Facebook privacy settings on iPhone: Tight level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on Facebook using iPhone. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Tight level protection.
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How to protect your account from getting hacked

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Set a strong password

What for: So you don’t get hacked.

If you use a short and simple password for your Facebook account, cybercriminals can guess it and hijack your account. The longer and more complex your password, the less likely they are to succeed. Use a strong password that:

  • Consists of 8–20 characters,
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.),
  • Is not an actual word or easy-to-guess phrase,
  • Is not the same as for any other account, including your Apple ID password,
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name etc. or those of your relatives and friends).

To change your password:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Security and Login section.
  5. Tap Change password.
  6. Enter your current Facebook password.
  7. Enter a new, strong password twice.
  8. Tap Save Changes.


Enable two-factor authentication

What for: So you’re even less likely to get hacked.

Facebook can be configured to request a one-time code when you log in to your account. That way, even if cybercriminals learn your username and password, they will not be able to use them. The code is sent by SMS to your specified phone number or generated by an app (for example, Google Authenticator).

To enable two-factor authentication:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Security and Login section.
  5. Tap Use two-factor authentication.
  6. Tap Get Started and select a one-time code retrieval method:
  7. By SMS to the phone number linked to your Facebook account or another number (for example, a SIM card on another device).
  8. Tap Continue.
  9. In the window that opens, enter the code that Facebook sends to the phone number associated with the account, and tap Next.
  10. A code generated by another app, such as Google Authenticator.

                                  i.    To activate two-factor authentication using the app, start it and follow the on-screen instructions.

Remember that a text message with the code can be intercepted by malware, which is why using a two-factor authentication app is a safer option. Facebook can also use the phone number you linked to your profile for targeted advertising.

With two-factor authentication, you can log in to your account even if you lose your phone. For that, you need to get recovery codes. To do so:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Security and Login section.
  5. Tap Use two-factor authentication.
  6. Select Recovery codes.
  7. Tap the Get codes button.

Each of the ten codes can be used only once. Write them down or take a screenshot of them, and keep the information in a safe place.

Verify the list of trusted devices

What for: So nobody can log in to your account on your old phone.

By default, Facebook considers all of your devices from which you previously logged into the social network to be trusted. When you sign in on them, a one-time code is not requested. If your old phone falls into cybercriminal hands, they will be able to log in to your account bypassing two-factor authentication. To avoid this, include only devices that you currently use in the trusted list. To do so:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Security and Login section.
  5. Tap Authorized Logins.
  6. Remove the ones you don’t use from the list of trusted devices.

If necessary, you can still log in to Facebook from any device using two-factor authentication.

Enable suspicious activity alerts

What for: To change your password promptly if you get hacked.

Facebook can notify you every time your username and password are entered in a new browser or on a new device. If a stranger logs in to your account, you will be notified so that you can change your password right away. To this end, the social network will send you an email or notification to a trusted device.

To enable suspicious activity alerts:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Security and Login section.
  5. Tap Get alerts about unrecognized logins.
  6. Specify how you prefer to receive suspicious activity alerts selecting one of the options:
  7. Facebook notification,
  8. Messenger,
  9. E-mail address.
  10. Tap Save.

We recommend activating all three alert channels so that you can receive warnings even if one of the channels is unavailable, for example if you lose your phone or your email is hacked.

Create a list of friends for account access recovery

What for: To recover your account if something unforeseeable happens.

If you lose access to your Facebook account as well as the email address and phone number linked to it, you will not be able to reset your password and recover your account.

Facebook can send access recovery codes to some of your friends. On their own, none of them will be able to gain access to your profile; only one of the necessary codes will be available to them.

To create a list of trusted contacts:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Security and Login section.
  5. Specify trusted contacts under Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you get locked out.

If you have problems logging into your account:

  1. Tap the Need Help? link on the login screen.
  2. Tap the Forgot Password? link.
  3. Facebook will offer to find your account:
  4. By profile name,
  5. By the first and last names given during registration,
  6. By the email address associated with the account,
  7. By the phone number associated with the account.
  8. Enter the information you have and tap Search.
  9. Tap No longer have access to these? in the bottom right corner.
  10. Enter the email address you have access to and tap Continue.
  11. Tap Reveal My Trusted Contacts.
  12. Enter the first and last name of one of your chosen friends.
  13. Read the Facebook instructions, and then copy the URL for restoring access.
  14. Send the copied link to each of your trusted contacts. Ask them to follow it and tell you the code they received.
  15. Enter all the recovery codes you get.

Ideal candidates for trusted contacts are:

  • People from different areas of your life, such as family members, colleagues, and classmates,.
  • People who know you personally and can call you,
  • People who can recognize you by voice.

Downside: You can log in to your account for only 24 hours after verification. For security, Facebook allows the use of recovery codes from trusted people once a day.


How to keep corporations out of your business

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Disable access to the contact list

What for: So Facebook does not know more than it needs to.

The Facebook app requests the contact list of your phone to help you locate the people you know on the social network. However, the information about your contacts is also used to create targeted ads and generate news feeds. Moreover, your information is shared with third parties, which increases the risk of a leak.

To prevent Facebook from using your contact list:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Media and Contacts section.
  5. Select Upload Contacts.
  6. Disable the Upload Contacts feature.

Downside: The social network will not prompt you to add your new acquaintances whose numbers you store in the contact list as your new friends.

If such apps as Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, which are owned by Facebook, have access to the contact list, this information can still be used by the social network.

Keep in mind that you have to disable access to contacts on all devices with contact lists.

You can check which contacts are already uploaded to your accounts and remove any unwanted information here:

Limit access to location data

What for: So Facebook does not know where you go.

The Facebook app can access information about your location. This information is used to geotag your posts and stories and configure targeted advertising suggestions. If you do not want to share your location with strangers and the social network itself, you can disable access to location data.

To disable geodata transfer:

  1. Open Settings on your device.
  2. Go to the Privacy section.
  3. Open Location Services.
  4. Find Facebook in the list of apps.
  5. Select Never.

Bear in mind that the Facebook geodata log stores your locations harvested before access is disabled. You can turn off this feature and delete the collected data. To do so:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Location section.
  5. Disable the Location History feature.
  6. Tap View your Location History.
  7. Enter your Facebook password
  8. Tap Done.
  9. Tap the three dots button in the upper right corner of the screen.
  10. Select Delete all location history and confirm your selection.

Downside: Facebook will not be able to alert your friends when you are nearby or show you nearby events. You won’t see location-based advertising, either.

If such apps as Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp, which are owned by Facebook, have access to location data, this information can still be used by the social network.

Disable face recognition in photos

What for: To stop Facebook from looking for you in each photo.

Facebook can locate you in photos and videos by using face recognition. To this end, the social network analyzes your photos and creates a special search template.

When one of your friends uploads a photo of you, Facebook may suggest tagging you. You will also receive a notification when a photo of you has been uploaded. Also, face recognition can be used to protect your account from getting duplicated.

According to Facebook, the face recognition technology is intended for convenience and safety and cannot be abused. However, not all people like the idea of being watched.

To disable face recognition in photos:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Scroll down to the Privacy section.
  5. Go to the Face Recognition section.
  6. Tap Do you want Facebook to be able to recognize you in photo and videos?
  7. Select No.

Downside: Disabling the face recognition function does not mean that you will no longer be tagged in photos. It’s just that now, people will have to tag you manually. If you disable face recognition, Facebook will remove the template with your biometric data, and your friends will not receive notifications prompting them to tag you in photos. You will also stop receiving notifications whenever somebody posts your photo without tagging you, which means you will not be alerted right away if strangers use your photos as their own.

You can view the list of photos in which you are already tagged in the activity log.

Disable the use of your personal data in advertising

What for: So advertisers have less information with which to manipulate you.

Facebook can use information about your social network activity, information about your friends and other information to select ads targeted specifically at you. By default, the social network does not show such ads. However, if you previously activated this feature and you are bothered by targeted ads, you can disable it. To do so:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Ad Preferences section.
  5. Select Your information.
  6. Turn off the toggle switches next to Relationship status, Employer, Job title, and Education.
  7. Tap Review and Manage Your Categories and remove all categories saved there.
  8. Open the Ad Settings section:
  9. Under Ads based on data from partners select Not allowed.
  10. Under Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere and select Not allowed.
  11. Open Your interests and clear this list.

You will still see ads after this, but they will not be based on your personal data.

Disable integration with questionable sites

What for: To prevent potential data leaks.

Many apps and websites let users sign in with their Facebook account. That gives the owners of such third-party services access to your publicly available information and profile-linked e-mail address. Developers that have passed a review can request permission to create posts on your behalf or send you advertising messages.

In general, logging in through Facebook can be convenient: you don’t need to create and memorize logins and passwords for each service. However, after logging in to some website through Facebook, we often forget all about it. As a result, over time the account becomes linked to a long list of third-party resources whose names you no longer remember.

Remember that services connected to your account can become a source of data leaks or post advertising messages on your behalf. It would make sense to remove any unwanted services from this list from time to time (Facebook does this automatically, but your personal involvement can also help).

To view which sites and apps have access to your profile and to revoke permissions:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Privacy Settings section.
  5. Tap Check a few important settings.
  6. Select Your data settings on Facebook and tap Continue.
  7. Tap Continue to reach the Apps and Website tab.
  8. Select the box to the right of the names of those apps that you do not trust.
  9. Tap Remove. A dialog box opens.
  10. To remove all content that the app or website published on your timeline, select the check mark Also delete all posts, photos and videos on Facebook that these apps may have published on your behalf.
  11. Tap Remove.

If you do not wish to log in through Facebook at all, you can disable this feature entirely:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Apps and Websites section in Security.
  5. Select Apps, websites and games.
  6. Tap Turn off.

Restrict the use of information about your off-Facebook activity in advertising.

What for: to keep Facebook from personalizing ads based on your activity on other websites and in other applications.

The social network’s partners share information about your activity on their websites and in their applications with Facebook. In particular, if you purchase something through a service that you logged in to with your social network account or that has the social network’s analytics tools built into it, Facebook will learn that and will use information about your purchase for personalizing ads. For instance, if you have looked for a hotel in another town using a lodging search application, Facebook will show you ads for airlines that sell flights to that town. It is not just on the device that you used to search for a hotel but every other place where you are logged in.


The social network lets you find out which of your activities it follows and restrict the use of that information for ad personalization. This is a highly useful feature: it shows just how much the company knows about your online activity. Besides, you may want to keep your visits to some of the services that share information with Facebook private, e.g. from friends who can see your Timeline.

To prevent Facebook from using information about your online activity for personalizing ads and clear the activity log:

Tap the menu icon in the upper right corner of the app.

  1. Select Settings & Privacy.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Go to Off-Facebook Activity.
  4. If you want to clear your activity log, tap Clear History and confirm.
  5. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen.
  6. Select Manage Future Activity.
  7. Tap Manage Future Activity.
  8. Toggle off the Future Off-Facebook Activity option and confirm.

Here, too, you can view and download your account data.

The new settings will take effect within two days. The amount of ads will remain unchanged, but they will no longer consider your activity outside of Facebook.

Bear in mind that although Facebook will stop using that information in selecting ads, the social network will continue to receive it from partners.

Downside: you will no longer be able to log in to websites and applications with your Facebook account.

If you have logged in to third-party service with your social network account before, you may be kicked out of your account with the service. You will lose access to the data in the service including accumulated discounts, game achievements, etc.

Deny Facebook partners access to your data

What for: So Facebook partners and internal app developers don’t know more about you than they need to.

Facebook allows third-party services to connect to your account. This is necessary, for example, for automatic publication of third-party statuses on your timeline. By enabling such integration, you can grant third-party developers access to your personal data. These rights can also be obtained by internal Facebook apps, such as instant games. Third-party services can use the provided data for advertising and other purposes, and also become a source of data leaks.

To stop partner apps and instant games from using your account data:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Instant Games section.
  5. Select the boxes next to the names of those apps that you do not use, and tap Remove.
  6. Tap Back and navigate to Business Integrations.
  7. Select the boxes next to the names of those services that you do not trust, and tap Remove.


How to defeat spammers and trolls

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Limit the ability to send you friend requests

What for: To fend off bothersome users.

By default, Facebook allows all users to send you friend requests. Spammers and fraudsters sometimes abuse this feature. Lots of requests from unknown people are bound to get on your nerves.

To limit the list of users who can send you friend requests:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Privacy Settings section.
  5. Tap Who can send you friend requests? and select Friends of friends.

Downside: your acquaintances will have a hard time locating your Facebook profile unless they are friends of your friends.

Limit the ability to comment on your posts

What for: To remove irrelevant comments.

By default, all Facebook users can leave comments under your posts, an ability that spammers and trolls often abuse.

To make sure that only your friends can comment on your posts:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Public Posts section.
  5. Under Public Post Comments, select the check mark net to Friends.

You can also block the app from showing comments containing certain keywords or hashtags on your timeline. In this way you can hide offensive comments or other unwanted content. This feature can be configured only in the settings of the web version of Facebook.

Block unwanted users

What for: To avoid unpleasant people.

If you want to stop a specific user from commenting on your posts, you can block this user. Blocked users will not be able to view your profile, leave comments under your posts, or send you private messages. In this case, the user will not know that you blocked them.

To block a user:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Blocking section.
  5. Tap Add to blocked list.
  6. Select the user whom you want to block.
  7. Tap Block and confirm your selection.

Limit the ability to tag you in posts

What for: Peace of mind.

Other Facebook users can tag you in their posts. By default, such posts appear in your timeline and your friends get notified about them. If somebody tags you in an offensive or fraudulent post, this won’t be a pleasant experience.

Also, by default your friends can tag other people in your posts, which is not always desirable.

You can allow only specific people to tag you in their posts as well as configure the app to request your confirmation every time you get tagged.

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Timeline and Tagging section.
  5. Tap Who can see posts you're tagged in on your timeline? and select one of the options:
  6. Friends of friends
  7. Friends
  8. Friends except...
  9. Specific friends
  10. Only me
  11. Tap Review tags people add to your posts before the tags appear on Facebook? and turn on the toggle switch next to Tag Review.
  12. Tap Review posts you're tagged in before the post appears on your timeline? and turn on the toggle switch next to Timeline Review.

Remember that posts in which you have been tagged will still be available in search results and other Facebook sections. To delete such a tag in somebody's post:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Activity Log section.
  5. Tap Category and select Posts You’re Tagged In.
  6. Tap the post you want to untag.
  7. Tap the button with three dots to the right of the post author's name.
  8. Select Remove Tag and confirm your selection.
  9. Tap Posts You’re Tagged In at the top of the page and select Photos You’re Tagged In.
  10. Tap the post you want to untag.
  11. Tap the button with three dots to the right of the post author's name.
  12. Tap Remove Tag and confirm your selection.

Restrict others from posting on your timeline

Why: to get rid of spam.

By default, people in your Friends list can post on your wall. Sometimes such “friendly” publications are anything but good, and if any of your friends gets your account hacked you might see lots of unwanted posts on your timeline.

To limit the ability to post to your timeline:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Timeline and Tagging section.
  5. Tap Who can post on your timeline? and select Only me.
  6. Tap Who can see what others post on your timeline? and select Only me.


How to hide posts from unwanted people

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Configure visibility of posts

What for: So your posts are seen only by those for whom they are intended.

You can choose who will see your Facebook posts. By default, they are visible to all your friends. This can be inconvenient if you would prefer not to share your private life with some of them.

You might have already changed this setting and made your posts publicly available. Remember that information from your posts can be used against you. For example, information about your personal life can help telephone fraudsters to make up a convincing story to steal money from your bank accounts.

You can choose the following access settings for your posts:

  • Public — posts are visible to all Facebook users and visitors to your page who are not registered on the social network.
  • Friends — posts are visible to friends only.
  • Friends except… — posts are visible to all friends except those listed.
  • Specific friends — posts are visible to friends on the list only.

·        Only me — posts are visible to no one but you.

To configure the default visibility of your posts:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Privacy Settings section.
  5. Tap Check a few important settings.
  6. Select Who can see what you share.
  7. Tap Continue and then Next. You will be taken to the Posts and Stories tab.
  8. Tap the drop-down menu to the right of Future Posts and Stories.
  9. Specify which group of users shall see your posts by default.

Remember that you can still override the general settings and change the visibility of each post when publishing it or later.

  1. To restrict the visibility of a post when it is created:
  2. Tap the button under your name
  3. Choose the user group you want to see your post.
  4. To configure the visibility of a post already published:
  5. Tap the button with three dots to the right of the post title.
  6. Select Edit Privacy in the menu that opens.
  7. Choose the user group you want to see your post.

Earlier versions of the Facebook app for some types of devices did not include a function for restricting the visibility of posts, but you can still customize their visibility.

To set the visibility of posts created in older versions of the app:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Apps and Websites section.
  5. Tap Old versions of Facebook for mobile.

Specify which user group can view your posts by default.

Limit access to stories

What for: So your stories are seen only by those for whom they are intended.

Other Facebook users can see your stories and share them with their friends. In this way your personal information can become available to strangers, while information from stories can be abused by cybercriminals.

You can set the following visibility levels of Facebook stories:

  • Public — any Facebook or Messenger user can view your stories.
  • Friends and connections — only your Facebook friends and Messenger contacts can view your stories.
  • Friends — only your Facebook friends can view your stories.

·        Custom list — your stories are visible only to Facebook users on this list.

To limit the visibility of a story at the time of posting:

  1. After choosing a photo or video for your story, tap Privacy in the lower left corner of the screen.
  2. Select a group of users who will be able to view your story.
  3. Tap Save.

To limit the visibility of a story already posted:

  1. Select Your story at the top of your news feed.
  2. Tap the three dots button in the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Edit Story Privacy.
  4. Select a group of users who will be able to view your story.
  5. Tap Save.

Stop users from sharing your posts in stories

What for: to prevent your posts from getting shared beyond the intended audience

Other Facebook users can add your posts to their stories. This means that your posts can be viewed by people who are not among your friends. You can prevent other users from sharing your posts.

To prevent your posts being shared in stories:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Timeline and Tagging section.
  5. Tap Allow others to share your posts to their own story? and select the check mark next to No.

Keep in mind that Facebook offers other ways to share your posts. For example, users can repost them or send your post in a direct message.


How not to expose your personal data

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Configure visibility of your profile data

What for: To protect yourself from spammers and other shady people.

Cybercriminals can use information from your profile to do all kinds of unpleasant things. For example, your phone number can be bombarded with spam calls or text messages. Also, contacts from your social network profile in combination with certain publicly available information about your life can be a treasure trove for fraudsters who can try to defraud you of your bank account balance. Detailed information about your job and/or interests helps to contrive a more credible legend that you are more likely to fall for.

By default, your phone number is visible to all of your friends. Friends of friends can see your date of birth. Information about your city, place of work or study is publicly visible.

To hide this information:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Privacy Settings section.
  5. Tap Check a few important settings.
  6. Select Who can see what you share.
  7. Tap Continue. You will be taken to the Profile tab.
  8. Set the visibility of each item of personal information to Only me.

After configuration, you can see how your profile looks to other users. To do so:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Tap the three dots icon next to your name and select View As.

Downside: your friends will have trouble locating your Facebook profile or contacting you by phone.

Limit visibility of subscriptions

What for: To conceal information about your interests.

By default, people, pages, and lists that you follow are visible to all users. Information about your hobbies and interests can be used by fraudsters to contrive a more believable story. And your employer probably doesn’t need to know that you are subscribed to ten job search groups.

You can make your subscriptions visible to all or some friends, or hide them from everyone but you. To do so:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Privacy Settings section.
  5. Tap Who can see the people, pages and lists you follow? and select one of the options:
  6. Friends
  7. Friends except...
  8. Specific friends
  9. Only me

Hide your status

What for: To stop showing everybody when you are online.

Facebook shows your friends when you are, or last were, online. Your ex-partners or other interested people could monitor your status and spam you with their messages when you are online.

Also, if you friend people you don’t know personally, this information could be used by an intruder to choose the best time to hack your account. By observing your status over a period of several days, they will see when you are likely to be offline and unable to respond promptly to an attack.

To stop Facebook from showing your active status:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Active Status section.
  5. Disable the Show when you're active feature.
  6. Select Turn off in the dialog that opens.

Downside: you will also be unable to see the status of your friends.

Limit visibility of your ad-specific activity on the social network

What for: Not to appear in ads.

By default, Facebook shows information about your ad-specific activity to all of your friends. For example, the social network informs them that you like a page of a certain company or shares your plans to attend a certain event that is getting advertised. You may not want some people to know what products and services you like.

To hide such information from other users:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Ad Preferences section.
  5. Select Ad settings.
  6. Tap Ads that include your social actions.
  7. Choose the No one option.

Limit the ability to find you by your phone number and email address

What for: To prevent unwanted people from finding your profile.

The phone number and email address you specify in your Facebook profile can be used to find your account even when your profile is hidden by privacy settings. This is not always a good thing. For example, fraudsters can gather your personal info this way.

To prevent strangers from finding you by email and phone number and use them for search:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Privacy Settings section.
  5. Tap Who can look you up using the email address you provided? and select Only me.
  6. Tap Who can look you up using the phone number you provided and select Only me.

Downside: it will be more difficult for your friends to locate your Facebook profile.

Stop search engines from indexing your profile

What for: To prevent unwanted people from finding your profile.

Facebook allows search engines such as Google or Yahoo to show links to your profile when users search your name or other relevant information. If you do not want to be easily found online, limit the visibility of your profile.

To do so:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Privacy Settings section.
  5. Tap Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile? at the end of the list.
  6. Disable the feature Allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile.
  7. Tap Disable.


How to get rid of unwanted notifications

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Turn off unnecessary notifications

What for: To avoid distractions.

By default, Facebook shows you notifications about all social network activities, including game and app alerts and information about nearby hangouts. If notifications bother you, you can disable all or some of them.

To manage Facebook notifications:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Notification Settings section.
  5. Select the listed types of events that you do not wish to be notified about and disable the Allow notifications on Facebook feature.
  6. For some types of events, all notifications cannot be disabled with a single tap. In this case turn off the Push notifications, Email and SMS toggle switches individually.

Turn off lock screen notifications

What for: To hide from prying eyes

Notifications about private messages, comments, replies to stories, and other events can be viewed on the lock screen of your phone. The downside is that strangers can also see them if, say, you leave your phone unattended for a moment.

To stop notifications from appearing on the lock screen:

  1. Open the Settings menu on your device.
  2. Go to the Notifications section.
  3. In the Notification style list, select Facebook.
  4. Clear the Screen lock check box.

Turn off notifications from games and apps

What for: To avoid distractions.

Other users can send you invitations from games, as well as other notifications from internal Facebook apps. If such messages annoy you, you can turn them off.

To disable notifications from games and apps:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Apps and Websites section.
  5. In the Games and App Notifications section, select No.


How to clean up your traces

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Delete bank card details

What for: Not to lose money.

Facebook users can make in-app purchases, order ads on the social network, donate money to charity, or buy products, for example, on Facebook Marketplace. To this end, the social network requests and stores details of a bank card or PayPal as a method of payment.

This is convenient, but in the event of a leak or hack, your financial information could fall into the hands of cybercriminals. To avoid this, delete it from the social network database.

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Go to the Payments section. At the top of the screen, you will see a list of bank cards and PayPal accounts associated with the app.
  5. Go through them, tapping Remove Card for each.
  6. If you use a bank card or PayPal to pay for advertising, close your advertising account in the social network before removing it.

Downside: you can order ads or make purchases on Facebook only when you have a saved payment method. After deleting cards and accounts, you will not be able to use these options.

You can still buy goods on pages of Facebook stores if payment is processed on the merchant’s website.

Clear the browsing history of the integrated browser

What for: To prevent information leaks.

When you follow links to different websites in Facebook, information about this is saved. If somebody gains access to your device, this information can be used to draw conclusions about your habits and preferences.

To clear the browsing history in Facebook together with temporary files:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Flip pages until you reach Media and Contacts.
  5. Select Browser and tap Clear Browsing Data.

Downside: if you clear cache regularly, you will have to enter login credentials on all sites every time.

Check what Facebook knows about you

What for: To view what data Facebook has on you, remove the data you don’t need and make a backup copy of the data you need.

You can view and download all the information that the social network stores about you. Information about posts, comments, likes, and other actions is kept in the activity log.

To view and download the log:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Scroll down to the Your Facebook Information section.
  5. Tap Access Your Information to view information about your Facebook activity. Information is grouped in such sections as Posts, Photos and Videos, etc. You may choose to edit privacy settings or delete any post, photo, comment, or other data.
  6. Tap the download your information link. You can select individual data types, as well as set the time interval and file format (using the options at the bottom of the screen.
  7. Tap Create file to download an archive with your Facebook information.

There is no option in Facebook to delete information harvested by the social network without deleting the relevant account.

However, if you are a citizen of the European Union, you can demand that Facebook remove your data pursuant to Article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The company is obligated to take steps to remove the information you indicated even if it has been transferred to third parties and is stored by them. Within a month, the social network will send you a progress report or the reason your request has been denied (the list of possible reasons appears in Part 3 of Article 17 of the GDPR).

Privacy level
?

Relaxed

Basic privacy settings, maximum convenience.


Medium

A golden mean respecting privacy matters but preserving convenience.


Tight

A choice of security over convenience; instructions contain a lot of details.

Relaxed
Medium
Tight
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