Changing Facebook privacy setting: A quick guide

Bernard De Vaal
By Bernard De Vaal April 14, 2018 08:12

Opinion: Now is the time to act pro-actively on your Facebook privacy settings

Notifications are now being sent to users’ Facebook profiles telling them their personal information was stolen in the Cambridge Analytica data breach.

But users who have been spared are not in the clear for future data harvesting by third party applications. All information previously shared with third party apps are still in these companies’ possession.

Canadian among users compromised in Facebook data scandal

They have now been prevented from requesting any further personal or public content from users after Facebook took measures to prevent similar incidents.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had to answer lawmakers’ questions for more than 10 hours on Capitol Hill.

Several senators showed a lack of understanding for how Facebook works, leading to chuckles from a youthful gallery.

“How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?” asked Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Advertising is what drives the platform and also lies at the root of the data breach in questions.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz asked Zuckerberg, “If I’m emailing within WhatsApp, does that inform your advertisers?” Using the incorrect terminology — “email” — to refer to the messaging platform’s functionality that is well-known to be encrypted left many observers stunned.

The theatrics did not hide the pressing question the House wanted Zuckerberg to answer: “Do you think that Facebook needs to be formally regulated and would you allow this to happen?”

Zuckerberg’s answer: “Probably.”

These misinformed lawmakers highlighted the need for Facebook users to take steps to set their security preferences.

Here’s a simple guide.

A user has the option to change their settings so that nobody outside their circle of friends can see and interact with them, or they can adjust their private and personal information to have more control over what promotional content appears on their timelines.

There are two inevitabilities Facebook users should be aware of.

Companies whose apps have expired and been removed, may still have access to users’ information. Also, no matter how users align their preferences, promotional content will appear on their timeline.

The visibility of personal timeline content and personal information others can access can easily be set from the user’s profile page. Next to “View Activity Log,” click on the three dots. In the dropdown menu, click on “View As.”

The “view as” option as it would appear on users’ private page.

A user can access different versions of how their profile will appear to various groups on Facebook.

Under settings and privacy, users can control who can view their profile. This is the very first step to control access. Choose between friends, friends of friends or public.


Depending on these settings, users would receive notification requesting personal contact information from other users and apps. The user needs to use discretion with whom they share their information.

Correcting promotional content exposure.

See which apps and websites you have given access to your information to. View and edit these settings. Location services enabled is probably the most essential setting to adjust.

The users’ privacy settings page example.

Set your privacy settings in line with what you want friends, friends of friends and the public to see.

Under the “Your information” tab the users’ personal information used to inform the type of content produced for your timeline can be either switched on or off.

Go to Ad Preferences. All the advertiser preferences appear here. Hover over a company’s logo to remove them. This will further adjust what type of promoted content the user sees.

Under “Ad settings” users can choose whether they want to see ads related to their online interests and connected devices. Again, a “switch on or off” option is provided.

An example of the expandable Ad Preferences page.

These are the main adjustments users need to make at this time.

Knee-jerk reactions of switching all preference selections off would expose users to random advertisments, not utilizing the function of getting exposure to products, groups and events that align to their preferences.



Bernard De Vaal
By Bernard De Vaal April 14, 2018 08:12

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