Facebook, the biggest social network on the planet, has a privacy problem. It’s no secret. You hear stories about that every other day. So to help users understand their settings better, Facebook has released a new tool called Privacy Check-up.
The aim of Privacy Check-up is to make it easy for people to understand their privacy settings on Facebook, and to change them before something goes wrong.
Why Is A Privacy Check-up Important?
You store a large portion of your online life on Facebook, so you need a certain amount of privacy and security for it. The social network has previously said that it sees 600,000 compromised accounts per day. A compromised account is any login where Facebook is not sure that the account’s true owner is using it, and hence blocks access.
Tech blog Recode adds that Facebook has one other major reason to introduce Privacy Check-up:
Facebook’s privacy settings — which have changed frequently over the years — are notorious for their complexity. Navigating them can be particularly difficult for new users, as there’s a slew of different settings to keep track of.
This expansive list of privacy settings is why, after 10-plus years of encouraging users to connect and share with as many friends as possible, the company is now trying to clear things up. “When people are surprised by who can see their stuff, people have a bad experience,” says Underwood. “Nobody likes being surprised.“
It’s a good point. Not many people are aware of their privacy settings, or for that matter, which apps have access to their timeline.
How To Use Privacy Check-up
Facebook has rolled out Privacy Check-up to all users now, so you should be prompted to start it up. If not, click the padlock icon in the menu and choose Privacy Check-up there.
There are three steps in this menu. Let’s go over what they do and what you should be using.
1. Your Posts
Do you want anyone to be able to see your posts, or should only your Facebook friends be able to see it? That’s what this option does.
Tip: For most people, it’s best to set it to “Friends”. After all, you don’t want some stranger looking at your pictures or getting involved in stuff you only want to tell people you know.
If you do want to ever post a public update, it’s as simple as clicking the drop-down bar in the “Update Status” box to change the setting. For more details, check out these must-know Facebook privacy tips.
2. Your Apps
This one is a biggie and will probably surprise many of you. Over the years, you have probably used your Facebook account to log into several different apps and services, from games like Candy Crush Saga to something more popular like Instagram. But do you know what permissions you have given these apps in terms of posting to your timeline?
Privacy Check-up’s second option makes it easy to manage your Facebook apps’ posting permissions. Here, you can see how each app gets to post on your timeline.
Tip: You can change the status to “Only Me” for apps that you want to use but you don’t want them to post to your timeline. If you find apps that you don’t need, click the ‘X’ next to their name to delete them from Facebook.
3. Your Profile
Your Facebook profile has a lot of sensitive information about you, such as your phone number. You don’t want anyone on the Internet to be able to see that. Heck, you might not even want many of your Facebook friends to see it. In this part of Privacy Check-up, you can learn which information is available to whom, and change it if you want.
Tip: Make friends lists for “Family”, “Close Friends”, “People I Trust”, etc. The more lists you make, the better you will be able to figure out who should be able to see certain information about you, rather than being stuck to Facebook’s default options of “Public” and “Friends”.
This option also has a link to your About page, where you can add additional details about yourself and choose the privacy settings.
Finish this and you’re done with your quick Privacy Check-up, and a little bit more protected than you were before.
Get More Control Over Your Facebook Privacy
Still, Facebook’s Privacy Check-up is a beginner’s tool to find out who you are giving access to your information, and to review the information itself. It doesn’t answer many of the deeper privacy issues in the social network, but don’t worry, you can download our unofficial Facebook privacy guide for better protection.
Image Credits: David Goehring, Facebook