10 Facebook Security Settings for Safe Social Networking

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Facebook Security Best Practices

Information shared on Facebook can be accessed by hackers and used for implementing various scams, therefore it is important for users to understand Facebook security. Stringent privacy settings are essential to ensure that your information remains secure and private. According to a 2012 report, nearly 13 million US Facebook users are not aware of Facebook’s privacy tools or have never used them. The social media giant provides a whole host of privacy options that can be used to safeguard your account against security threats. Utilizing these security tools is your responsibility.

Important Facebook Security Settings

Here are 11 important Facebook security settings you should use for secure social networking:

1. Public SearchIf somebody Googles your name, your profile might show up in the search results. To turn this feature off, go to “Privacy Settings” and choose “Apps and Websites”. Click “Edit your settings” and uncheck the “Public Search” box.

2. Connecting and Sharing on Facebook – These privacy settings determine how people can access and connect with you on Facebook and who can access your posts and personal information. You can choose Friends, Friends of Friends, Everyone or Custom. Customization would allow you to make your posts available only to specific friend lists.

3. Friend Lists – You might not want to share all your Facebook posts with everyone on your friends list. You can easily customize audiences for your posts by placing your friends in specific lists. Hover to the “Friends” link on your page. Click “Create New List” and start adding friends.

4. Social Ads – Ads on Facebook are paired with friends’ actions and activities such as likes for pages.  If you do not want Facebook to use your likes for advertisements you can disable this feature by visiting “Facebook Ads” tab in your Account Settings. From the drop-down menu choose “No one”.

5. Apps Settings – Rogue apps such as Facebook profile spy can access your information and use your account to spread the malicious app. You can remove such apps by going to “Applications and Websites” in your privacy settings. Select “Apps you use”. This shall display all the apps you’re using. You can see what information the apps can access and delete the ones you don’t want.

6. Information Accessible Through Facebook Friends – Even if you don’t use any Facebook apps, your information might still become available to anonymous developers through apps and games used by your friends.  To eliminate this, visit “Apps and Websites” under your “Privacy Settings”. Go to “Info accessible through your friends” and click “Edit Settings”. Here you can uncheck any information that you do not wish your friends to share.

7. One-Time Passwords – Facebook also allows you to use your profile securely over shared public networks to prevent against security risks. You can receive a one-time password by texting “otp” to 32665 on your cell phone that shall expire after 20 minutes. This facility is only available in the Unites States.

8. Remote Sign-Out – If you’ve accidently left your account open somewhere, Facebook allows you to sign out remotely. Go to your “Account Settings” and choose “Account Security”. Here you can check the option to get a notification via SMS or e-mail if a new device logs into your account. You can also view recent account activity including the time, location and device that accessed your account. If you notice anything suspicious, you can choose to “End Activity” and log out of that location.

9. Tagged Check-Ins and “People Here Now” – If you do not want your friends to tag you or check you into a place, you can disable this feature through your privacy settings. Click “Customize Settings” and scroll to “things others share”. Go to “Edit Settings” and disable friends from checking you into places.

If you use Places, a check-in can make your name and profile visible in “People here now” to anyone who checks into the same location. To disable this, go to “Customize Settings” and uncheck the box that reads “Include me in People Here Now after I check in”.

10. Instant Personalization – Various websites use Facebook to personalize your experience. These websites can use your information that is publicly available and access your friends list. To completely disable this feature visit “Privacy Settings” and choose “edit your settings” under “Apps and Websites”. Then select “Edit Settings” next to Instant Personalization and uncheck the box labeled “Enable Instant Personalization on partner websites”.

These security settings shall help you minimize security threats to your Facebook profile. You should also keep yourself updated on any tweaks that Facebook makes to its privacy options.

However, no matter how stringent your settings are, there is always a chance of a technical glitch or some sort of infiltration. Hence, it is wise to share prudently and with the minimum number of people whom you could trust with your personal information


James writes about Social Media and Software Security for Mobistealth. Tweet with him at @JamesClark987

James Clark – who has written posts on Socialeyezer.