How to protect your personal info on Facebook
With the new information the public has about tech companies sharing user data, many people are wondering how to protect personal info on Facebook. Unfortunately, you can’t protect your data from Facebook; they have access to everything you do on their application. Every post, every emoji, every DM is saved and can be scrutinized by employees. The only way to avoid this as a user is to create a new account with a nickname or other alias and not add any specific personal information to it like address, hometown, high school attended, etc. this may or may not be helpful, because, you will essentially have the same “friends” you had with any account you had previously, but if offers some privacy. The only real way to protect your personal info is to “delete” your Facebook account. Though Facebook calls it deleting, it’s really making the account inactive. It won’t remove the data you already created. All of your photos, DMs, Likes, comments–everything–is still saved on their database, it just isn’t active anymore.
If you want to minimize who has access to your Facebook information, then you can change your settings to private. If you change your settings, only friends or friends of friends can see your status updates, posts, comments, likes, pictures, friends list, and other information. Many people do this to avoid stalkers. Facebook stalking is not a new phenomenon; people have been doing it since the inception of the app at Harvard University in 2004. Before FB stalking there was Myspace, Friendster, and Blogger stalking. Voyeurism is much easier when someone doesn’t know you’re looking at their profile and postings. If someone’s profile is set to public, anyone can view everything posted, including pictures and status updates, friends and comments. Stalking people can be harmless and just out of curiosity, or it can be serious with mentally ill people becoming obsessed. There are others too who are just looking to give someone else a hard time, a competitor or a former partner or friend. This is much more common than anyone knows. It’s very regular for people to use the app to spy on or check up on, former partners, crushes, on the ex’s new girlfriend or boyfriend, even acquaintances and others. Keeping your profile in private mode will cut some of this down. The person checking on you will either have to send a friend request to you, use someone else’s account who’s already your friend, or create a fake account and hope you’ll take the friend bait. People get pretty clever when they want to spy, and it seems people never get tired of doing that. This explains the obsession with reality TV, celebrity gossip blogs, websites and shows. Unless you want to be a celebrity, shut is down and make it harder for sneaky, nosy people who are too chicken to talk to you directly, to spy on you.
Needless, to say, if you have kids, their accounts should be set to private also and always and you should check out whom friend is requesting them. Teens and younger kids do not have a strong Facebook presence anymore. There really is no need for them to use this form of social media, which many see as outdated and too time-consuming. However, Facebook has started programs to lure younger children such as toddlers and kindergartners into using the application. This is presumably to provide them with learning tools, and they have stated they will not keep or sell that data, however, no one thought they were keeping and selling our data either. It’s your choice whether or not to trust someone who misled the public with everything your child does on their app, but if you decide to allow your small children to be on Facebook so young, you should make sure you are safeguarding their information. If their name, address, age and other information ends up online on various websites, you should have that data removed immediately and close any social media accounts associated to them for their own safety.