‘Spring Clean’ your Facebook account in 3 steps

5653760534_f51a9d0e7aYou’ve probably been using for Facebook for years.

Thus your profile has all kinds of likes and apps you probably don’t remember adding. That’s why spring is the perfect time to look at your page and try to make it new again. Here are 3 easy steps that will improve your privacy and your Facebook experience.

1. Stop your friends from sharing your private information.
If you take pains to lock down your Facebook profile, it may disturb you that some of your private information may still be shared with strangers by your friends.

They’re doing it not because they want to make your privates public but because you haven’t locked down how they can share your information via Facebook apps.

To fix this, just go to “Privacy Settings” then the “Apps” section. Next to “Apps others use” click “edit”. You’ll see this:

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 5.56.19 PM

But likely some of the boxes will be checked. Any box that is checked can be shared by your friends to the makers of any app the authorize. Uncheck the boxes and click “Save Changes”

2. Clean out your old apps.
Now, while you’re on this page, you should scroll up do some spring cleaning. Click that little “x” next to any app you don’t use anymore. And if you aren’t sure if you use an app, you can always click “x” and reauthorize it later.

To be extra safe, you can always do what F-Secure Security Adviser Sean Sullivan does turn off Facebook’s “platform” so none of your information can be shared with apps. This also means, you can’t use any apps, of course.

To do this, click “Edit” next to “Apps you use”

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 6.01.58 PM

Then click “Turn Off Platform.”

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 6.02.08 PM

3. Audit your friends and ‘likes’
The best way to keep your Facebook account useful and free of annoyances is to review your friends and “likes” to get rid of anyone who doesn’t respect your privacy or clutters your feed.

This sounds easier than it is since most people have dozens if not hundreds of connections of Facebook. As you have to view your “Friends” list and “unfriend” each user one by one. Your “Likes” list is even more annoying. If you have time, you should do this at least once a year. So why not for Spring?

Or you can do this on an ongoing basis whenever you visit your newsfeed. See something offensive, unlike that page or friend, if he or she isn’t really a friend anyway. But be aware that you won’t see all of your friends and “likes” on your feed. Facebook filters it so you only see those you’re most likely to interact with along with the posts they’re being paid to promote.


[Photo via El Frito]

More posts from this topic

Facebook Phone Number

Why Does Facebook Want My Phone Number?

Facebook has become the most popular social network in the history of known universe for a pretty simple reason: It appeals to our egos. Our egos love to be connected, recognized and comforted. But those needs are generally tiny compared to our desire to be flattered. And one way Facebook continually flatters us is by asking for our phone number -- continually. Like all the time. But like any stranger seeking your digits, the site may have ulterior motives. Ask Facebook, "Why am I being asked to add my phone number to my account?" and its help page will tell you this: Adding your phone number to your account will help keep your account secure, make it easier for you to connect with friends and family on Facebook and make it easier to regain access to your account if you have trouble logging in. That's true. But are there other reason that it might want this piece of information -- reasons that appeal directly to Facebook's bottom line? Almost certainly. In fact, the business case for getting your phone number may be so strong that it's likely at least part of the reason for the change in terms and conditions for WhatsApp, which is owned by the technology giant. So what does Facebook get when it gets your phone number? Potentially lots and lots of information about you -- possibly even your favorite breakfast cereal. Watch our chief research office Mikko Hypponen break down what the data scientists that help social networks sell ads learn about you from your number. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbF0sVdOjRw?rel=0&start=762&end=&autoplay=0] Even if you don't mind being marketed at with ruthless efficiency, there may be other ways Facebook could use your number that you might want to consider. You might have heard about the therapist who began seeing her patients pop in Facebook's "People You May Know" module. How did this happen? Fusion's Kashmir Hill suggests that "an algorithm analyzing this network of phone contacts might reasonably assume all these people are connected." And in this case the therapist didn't even remember giving her number to the site, but she had. If you're logged in, you can check if Facebook has your number here. This still could be some value to you in handing over your number. Two-factor authentication is generally a smart strategy for any account you want to protect -- and you need to offer your smartphone number to access the SMS messages you'll need to use. But remember: If you make your number available on Facebook, people can find you by searching it. So if you do use Facebook's two-factor authentication, you should consider hiding your phone number for anyone but yourself. To do this, go to your profile page, click "About" under your cover image and then in the left column click on "Contact and Basic Info". Next to your mobile number, click "Edit" and select "Only Me". This will make sure strangers won't find your number through your profile or vice versa. But it won't stop Facebook from knowing what your favorite breakfast cereal is. {Image by HighwaysEngland | Flickr]

September 9, 2016

Why You May Want to Disable Location Services for Facebook

When news broke that Facebook was at least temporarily using users physical location to suggest real world connections, a strategy that has been employed by the NSA, the backlash was sharp.  It wasn't difficult to imagine scenarios when identities could be inadvertently and uncomfortably revealed through group therapy, 12-step meetings or secretive political movements. The world's most popular social network quickly said it would not continue what it called a small-scale test nor roll the feature on a wider scale in the future. But Facebook is still using your location data for other purposes, Fusion's Kashmir Hill reports: We do know that Facebook is using smartphone location for other things, such as tracking which stores you go to and geotargeting you with ads, but the social network now says it’s not using smartphone location to identify people you’ve been physically proximate to. Hill notes that using location to match users up, thus acting as a tool to reveal the identity of nearby strangers, might violate Facebook's agreement with the Federal Trade Commission . So you should expect that your location -- like everything you do on Facebook -- is being used to turn you into a better product for its advertisers. That's the cost of using a "free" site but you can limit your exposure a bit by turning off location services for Facebook on your phone. Here's very simple instructions for turning off location services on your Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps on your Android of iOS device. Do you mind if Facebook uses your location to suggest new friends? Let us know in the comments. [Image by Lwp Kommunikáció | Flickr]

June 30, 2016
twitter, changes

POLL: What Changes To Twitter Would You Like To See?

Little¬†changes can make a difference. For instance, Twitter's decision to switch a star for a heart as its "Favorite" button increased use of the button by as much as 27.82 percent. And it's clear that despite Wall St. demanding that site grow faster and be easier for new users to grasp to have some hope of keeping up with competitors like Facebook and Snapchat, the site is still sweating the small stuff. Here are the four changes to the service announced this week: Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group. Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words! Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: We‚Äôll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed. Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you‚Äôll no longer have to use the ‚ÄĚ.@‚ÄĚ convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly. These tweaks are in line with Twitter's tradition of paying attention to how people use the site and make it easier for them to do what early adopters are already doing. That's how we got hashtags, retweet buttons and @ replies. Now you'll be able to tweet a bit longer messages, something people do now with screenshots of text, and have more public conversations, something people do now by putting a "." before someone's @username so their whole feed sees the conversation not just people who happen to follow you and the user you're conversing with. Cool. These are useful little nudges that will keep¬†people who already love the site engaged -- even though they may have some ugly unforeseen consequences. But will they transform Twitter and¬†spark a new wave of growth? Not likely. What would without alienating the hundreds of millions of loyal users? Tough question and we'd like to know what you think. [polldaddy poll=9429603] Cheers, Jason [Image by dominiccampbell | Flickr]

May 26, 2016