With up to 87 million Facebook users’ personal information harvested and passed on to Trump-affiliated political firm Cambridge Analytica, which used it to target voters in the 2016 presidential election, people throughout the world are scrambling to better understand how to protect their personal information on Facebook and other social media outlets.

Before beginning to lock down your account, it’s a good idea to know whether or not your data was shared without your knowledge. This can be done either by waiting for the slow rollout of Facebook notifications that the company promises to post to your News Feed or you can check on it yourself through Facebook’s online Help Center.

What You’re Sharing Your Information With

After you’ve checked if your data was given to Cambridge Analytica, you’ll want to go ahead and see which apps and websites have access to your personal information. This can be done by going into your settings, and then clicking on “Apps and Websites.”

Wired explains, “If you do find apps there that you want to remove—it’s amazing how many you can pile up over the years—keep in mind that they can still hold onto your data after you give them the boot. To be totally free and clear, you have to contact them directly, through their Facebook page or website, and ask them to clear out whatever they have on hand.”

Facebook’s Suggestions for Security

Facebook offers six things you can do to help keep your account safe, but they don’t seem to offer much insight other than what most would consider the most basic of internet security.

  • Protect your password: Don’t use your Facebook password anywhere else online and don’t let anyone else know it.
  • Take advantage of Facebook’s extra security features.
  • Make sure your email account is secure.
  • Log out of Facebook when you’re done using it on a shared device.
  • Use anti-virus software.
  • Think before you click or download anything.

If Facebook’s list doesn’t really make you feel any more secure or informed—don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Put Your Account on Lock Down

The first step toward understanding and gaining control over your social media accounts, especially Facebook, is locking them down. You can tighten up your Facebook account by clicking on the settings and selecting “Privacy” from the options on the right.

Take a look at who can see your future posts and start editing. You’ll most likely want to move it from “Public” to “Friends.” However, if you’re really wanting to keep things private, you can select “Only Me.”

This only takes care of future posts. Now, take a look under “Who Can see my stuff?” Here, you’ll find the option to limit the audience for posts that you’ve already shared with friends of friends or the public. Click on “Limit Past Posts.” After the menu expands and you click on “Limit Old Posts,” a warning box will appear—click confirm.

Once these two major steps have been taken, you can start going through the details of your profile and deciding what you want to make available to friends or the public—like if you want your age to show, your relationship status, and so on.

Protect Your Personal Information on Facebook

What this most recent breach of trust between Facebook and its users—most of whom did not fully understand how much of their personal information they were selling for the privilege of using Facebook—reveals, is the need for individual users, as well as businesses, to be savvier in understanding cybersecurity risks. These risks are heavily compounded for businesses that not only need to protect their own data but are also saddled with the responsibility of protecting the sensitive personal information of employees and clients.

IT solution companies, such as Harrington Technologies, are built to keep your business running smooth and fast, ensuring the highest-level of security for you, your employees, and your clients. Get in touch to learn more!

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