Cheat Sheet: How To Keep Yourself Safe On Facebook In 2020

Cheat Sheet: How To Keep Yourself Safe On Facebook In 2020

Nobody would blame you for worrying about your safety over the recent news about Facebook, where hundreds of people woke up one morning to find that many more blank Facebook accounts had suddenly been made with their names. It's scary enough that someone could be out there impersonating you online, what more the real dangers that it poses with the fake news it could spread, or the trouble it would bring if it posted anything illegal? 

Those are real concerns, and it would definitely help to soothe those worries with a quick look through all the options available to keep you safe and comfortable online: 

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Use the privacy checkup option

The question mark tab next to your notifications should drop down to reveal some important things for your experience on Facebook, such as options for help on Facebook. One of the more important things to look for here should be the tab for "Privacy Checkup," which will give you an overview of all the things you need to maintain your privacy on Facebook. It's from here where you could get a quick and general look at all the things concerning your privacy on Facebook.

Facebook privacy checkup
Where to find the Privacy checkup
Facebook privacy checkup
The Privacy Checkup options

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Check out your settings

Looking through your settings is a good first step to take in securing your account, especially when you click through to the "Privacy" tab there. It's from this tab where you can limit the ways that people can find your profile, see what you've posted, and even what kinds of people can send you a friend request.

Tech website recommends setting things up for only friends to see your posts, and  selecting "Only me" for the option that lets others search for your profile using your email address and cellphone number. 

Keep your account secure

Under the "Security and Login" tab of your settings, you can find the options to keep people from getting into your account, such as password and login settings. A good first step would be to review the devices that your account is active on, and you'll have the option to log yourself out of unfamiliar or unused devices from there. 

You can also find the option to change your password here. According to these tips from Google Support, a longer password is always more secure. A good way to keep a password long but memorable is to use things such as sentences, song lyrics, or even an abbreviation of something you won't forget as a password. It would also be smart to "use a different password for each of your important accounts," as having the same password for your Facebook account and email could lead to trouble if someone ever discovered that!

The more security-minded out there could also activate Two-Factor Authentication under this tab. This will make it so that all logins into your account will have to be verified via an app or through text message first, making sure that only you can get into this account so long as you have your cellphone or the app with you. 

Should the worst happen and you get locked out of your account, it's under this tab as well where you can find the option to set up your own "Trusted Contacts," where you can choose three to five friends you trust to help log you back in.

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Look through your apps

It wasn't too long ago when it was uncovered that Cambridge Analytica, a British company that worked in political campaigns in the mid-2010s, had been using games on Facebook to collect data on its gamers, later on using this data to help in the campaigns they worked with all over the world. Even if games like that have been taken off of Facebook already, the risk they present is still real in other apps.

You can check for this through the "Apps and Websites" tab in your settings. It's under this tab where you can review the parts of your profile that outside apps can access. Set limits on these apps, as well as delete apps that you don't use anymore. Facebook luckily also automatically removes apps that you haven't used after a set amount of time, but it would still be a smart move to look through them and see if there's anything suspicious hanging around there!

Know what you could do without online

There is speculation about that many of the fake accounts made online targeted people who had certain schools or jobs listed on their Facebook profiles, or had signed their names to various petitions, or were parts of Facebook groups that trolls had managed to join. Now might be a good time to step back and possibly do some cleaning—are there any groups don't bring you joy anymore? Certain friends who have changed over time and may not be as trustworthy as they used to be? If you don't feel 100% comfortable sharing your online space with them, it may be a good idea to leave these groups and unfriend these friends, if not at least hide your posts from them.

Give everything a once-over once you're done!

Once you've finished checking all of the settings on your profile, the last thing to do would be to check what your profile would look like to a stranger. Going over to your profile and clicking the three dots on the right next to your activity log will give you a view of exactly that, and if you see anything you don't feel comfortable with letting a stranger find out about you there, you'll see it.

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