Can you keep your Facebook info safe?
Over the weekend, Cambridge Analytica revealed they allegedly harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook profiles.
We know. You shouldn't have to keep tweaking your Facebook privacy and security settings to avoid having your personal information shared, sold and whatever. You've trusted them and legally they are required to keep it reasonably safe.
But after that, it gets a bit more complicated.
As Facebook allowed third-party developers to create apps for you to "use," they also left gaping holes in security that allowed your personal information (and in some cases, your friends' info) to be gathered.
Smart users are left with being responsible for their own privacy.
Over the weekend, Cambridge Analytica, a company that profiled voters for Donald Trump’s campaign, allegedly harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook profiles, which they used to influence and wage a "culture war" during the 2016 election.
But this wasn't a data breach - Facebook allowed this data to leave its hands.
So - back to the original question - how can you keep your personal info safe from another data grab?
The most simple way is to delete your Facebook account. For many, that's not a real option, since it's become an important part of staying in touch with family and friends.
You can, however, control your data going through Facebook's API (Application Programming Interface) which is how developers integrate their apps with the social media giant.
The downside is that this disables all platform apps, including Farmville, Twitter or even Facebook's own Instagram. This will also disable your ability to log into other websites using your Facebook login.
You've been warned.
But if you are serious about this data thing, here's what to do:
On your phone:
- Open the Facebook app on your phone, hit that three line button and go to “settings,” then click "account settings."
- Scroll down to "apps," and that's where you can see all the apps that are logged in with your Facebook account.
- To remove the apps from your Facebook account, scroll to the bottom and click "remove app" for every app.
On your desktop browser:
Log into Facebook and visit the App Settings page (or go there manually via the Settings Menu > Apps).
From there, click the "Edit" button under "Apps, Websites and Plugins." Click "Disable Platform."
If disabling platform entirely is too much, there is another setting that can help: limiting the personal information accessible by apps that others use. By default, other people who can see your info can bring it with them when they use apps, and your info becomes available to those apps. You can limit this as follows.
From the same page, click "Edit" under "Apps Others Use." Then uncheck the types of information that you don't want others' apps to be able to access. For most people reading this post, that will mean unchecking every category.
Some people may want to leave Facebook entirely. There are a couple of options to do that: You can deactivate your account through Facebook's website, which is temporary, and means that people will still be able to see you on Facebook. Or, you can delete your account permanently by clicking here. It can take one month to delete your account and three months for all of your information to be deleted, according to Facebook.