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Protecting Your Personal Data on Facebook

Facebooks recent disaster was a big one, and there is no escaping it this time. For those of you who are unaware of what has happened, Tech giant Facebook and data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica are at the centre of a dispute over the harvesting and use of personal data – and whether it was used to influence the outcome of the US 2016 presidential election or the UK Brexit referendum.

In the wake of this, questions have been raised about Facebooks security and how they hold personal data. From this it’s made us at Socialb think, how much personal data do you think you have stored on Facebook? It may seem obvious, but the amount of personal information you have actually stored on Facebook could surprise you. Here are a few ways of checking how much data you have stored on the social media channel and also how to remove some.

1, Revoking an app’s permission. The most relevant one in the wake of the Facebook disaster. Third party apps while aren’t under Facebooks control still can be granted access to a lot of your data. Even if it can be a bit tedious to remove your data from the apps, essentially all you need to do is delete it. Head to Facebook Settings, and on the left-hand column, there is a section called ‘apps’ click on the ‘x’ next to each app to delete the app. Unfortunately, removing an app doesn’t promise that your data will be removed from the developer’s database. You’ll need to contact the developer and you can only do that through the desktop site.

2, Removing your Phone Number. You may not even know that you added your phone number to Facebook but while it may not be directly something that Facebook could use, it’s certainly something that third-party companies/apps could us, as well allowing other Facebook users to be able to search for you via your phone number. To remove your phone number from Facebook, log into your account, click on settings – contact and then if your number is displayed then click the ‘x’ next to it to remove it from the Facebook.

3, Personal Data. Whether you willingly entered the data, or you just can’t remember when you entered it, there is a lot on Facebook. Going through your Facebook profile and checking what personal information is on there and whether you actually want it to be shared with Facebook and your friends. To check this data, on your Facebook profile click ‘Edit Profile’ and then filter through your data and remove anything you don’t want to be shared.

4, Under “Apps, Websites, and Plugins” hit the edit tab and “Disable Platform.” This will stop your data from streaming through Facebook’s API, which is how third parties see all your activity. It will also prevent you from logging in to other sites with Facebook, shut down your Instagram access, and you won’t be able to play platform-based apps like “Farmville” anymore. If that’s too much and you’re mainly just bothered about the news that your friends who use an app could end up sharing your data even if you never used the app or got any notification, then uncheck all the radio buttons under the “Apps others use” heading for the pieces of data you don’t want your friends to share.

 

Whilst we can all hope that Facebook will change its policies on how it protects our data in the future its always good to know where your data is and how you can remove it or simply to find out how much personal data you even have stored on Facebook.



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