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How to protect your account from getting hacked

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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.


How to keep corporations out of your business

open all
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.


How to defeat spammers and trolls

open all
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.


How to hide posts from unwanted people

open all
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.


How not to expose your personal data

open all
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. Select Check a few important settings.
  6. Tap Next.
  7. Flip pages by tapping the Next button until you reach 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.


How to get rid of unwanted notifications

open all
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.


How to clean up your traces

open all
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).


How to protect your account from getting hacked

open all
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.


How to keep corporations out of your business

open all
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.


How to defeat spammers and trolls

open all
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.


How to hide posts from unwanted people

open all
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.


How not to expose your personal data

open all
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. Select Check a few important settings.
  6. Tap Next.
  7. Flip pages by tapping the Next button until you reach 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.


How to get rid of unwanted notifications

open all
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.


How to clean up your traces

open all
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).

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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.

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