Facebook is undoubtedly one among the most popular social networking services in the world. Millions of people around the world use Facebook to connect to their friends, family and also to make new friends. But, knowingly or unknowingly users give out a lot of information about themselves on Facebook. Securing your personal information on social networking sites is extremely important, as it is not only a matter of privacy but also an important step in preventing identity theft.
Lately, Facebook has been experiencing a lot of issues regarding the privacy and security of it’s users. However, a lot of changes have been made to the privacy controls thereby making it easy for the users to control every information they share with the world.
Understanding Facebook’s Privacy Options
By default, Facebook is set to share almost everything included in your Facebook account, not only with your friends and group members but also with all the members of the networks you join. In order to protect your Facebook account it is necessary you change these settings.
i. On your Facebook homepage, click on Account (at the top-right) and select Privacy Settings from the drop-down menu.
ii. The Privacy Settings page will open. Here you can customize the information you share on Facebook. If you do not know what settings to use, it is better you select the Recommended mode.
If you are using the Custom mode, it is important you know what information should be shared and what not. To use custom settings, click on Custom mode on the left and then select Customize settings. The Customize settings page will appear. You can customize the information you want to share with your friends, friends of friends and networks. Below are a few tips on sharing information on social networks.
Tips on information sharing
Social security numbers, home address, personal numbers and e-mail ID are some of the information which are centralized to oneâ€™s personal safety and individual identity and must not be shared in any public area of the websites. Hence, it is recommended that you share this information only to yourself. Certain information such as your name, profile picture, gender and networks are always open to everyone in order to help your friends and family find you easily. You cannot disable these options. It is recommended that you share other information such as birthday, posts, relationships, photos, videos etc. only with your friends and friends of friends.
Apart from the settings regarding sharing of information, there are certain other settings you can configure such as disable public search listing, disable people other than your friends from sending you messages etc. These settings can be found in “View Settings” under the Basic Directory Information.
You can configure these settings according to your needs. In order to protect minors, Facebook has disabled public search listings and their information visibility is limited to friends of friends and networks only. Even if they change these settings, it won’t be applied.
Detailed information about privacy settings on Facebook can be found in the Facebook Privacy Guide.
Protecting your Facebook account from hackers
Recently, Facebook had introduced some new security features which enabled users to protect their account from being accessed by others without their knowledge. The new feature lets you register your computer or mobile device through which you regularly access your Facebook account and notifies you via e-mail or SMS whenever your account is accessed from a device that Facebook doesn’t recognize. Follow the steps given below to set up these notifications.
i. On your Facebook homepage, click on Account and select Account Settings from the drop-down menu.
ii. In the Account Settings page, locate Account Security and click on change.
iii. If you want to receive notifications, toggle the radio box under Would you like to receive notifications for logins from new devices? to Yes. If you have registered for Facebook Text, you will also see another box titled SMS (mobile text). Tick the radio box next to it to get notifications on your mobile phone too. Then, click on Submit.
iv. The next time you log into Facebook, you will be asked to register the device through which you are logging in. Once registered, you will immediately get an e-mail or SMS notifying you about the login.
Finally, here are a few tips that can help you protect your online privacy and security and also prevent your account from getting hacked.
1. Only add people whom you really know.
2. Block people to whom you do not want to show your information.
3. Try not to provide any sensitive information within your profile.
4. Allow only trusted games and applications to access your profile.
5. Do not download any unknown files unless sure of the contents within.
6. Beware of user-generated spam.
7. Keep your password as strong as possible. It is recommended that you use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters within your password.
8. Do not install any third party applications unless it is from a trusted vendor.
9. Do not click on any suspicious links as one can be unaware to where it might lead to.