Over the past few days, it's likely that you've heard about Cambridge Analytica. The market research firm stands accused of developing an app to harvest the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users. It then allegedly used this data to influence the 2016 US presidential election and Brexit referendum.
That's pretty scary, right? At the end of the day, Facebook is supposed to be a place where you can watch videos of cute cats, have a nose at the things happening in your loved ones' lives, and keep in contact with your family and friends. You shouldn't have to worry about your data being abused by third-parties.
But there's nothing that can change the fact that this is a very real and concerning situation. Luckily, though, there are a number of ways to secure your Facebook account and use the social networking platform safely. You can even delete it, should you still have some worries. Here's how.
Create a strong password
Being cautious with your Facebook password is the easiest way to fend off hackers. Firstly, you should try and use separate log-in details for different social media platforms. It's also best if you keep it to yourself, and try to ensure it's complex. So you should avoid using recognisable and common names. Usually, it's good to have a combination of letters and numbers. Facebook explains that a strong password "should be difficult to guess".
Mobile number confirmation
Another good way to secure your Facebook account is to link it to your mobile number. This is thought to boost security significantly. So if you ever forget your password, you can alert Facebook and get sent a one-time password via text message. Using this, you're able to reset your account details quickly and securely. It also prevents people from trying to change your password without you knowing. You can add your mobile number by going to ‘settings' >> ‘mobile'.
Facebook also sports a login approval feature, which adds an extra layer of security for when you log into your account. Essentially, every time you go to enter your email and password, you're sent a special pin to gain access to your profile. To get this up and running, you just have to head to ‘settings' >> ‘security' >> use two-factor authentication.
Alongside two-factor authentication, you can also opt to get into your account by identifying a profile picture - as opposed to a password. Granted, these techniques make it slightly longer to get into your account, but they're easy ways to make your account a lot more secure.
Other security features
There are a few other nifty security features. For instance, you can list three to five friends as trusted contacts when you're locked out of your account. Basically, when you forget your password, your friends can send you a code and URL to help you get back onto Facebook. This is listed as an option under the ‘setting up extra security tab" in account settings.
If you're still concerned with account privacy, you can ask Facebook to send you a message when someone attempts to get into your account from another device or browser. Most of the time, you'll end up triggering these alerts (like when you get a new phone), but there's nothing wrong with staying ahead of the curve. You can request encrypted notification emails, too.
When it comes to privacy, you can control who sees your posts. You have the option to make them open to the public or just to friends. You even have the ability to stop certain people from seeing your content. To enable these features, go to ‘settings' >> ‘privacy'.
You can easily deactivate your account as well. To do this, just head to ‘settings' >> ‘general' >> manage account. Facebook will ask you why you're deleting your account, but it doesn't take long to get through this stage. And you end up changing your mind, you can get your account back by simply logging back in (which reveals that whilst your profile is deleted publicly, Facebook still holds on to your data).
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