Still Using Facebook? Here’s How to Stay Safe

While Facebook has seen a bit of a decline under younger demographics, it’s still a hugely popular networking service. Unfortunately, that’s not always a positive – thanks to recent developments. Facebook has become a major security issue, but there are a few things you can do about it.

Social media is integrated so well in our daily lives, that eliminating it is virtually impossible. Facebook was one of the pioneers of this new social dawn. It lead to people all over the world signing up to see what their neighbors, family, and old high-school friends are up to. Facebook grew into a colossal network, with more than 2.38 billion monthly users. That’s nearly a third of the world’s population.

This popularity has naturally led to a lot of attention from the more disreputable individuals and organizations on the web. But what can they do with all the information that Facebook gathers? A lot, actually.

The Dangers of Sharing Too Much
Things have been rough for Facebook over the last year and a half. Numerous scandals and breaches have rocked the company’s image and made a lot of people perk up on privacy issues.

Here are the big Facebook privacy scandals of the past year:

– February 2018: Both German and Belgian courts fine Facebook for violating their countries’ privacy laws.

– March 2018: Facebook’s year of problems start with a whistleblower named Christopher Wylie who revealed their connection with Cambridge Analytica. For details on the whole story, head over to Wired. But, essentially, the company bought millions of Facebook users’ data, which it used to manipulate them during the 2016 US elections.

– June 2018: Facebook states a software bug could have revealed over 14 million user’s posts.

– September 2018: Facebook announced a security flaw had allowed an as of yet still unknown group to access nearly 50 million accounts.

– December 2018: Facebook publicly apologizes for a security flaw that allowed third-party app developers to see users’ unpublished photos.

– March 2019: A “glitch” allowed over 600 million Facebook and Instagram passwords to be stored on open text files without encryption. Reportedly, over 20 000 Facebook employees had access to these passwords.

– April 2019: A cybersecurity research firm revealed that more than 540 million Facebook user records were exposed. Two third-party app developers publicly posted these records on an Amazon cloud server. Apparently, a company called Cultura Colectiva is responsible for the 146 gigabytes of Facebook user data that was exposed.

These breached passwords and data are dangerous in the hands of those who would use them for selfish gain. Identity theft, social engineering, manipulation, financial theft – these are only some of the things that can be done with that data.

How to Stay Safe While Using Facebook

Follow Security Protocols on the Platform
Go to Facebook account settings and go through the “Security and Login” as well as “Privacy” settings. Change any of the settings that seem pertinent to ensuring privacy, that have been turned off.

Don’t Reuse Passwords
With the many data breaches Facebook has had, it’s more important than ever not to reuse passwords. Because any passwords that are compromised through Facebook will put all other accounts that share that password in jeopardy.

Get a VPN
If Facebook won’t ensure privacy, then users have to take their privacy into their own hands. More people are using a VPN every day, and for a good reason – it encrypts all ingoing and outgoing data. A VPN also hides a person’s real IP address, even from Facebook. So their location can’t be tracked. This means that the only information that can be leaked through Facebook is limited to what the user willingly shares.

Using a fast VPN (NORDVPN.COM) with Facebook is a good idea as some VPNs will slow down the connection. Facebook videos load slow enough as it is.

Don’t Overshare
Facebook can’t leak any data if a person doesn’t share that data. The tip above only covers data Facebook gathers from a person without their knowledge. Any information that’s shared on the platform, like tagged locations or photos can still be leaked.

Don’t Sign In With Facebook
Third-party apps are a huge security hole for Facebook if recent events are anything to go by. So don’t log into other apps or websites using Facebook as they will then have direct access to all of your data.

The Bottom Line
Facebook isn’t going down anytime soon, even with the public and celebrity boycotts. Data leaks are worrisome and should make plenty of people think twice about what they share. But if you have to use the platform, at least do so with some precautions in place.

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