Using Facebook comes with certain privacy risks. While the social media site reassures individual users that it takes their privacy seriously, the recent news about their breach from Cambridge Analytica indicates otherwise. There’s plenty of cause for concern about this news, but it also has implications of more serious data breaches in the future. If you want to take extra steps to keep Facebook from sharing your personal information with third parties, follow these steps.
It starts with Facebook’s platform API
Each Facebook user’s account is accessed through the Platform API, which stands for application program interface. This setting, when turned on, is what allows Facebook to share your information with third parties. Anytime you click an off-site link to do a quiz or share a cat picture, this setting that allows Facebook and the external site to share your information. When the Platform API is turned off, you won’t be able to share things from external sites like this, but it also means those sites won’t have access to your account details.
Check your platform setting
You can either turn this setting off and keep it off, or turn it back on intermittently, when you want to access external sites. Either way, there’s a relatively simple way to adjust the setting. Once you login on your Facebook account, head to settings and scroll down to the Apps link. Clicking on that will take you to a new page that features a grey box. In the box, you’ll see a link for “Apps, Websites and Plugins” with an edit option. Click on edit and click on “Disable Platform” to complete the process. Remember, this will affect your Facebook user experience, but, as previously mentioned, the feature can be turned back on.
Control What Your Friends Share
It does little good to change your privacy settings, if even one friend has unlimited access to your personal data. Anything that a user can see on your profile becomes stored in their cookies, which means the apps they use can also access your information. For this reason, it may be time to reconsider what is viewable on your profile.
Go back into your Facebook settings and scroll for the Apps tab. Once you click on that, look for the grey box with “Apps Others Use” in it. Once you click the edit option here, you’ll be presented with a list of things that your friends can carry with them to third party apps. In other words, you can limit what can be shared. Uncheck the box next to each item that you don’t want shared. Some of these options include your bio, birthday, website, and when you’re online.
Keeping your information private and limiting who has access to it is becoming more difficult. This is especially true in cases where the site may be granting access to third parties without your knowledge. To keep better control over this, check your privacy settings often.