

“Straight talk. Facebook has over two billion active users, 70 million business pages, six million advertisers, and in my opinion, the most targeted advertising tools out there. That means you’d be crazy to delete your page, but you do need to know how to protect your privacy and the data you’ve shared with Facebook,” said Brianna Wristbridge, Haven’s director of social media. “In response to their latest crisis, Facebook is making it easier to know what you’re sharing with whom. Previously it would take combing through 22  landing pages to find that out—in the next few weeks you’ll be able to find that in one place. Change is good!”

Here are a few practical ways you can protect your data and prevent your information from being stolen or used inappropriately:

Watch Out for Third-Party Apps

There are various risks in using any third-party app, including (and perhaps especially) those connected to Facebook. The important thing to remember is that when you use a third-party app through Facebook, that third-party app has access to all of your Facebook data, often including your login credentials. Use third-party apps sparingly, and when you do use them, make sure you know the brand that created the app, double-check and restrict your profile privacy settings, and remove personal details from your profile. You can remove third-party apps and revoke these apps’ data access by going to the Privacy section of your Facebook Account Settings.

Think Again Before Taking that Quiz

Of course we all want to know more about our personality type, and even some of us might want to know which Disney character we are most like. But think again before taking that Facebook quiz. Facebook quizzes act much like third-party apps, pulling your data and distributing it to digital marketing firms. We love digital marketing—after all, it’s a huge part of what we do at Haven—but we also want your information to remain secure. Not all digital marketing firms will handle your data with integrity.

Limit Who Can See Your Posts

Within the Privacy section of your Facebook Accounts Settings, you can restrict who is able to see your posts. It is a good idea to restrict your settings so that only your friends can see your data. Enabling your friends and their friends to see your posts (one of the setting options) may seem like a good idea but consider the fact that you don’t know all of your friends’ friends, and if they have accidentally friended someone unknown, that unknown person can access your data if they can see your posts.

What Is Facebook Doing to Secure Your Data?

Facebook is taking steps in response to this data breach. The company has promised to investigate apps that retain large amounts of user data, restrict developers’ access to user data, and create a new tool that will show you which apps you are using and give you a quick way to revoke those apps’ access to your data.

While Facebook is taking action, you also need to take responsibility for protecting your data. Following the steps mentioned above will help ensure that your data on Facebook is kept secure. Be cognizant of who has access to your information, control what information they have, and maintain your social media presence with confidence.