In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica issues that we wrote about on Wednesday, you might be wondering what you can do to increase your privacy on Facebook to prevent the same type of thing happening in future. If you’ve not read that article yet, it’s worth taking a look before you continue through this one.
On the plus side, Facebook already took measures several years ago to prevent third party applications from getting full access to your friends' details. However, there are more steps that you can take to tighten up security on your account.
Stop third party applications from accessing your account
Head into your Facebook account and click on the Settings option and then Apps. Here, you'll see a list of all the applications that you've previously allowed to access your profile details. If you don't recognise an app, then you can click the 'X' beside it to disallow its access. The level of access given to an application can vary depending upon the software, but you can also view the level of access permitted by clicking on the pencil icon; then, you can reduce the access given.
Essentially, you should consider trimming down the number of apps that are allowed to access your information, especially in the case that you’ve stopped using the application.
Stop third party applications from accessing your friends
Continuing through the Apps section of the Settings area, you'll come across a section named Apps Others Use, which refers to your friends' applications. Click on Edit and you will see an area of Facebook that was used by Cambridge Analytica to exploit user information in 2015.
If your friends have allowed an application to access their friendship data, then it is granted some limited information about you. Though the level of access given has been vastly stripped back since the scandal, the fact remains that apps can gain some of your basic details without your permission, such as your name. You can, however, uncheck all the boxes here, which will just exclude you from such applications when they’re used by your friends.
Deactivate your Facebook account
Deactivating your Facebook profile is just one stage before deleting it. When you deactivate a profile, all your information is retained on the company's servers, so that you can reactivate it down the line if you should choose to do so. It's easy to deactivate your profile; simply open Settings, then General and Manage Account. Next, click on 'Deactivate your account' and then input your Facebook password.
Following this process won’t remove your personal details entirely, though no applications will gain access to your details whilst the account is deactivated. However, if that isn’t enough for you, then there is one more option, as we’ve highlighted below.
Delete your Facebook account
The last thing that Facebook wants is for you to completely remove your account from the service, so they make the process a little more long-winded than simply deactivating your profile. However, if you want to completely remove your information, it's possible to do so.
If you're sure about fully deleting your profile, then you should first create a backup of your personal data, which can be downloaded as a .zip compressed file. This will contain all your profile photos, which would otherwise be lost if not stored elsewhere. You can do this by going into Settings and then General, and then clicking on 'Download a copy of your Facebook data' at the foot of the page.
Once you’ve done this, it’s quite difficult to find the deletion section of the website, as it’s not locatable through your profile settings; instead, you’ll have to find it in Facebook’s support centre. What’s more, once you’ve hit the delete button, your profile first spends 2 weeks in a deactivation state, whilst the website encourages you to stay. Finally, after this period, it’ll take a further 90 days for the process to be finalised, and your account removed permanently.
Speak to WiseGuys
You should be able to keep your information locked down by following the above steps, or you can choose to delete it from Facebook’s servers forever. If you have any other concerns about security or privacy on any of your devices, then you can reach WiseGuys on 0808 123 2820.