Facebook has dominated the news headlines of late and not for good reasons. As you know, there were the 50 million Facebook profiles gathered for Cambridge Analytica and used in the 2016 presidential election.
Because of this, many may have thought about deleting their accounts but let's get real, it's probably not the first time you've thought about that. If you’re done with Facebook, you’re welcome to deactivate or even delete your account. Facebook provides instructions for both actions. Deactivating your account will only make your account invisible on Facebook, whereas deleting your account may eventually result in most of the data being removed (up to 3 months later).
The problem is that Facebook is useful. Right? It may be the only connection you have with certain friends or family members, and many informal groups use Facebook for meetup logistics. You may also have a business page established on Facebook, which will require a personal account for Administrative privileges. So, for many of us, losing access to Facebook could or would hurt our real-world relationships and activities. What to do?
If you’re a business, it may make sense to keep your Facebook page but avoid relying on it. Remember, Facebook is not your friend. Earlier in 2018, Facebook announced that it would be prioritizing posts from friends and family over public content, which is a nice way of saying that Facebook is depreciating business-related posts. So make sure you have a Web site that you control and make sure that customers can easily find it and contact you through it.
On a personal level, there are two ways to think about privacy on Facebook:
Limiting the information you share with other people on Facebook
Limiting the information that you’re willing to provide to Facebook at all.
If Facebook doesn’t have certain data about you, they can’t sell it to the highest bidder, let it be harvested by hackers, or use it in ways you might find creepy.
To control who on Facebook can see what you share, click the ? button on the Facebook Web site on your Mac, or tap the button in the bottom right corner of the Facebook iOS app and then tap Privacy Shortcuts. Then click or tap Privacy Checkup and run through the steps to make sure you’re sharing the right info with the right people. Be sure to lock down or remove any apps that you don’t need, since they can leak all sorts of data!
Also, go to Facebook’s Privacy Settings & Tools page. Click the Edit button next to each item, and make it as specific as you can. You also might want to review the posts you’re tagged in and remove those that you don’t want on your timeline.
But what if you don’t want to give information to Facebook for it to use? Go to Facebook’s page for Uploading and Managing Your Contacts, and delete them all. You’re just giving away your contacts’ personal information without their permission otherwise. Of course, this will require us to depend on others to be smart with their data and your information as well!! Be smart, everyone!
To ensure that contact uploading doesn’t happen again, in the Facebook iOS app, tap Settings & Privacy > Account Settings > General > Upload Contacts and make sure the switch is off. (Some versions of the Facebook app just have Settings, not Settings & Privacy, and show a popover for Account Settings.)
Also, in the iPhone Facebook app, go to Settings & Privacy > Account Settings > Location > Location, and make sure it’s set to Never. And whatever you do, keep Location History off—Facebook doesn’t need to know everywhere you’ve ever been. Unless you love checking-in or tagging locations on photos...& in that case, you are doing exactly what they want and designed you to do.
If you’re perturbed by the way Facebook’s iOS app is trying to capture your contacts and locations, you could delete it from your iOS devices and rely instead on the Facebook Web site, which can’t access nearly as much information about you. To make it easier to open, in Safari, visit facebook.com, tap the Share button, and then tap the Add to Home Screen button in the bottom row of the share sheet.
Here is an important thought. Lets always assume that anything you post to Facebook or allow Facebook to have access to could end up on the front page of your local newspaper… or the New York Times. Nothing on Facebook is ever completely private—Facebook has shown it currently isn’t trustworthy or reliable—and the best way to ensure confidential information doesn’t leak inadvertently is to avoid posting it to Facebook in the first place. Sorry.