Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg has embarked on a cringe-worthy tour after it was exposed that Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of Facebook users. Zuckerburg responded to the latest revelation by Ars Technica that Facebook’s Messenger application users gave it permission to access incoming and outgoing call and text logs. This is hidden in the fine print of the terms and conditions and has outraged some users.
Since users discovered the data harvesting many have opted to download their Facebook personal data before deleting the app but found that a certain amount of data was already covertly siphoned without explicit permissions. Hidden in those data caches, users found that there was specific detailed information from every phone call or text message ever sent or received on their Android device.
Here are five ways of protecting your data on Facebook
1. Find out how much Facebook has on you
Downloaded my facebook data as a ZIP file
Somehow it has my entire call history with my partner's mum pic.twitter.com/CIRUguf4vD
— Dylan McKay (@dylanmckaynz) March 21, 2018
To download a zip file of your personal data, log onto Facebook, head to Settings and under the General tab click the last option and download a copy of your Facebook data. It should not be surprising that Facebook will have records of all your Messenger app calls and messages, a list of advertisers they’ve given your information to and a history of your posts, pictures and interactions. To prevent Facebook from tracking your calls and messages, you can stop using Facebook Messenger as your default SMS app. To do this tap your profile picture in Messenger to go to options. Scroll to SMS and tap the slider to turn that option off.
2. Block the apps tracking you on Facebook
When you use third party apps, you give them permission to access certain information of your choice. This is easy to change. Follow these instructions:
- On your Facebook profile, click the arrow on your right and go to settings.
- Under settings, on the left of your screen, you will see an apps tab, click on it.
- App settings will show you just how many apps you have logged into using Facebook. Click show all, a dropdown menu will show you all the apps you’ve given access to your information.
- Next to each app, there is an edit or delete app tab. Click on either depending on what you want to do.
3. Change your app settings
Under Apps Settings on your Facebook profile, once you’ve edited or deleted third party apps, there are three options at the bottom of the page. These are Apps, Websites and Games, Game and App Notifications or Old Versions of Facebook for Mobile. These three options allow you to edit your settings and revoke permission for other websites to log you in using Facebook, to delete your accounts on their website and control what information about you your friends give out when they log into other websites.
4. Change your privacy settings
On the Settings page, there is a Privacy tab, click on it. There you have options of choosing who gets to see your Facebook profile pictures, friends list, and who can look you up using your cellphone number or email address.
5. Delete Facebook
If you have reached the end of the road on Facebook and feel like it no longer serves a meaningful purpose in your life, perhaps it’s time to delete your account. To delete your account, go to Settings and under General Account Settings, the last option is to deactivate your account. This, however does not mean the information mined by Facebook about you will disappear. There is no telling if Facebook actually deletes the information that comes with your account.