Facebook Data Scandal: Simple Privacy Setting Tweaks To Protect Personal Data And Increase Security

Justin SullivanGetty Images

The Facebook data scandal is slowly reaching its climax as the company is now under pressure from the government, lawmakers, and users to explain how it has become so careless with its users’ personal information. Majority of concerned users have already decided to completely deactivate their accounts, as evidenced by the rising popularity of the “deletefacebook” hashtag. However, Facebook does still offer a lot of very useful functionality, which is why some users are still hanging on to their accounts despite the online noise surrounding the controversy.

Facebook does have some very questionable data-collecting policies and it has already come under fire numerous times for sharing its users’ personal data to third-party companies and institutions. According to a guide from Life Hacker, there are some ways to combat this, and most of them can be done in just a few minutes.

Signing In With Facebook

Facebook has recently become a very popular method of signing up for different websites and services, which majority of the internet’s users have already become accustomed to. Unfortunately, various sites and services will acquire a lot of extra information from getting access to a person’s Facebook credentials. Some of this personal data can be used for other purposes without the user’s permission. A simple way to stop this is by either signing up manually to those websites or by simply making various tweaks to an account’s settings. Navigating to “Settings” then “Apps” will let users remove apps under “Logged in with Facebook” that are not being used anymore. Data acquired by websites and apps prior to making this change will still be present and users may need to contact these companies if they want their personal data to be removed.

Disconnect App Access

On the same page, users can click on the “Edit” button under “Apps, Websites, and Plugins.” Settings under this window will let users completely turn off Facebook’s Platform module. Multiple apps and websites gain access to personal data using this module, which may include a person’s friends list, contact number, birth date, email address, and other similar information.

null

Limiting Available Data

On the same page, users can click on the “Edit” button under “Apps Others Use.” The settings under this window will let users choose the particular type of data that will become available to third-party apps. This page is particularly important as it will also allow users to limit the information that is available to websites and apps that are being used by their friends and contacts. This is completely different from the information that is freely shown on profiles as apps and website will still be able to access them even if they have already been hidden.

If these security improvements are still inadequate, then completely deactivating the account may be the only course of action. Facebook, fortunately, provides an option for users to download their complete account information, which will include posts and photos.