Privacy on Facebook
The latest data leak leaves thousands of users compromised, and more paranoid
Don't run screaming from the platform just yet, though. Attorney David J. Glatthorn wants you to know how to download your data, and how to protect your identity online.
How do I protect my privacy?
The information leaked has, so far, not resulted in any claims of identity theft. Still, that is not much consolation to those affected. Facebook assumes your political stance, collects information on you based on ad preferences, and generally has its own file on your online persona. For the sake of protecting privacy, there are a few ways to make it harder for Facebook to have specific details on your life:
- DON'T list your phone number on your profile.
- AVOID listing your specific location and turn Facebook's location tracking off. A popular way of throwing off location is to list a city that you live near, rather than the city you actually live in.
- DON'T neglect privacy checkups; update privacy settings regularly. Many parts of your profile can be set to "be seen only by me."
- DON'T overshare. Tagging pictures of friends (especially their children), the location of that new restaurant you're trying out, or announcing you will be away from home for the weekend can all be dangerous.
- DO download your Facebook data.
What else should I avoid posting?
While social media gives us an accessible platform to share our lives, we must be aware of the fact that it is watched. You may forget what parts of your profiles are public, and you may simply get too comfortable sharing your life online. Here is a quick guide on what NOT to post in copious amounts on social media:
- Personal complaints about work or coworkers.
- Any details about legal involvement. These can be used against you in court.
- When you are away on vacation.
- Pictures with Geotags.
- Information about your current job duties or projects.
- Pictures of children with their names tagged.
What IS safe to post?
- Pictures of pets - everyone loves a cute dog selfie.
- Thoughts, opinions, anything on your mind. However, users should refrain from posting things they would not want shared with their employer (or a potential future employer).
- Selfies and other fun, appropriate photos
- Life updates - with the personal and location information censored and/or removed, it's very safe to let your friends congratulate you on a life event!
- Ideas and inspirations. Social media is a great gathering of minds!
How to Download Your Facebook Data
All of your clicks, tags, and uploaded content have been honed into targeted ads. How do you access your data to see just what has been taken?
- Log in to Facebook.
- Go to Settings.
- Go to "General Account Settings."
- Under your basic information, there should be a link to "download a copy of your Facebook data."
In your settings, you can also turn off the option to continuously upload call and text information while keeping contact uploading enabled. This action claims to delete the logs. Some people have also deleted the messenger app off their phone.
Thankfully, there are steps we can take to ensure we feel a bit safer on social media. Be proactive about security and think carefully before you share, and you can continue to enjoy Facebook and other social platforms while protecting your privacy.