Facebook privacy settings on iPhone: Relaxed level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on Facebook using iPhone. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Relaxed level protection.
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How to keep 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. A long and complex password is more secure. Use a strong password that:

  • Is at least 8 characters long;
  • 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, and so forth — or those of your friends or relatives).

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 Password and security section;
  5. Tap Change password;
  6. Enter your current Facebook password;
  7. Enter a new strong password twice;
  8. Tap Update password.

Enable two-factor authentication

What for: So you definitely don’t 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 Password and security section;
  5. Tap Use two-factor authentication;
  6. Select a one-time code retrieval method:
  7. Authentication App
  8. Text Message (SMS)

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 the recovery codes. To get them:

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


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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. Select Upload contacts;
  5. 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 or 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 your 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, 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:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app;
  2. Select Settings & Privacy;
  3. Open Settings;
  4. Go to the Access Your Information section;
  5. Tap Logged Information;
  6. Tap Location History. If necessary, enter your password;
  7. Tap the three-dot button in the upper right corner of the screen, and go to Location Settings;
  8. Disable the Location History feature;
  9. Tap View Your Location History; If necessary, enter your Facebook password;
  10. Tap the three-dot button in the upper right corner of the screen;
  11. Select Delete all location history and confirm.

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, and WhatsApp, which are owned by Facebook, have access to location data, it can still be used by the social network.


How to defeat spammers and trolls

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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 Followers and public content section;
  5. Under Public post comments, select the check mark next 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 Facebook Web version.

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 that 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. Type a name of user you want to block;
  7. Tap Block and confirm your selection.


How to hide posts from unwanted people

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Configure visibility of posts

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

When you create a new post, you can choose who will see it on Facebook. By default, they are visible to all of your friends. That can be inconvenient if you would prefer not to share your private life with some of them.

You may already have 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 in order 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 Checkup section;
  5. Select Who can see what you share;
  6. 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.

A. To restrict the visibility of your post when you create it:

  1. Tap the button under your name;
  2. Choose the user group you want to see your post.

B. To configure the visibility of an existing post:

  1. Tap the three-dot button to the right of the post title;
  2. Select Edit Privacy in the menu that opens;
  3. 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 restrict 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 Privacy Checkup section;
  5. Tap Limit Past Posts;
  6. Specify which group of users shall see your posts by default.

Limit access to stories

What for: So your stories are visible only to those for whom they are intended.

Other Facebook users can see your stories and share them with their friends, so your personal information might become available to outsiders, and details from stories could be exploited.

You can set the following visibility levels of Facebook stories:

  • Public — any Facebook or Messenger user can view your stories;
  • Friends — only your Facebook friends can view your stories;
  • Custom — your stories are visible only to Facebook users on this list.

To configure the default visibility of your 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 Stories section;
  5. Tap Story Privacy;
  6. Select a group of users who will be able to view your stories;
  7. Tap Change;
  8. Go back to the Stories section and select Sharing options;
  9. Tap Don’t allow.

To limit the visibility of a story when you post it:

  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-dot 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.

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How to prevent your personal data from being exposed

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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, they can bombard your phone 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 bad actors who can try to defraud you financially. Detailed information about your job or interests helps them contrive persuasive stories.

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 available.

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 Profile information section;
  5. Set the visibility of each personal information item to Only me.

After configuration, you can see how your profile looks to other users:

  1. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the app;
  2. Under your name select See your profile;
  3. Tap the three dots icon next to your name and select View as.

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


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 some notifications distract you, disable or mute them.

To manage the 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 Notifications 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, Email and SMS toggle switches individually.


How to clean up your traces

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Check what Facebook knows about you

What for: To view what data Facebook has on you, remove the data you don’t need, and back up the data you want.

You can view and download all of the information Facebook 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 Access Your Information section;
  5. Tap the download your information link. You can select individual data types, as well as set the time interval, file format and media quality (using the options at the bottom of the screen);
  6. Tap Create file to download an archive with your Facebook information.

The only option Facebook offers to delete the information it harvested is to delete 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 that information even if the data 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 why your request has been denied (the list of possible reasons appears in Part 3 of Article 17 of the GDPR).


What would have happened if you had chosen another privacy level?

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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