Facebook has touched nearly every aspect of our lives in the past decade, and it looks like it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The social media titan boasts more than 2 billion monthly active users, with around 1.62 billion visiting the platform daily. Tap or click here to visit Kim Komando on Facebook.
And now, Facebook is working itself into our professional lives through its new video chatting service that directly competes with Zoom. Tap or click here to see if it’s really worth using.
If you’re relying on Facebook more to stay in touch, it’s the perfect time to adjust your privacy and security
1. Clear your history using ‘Off-Facebook Activity’
Facebook is constantly keeping tabs on your activity — on and off its site. Apps and websites automatically check if you’re still logged in and report what you’re doing online back to Facebook.
This data used to be a well-concealed part of Facebook’s advertising strategy. Not anymore. Adjust and even delete what the company knows through a menu called “Off-Facebook Activity.”
The Clear History button is a bit of a misnomer. It disconnects your profile data from your account, which stops Facebook from serving you targeted ads. It won’t completely stop it from gathering analytics reports from other websites, though. You’ll have to log out first to stop that.
The Manage Future Activity tool acts as a more permanent version of Clear History. When you turn it off, it stops companies from sending Facebook ad-targeting data about you.
Keep in mind that disabling Future Activity prevents you from signing into other apps and websites with Facebook.
To clear your history on the mobile app:
- Tap the three-line menu in the bottom right of the Facebook app.
- Select Settings.
- Scroll down and select Off-Facebook Activity.
- Examine the apps that use your activity and make sure you want to remove the information.
- Tap Clear History.
To clear your history on the Facebook website:
- Click on the dropdown menu arrow at the top right of Facebook and click Settings & Privacy.
- Select Settings.
- Tap Your Facebook Information in the left column.
- Click Off-Facebook Activity to review. From here, click Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity.
- You’ll be asked to re-enter your password. Once you’re verified, it will show you the apps and sites that have shared ads with your Facebook account.
- When you’re ready to clear this information, click Clear History.
2. Hide your location
Facebook uses location data to serve you news or sell you things. If you disable location services, it won’t be able to use your precise location to target you with ads. Unfortunately, Facebook still has access to your network location, so you’ll need to disable the feature on both your phone and the app.
To disable location services on an iPhone:
- Go to the phone’s Settings and tap Privacy.
- Tap Location Services, followed by Facebook.
- Tap Never to disable location services.
To disable location services on an Android phone:
- Go to the phone’s Settings and tap Privacy.
- Tap Permissions Manager, followed by Location. Choose Facebook.
- Tap Deny to disable location services.
Once you’re finished with adjusting your phone’s permissions, follow these steps to disable location tracking in the app:
- Tap the icon with the three lines in the bottom right.
- Tap Settings & Privacy, followed by Privacy Shortcuts.
- Tap Manage Your Location Settings, followed by Location Services.
- Tap Location and select Never.
3. Disable Facial Recognition
Not every friend on your list needs to know the intimate details of your life. This is even riskier when you factor in how many fake profiles are floating around. Tap or click to see how to spot the fakes. Limit the audience of your posts so only specific people can see them.
From your computer, follow these steps:
- Open Settings & Privacy again, then Settings and click on Privacy.
- Scroll down to Who can see your future posts? and click Edit. You can adjust the settings for specific audiences here.
- Scroll down to Limit Past Posts to change who can access your previous content.
People accidentally share all kinds of personal facts and information without realizing it. Changing this setting can protect you from getting phished or stop a hacker from correctly guessing one of your security questions.
8. Stop your activity from being advertised (literally)
Ever see an advertisement that tells you which of your friends Liked it? That’s because Facebook automatically uses these endorsements to target ads to you and your friends. And if you Like something, your friends will see the same kinds of ads.
Of course, they’re not asking your permission. But you can disable the setting to keep your interests and Likes more private. Follow these steps on your desktop:
- Under Settings & Privacy, select Settings, then click Ads, followed by Ad Settings.
- Click Social Interactions and select Only Me.
9. Avoid those Like and Share buttons on other parts of the web
Whenever you use a Facebook button on another website, you’re feeding the beast that is Facebook’s ad machine. Every Share, Like and recommendation, becomes part of the data feed that Facebook uses to tailor its algorithm.
Even if you’ve disabled tracking outside of Facebook, using these buttons is like permitting it to know what you’re doing. You don’t need to change any settings to avoid the pitfalls of these buttons. Just don’t use them.
If you must share something, do it the old fashioned way by copying and pasting it into a post.
10. Clean up your Friends List
Having a lot of Facebook friends means a larger audience witnessing your personal and private life. You probably don’t need thousands of people to see the private ins-and-outs of your social life.
Plus, studies have shown that people who frequently accept new friend requests actually run a higher risk of being targeted by fake accounts. Tap or click here to see why that is.
For the sake of privacy, you’re better off cleaning up your Friends list. To do this, open Facebook on your phone or computer and visit any one of your friends’ profiles. Locate the button labeled Friends and click or tap it.
On the dropdown that appears, you’ll be able to select Unfriend. Do this for anyone you’re not 100% sure about or don’t know closely. Facebook isn’t a contest, and having more friends doesn’t make your account more complete.
Now that you’ve ironed out your privacy settings, you can feel a bit more relaxed when using the Messenger Rooms feature. Just make sure you don’t give the game away on video chat. You still have a right to your privacy, whether you’re on camera or not.