Facebook has never been particularly good at prioritizing your privacy. Your data powers its business, after all. But recent revelations that a firm called Cambridge Analytica harvested the personal information of 50 million unwitting Facebook users in 2015 has created new sense of urgency for those hoping for some modicum of control over their online life. If you ever needed a wake-up call, this is it.
The good news: Despite the repeated, public privacy lapses, Facebook does offer a fairly robust set of tools to control who knows what about you—both on the platform and around the web. The bad news: Facebook doesn't always make those settings easy to find, and they may not all offer the level of protection you want.
Fear not! Below, we'll walk you through the steps you need to take to keep advertisers, third-party apps, strangers, and Facebook itself at bay. And if after all that you still feel overly exposed? We'll show you how to walk away entirely.
Keep Apps in Check
Over the years you've used Facebook, you've probably given various apps permission to tap into its data trove. And why not? At the time it's a simple enough request, a way to share photos more easily, or find friends across the app diaspora.
In doing so, though, you're granting developers deep insight into your Facebook profile. And until Facebook tightened up permissions in 2015, you were also potentially letting them see information about your friends, as well; Cambridge Analytica scored all that data not from a hack, but because the developer of a legitimate quiz app passed it to them.
So! Time to audit which apps you've let creep on your Facebook account, and give the boot to any that don't have a very good