Facebook is a wonderful social media tool that allows us to share personal information, pictures and comments. However, none of us wants to share everything with everybody, so privacy settings and account security are of the utmost importance.
Most people don't know how to adequately secure their profiles, leaving their information vulnerable to people with poor intentions or, for instance, prospective employers who want to see what kind of person you are. Here are some tips for guarding your privacy:
- Look at your timeline: Facebook has a feature that allows you to view your timeline from different perspectives so you can spot if there is any information you want to remove from view. Click the drop down gear icon and choose "view as." Then you can look at your timeline from the point of view of the "public" or one of your friends.
- Login approvals: Enable login approvals and notifications on your Facebook account. The site will send you a message every time you or someone else tries to log in from a different location or device. You can then take steps to secure your account.
- Keep your friends private: Go to your "friends" page and click on the pencil icon, then click "edit privacy." This allows you to control who can see your list of friends. This is important for security reasons, because cybercriminals now take part in a practice called farcing. This is when hackers friend strangers on Facebook and use the site to gain personal information that can lead to financial gain. People often accept farcers' friendship requests because the criminal can show a list of shared friends. However, the farcer has only looked at their first victims' friend list and expanded from there until they have a network of connections that is perfect for identity theft.
- Secure browsing: When accessing Facebook over public wifi, like in Starbucks or the library, make sure you're using secure browsing. You can tell a site is secure if it has an "s" at the end of the http.
- Sign out remotely: If you've accessed your Facebook account from a friend's laptop or the computer at the library, then you can always sign out remotely. To do this, go to "account settings" and then "security." Under the "active sessions" page, click "end all activity." Facebook will then close all your open accounts on all devices.
- Sort your friends: Separate your friends into lists so that you can specify how much content you want to share with each circle of friends. For instance, you could make a list called "acquaintances" and allow this group to view less of your profile than your "family" list can. To make a list, go to your profile and click "friends." Then, check the box next to the word "friends" and you'll be able to create lists.
- Two-factor authentication: To add an extra layer of security to your account and for added identity theft protection, enable two-factor verification. This means that a code will be sent to your cell phone each time you log onto the site. Once you enter the code and your password you'll have full access.
- Use a code: If you use the Facebook mobile app, it's important to keep a code lock on your phone. You can even reprogram your mobile device to accept codes longer than the traditional four digits, making it even harder to crack.