Pew Research Center states that 71% of all internet users use Facebook. That’s pretty much 3 out of every 4 people. With such a large community online, security has to be a concern.
So how keep your data secure on Facebook? Here are some tips to follow:
- Only connect with people you know on Facebook. If you are new to the network, friend requests will come flooding in. Make sure you know each person you allow to connect with you. Spammers and criminals depend on people who blindly accept friend requests.
- Lock down your privacy settings. It is possible to only allow your friends to see posts you make, photos you share and phots you are tagged in. You just need to make sure your privacy settings are setup correctly. Next to the notifications button on Facebook (the icon that looks like a world), hit the icon that looks like a lock and click on “Privacy Checkup”. Make sure every setting is only set to either “only me” or “friends”. I strongly recommend you use “only me” for your phone number, home address and email.
- Limit the apps that allow access to your Facebook account. Games such as Farmville and Candy Crush, other social networks such as Twitter and even search engines such as Bing use “Facebook Connect” to login to their platform or website. Limit this as much as possible. These games, social networks or search engines can gather the personal information you have put into Facebook and sell it to other third parties. It is always better to just create an account with them, rather than let them use and have access to your Facebook information.
- Make sure you ask your friends about their privacy settings. You might have taken the time to adjust all of your privacy settings, but if your friends have all of their content open to the world- that exposes you! If they tag you in a photo, share your post or comment on your post, their lack of privacy settings can allow strangers to see photos or personal information you have shared with your community of friends. If you have a friend that prefers to leave their privacy settings open to the world, ask them to please not share your posts or tag you in their posts.
Why is all of this important? This is the holidays when we are spending time with our family and friends and posting about it. How easy it that for a burglar (whom you could have inadvertently connected with via a blind Facebook friend request) to know that you have just received a ton of Christmas gifts (per the gift post you just made) and that you will be out of town visiting family (per the location post you just made)! I don’t want to discourage you from enjoying social media during these holidays, just be smart about what you post and who you connect with.