How to Preserve Privacy when Using Facebook

Recent revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, obtained data from some 50 million Facebook users have heightened concerns about how businesses, including law firms, can preserve privacy when using Facebook. Following are some tips to help you protect private data while using the social media platform:

  1. Restrict access to your Facebook posts. On the right side of your Facebook status bar, you will find a gear icon. Click on the icon, then select privacy settings. Under “Who Can See My Future Posts” located on the first line of the privacy settings, click on “edit.” The default is “Public.” However, you have many options to restrict who can view your posts, including Facebook Friends and specific Friends. Under the privacy settings, you can also somewhat restrict from whom you receive Friends requests by changing the setting from “Everyone” to “Friends of Friends”.
  2. Hide personal information on Facebook. Facebook collects a huge amount of personal information from you, including email addresses, phone numbers, employment history, birthdates, political views, dating history, etc. You can shield this information with a few simple steps on Facebook’s Privacy Checkup feature. Privacy Checkup allows you to restrict access to this information or even remove it.
  3. Avoid participating in quizzes and third-party apps that appear on Facebook. Marketing researchers are able to acquire information on Facebook users who enter various personality quizzes. Although a quiz or app may appear fun and innocuous, by participating, you are providing information to outside sources that can use the data for their own profit.
  4. Confine your Facebook friends to those you know and trust. While Facebook’s privacy settings allow you to restrict the information you reveal, you cannot control your Friend’s privacy options. Consequently, the information you post on a Friend’s page may be visible for the world to see.
  5. Activate extra security precautions. In addition to its general privacy settings, Facebook allows you to receive alerts when a Facebook login occurs from a device or browser you do not ordinarily use. You can also set up a two-step authentication procedure that requires you to input a code each time your phone is used to login. This may be a little inconvenient, but it is a useful protection against unauthorized logins if your phone is stolen or misplaced.

Many businesses, including law firms, have found Facebook and other social media platforms to be extremely useful for marketing purposes. However, if you do not rigorously protect the information you post, you risk compromising the privacy of your firm and its clients.

For more infomation on how to bolster your Facebook privacy protections, click on the following link from Facebook, which provides basic information about its privacy settings:

https://www.facebook.com/about/basics

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