5 Ways MOAA Members Can Secure Their Facebook Data

5 Ways MOAA Members Can Secure Their Facebook Data
Getty image

When news broke that 50 million Facebook users had their personal data taken under false pretenses by a political-consulting firm, many were infuriated - and on a mission to lock down their personal information.

The recent scandal involving Cambridge Analytica has raised serious questions about how Facebook and other social media sites protect users' information. The firm, which had ties to the Trump campaign, used a Facebook-approved quiz about technology to gain access to the massive amount of personal data.

Now companies like Tesla and Pep Boys are deleting their Facebook profiles, and the hashtag #DeleteFacebook appeared more than 10,000 times on Twitter within a two-hour period last week, according to The New York Times. Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook, has apologized for the breach in trust, and said users will be notified if Cambridge Analytica obtained their data during the two-year period. Zuckerberg could soon testify before Congress about how his company will prevent this type of breach from happening again.

If you're nervous about the security of your data, take these steps to lock down the information you share on Facebook.

1. Check your privacy settings.

This is an easy one. If you don't want unknown users and third-party applications seeing the information you post, hit the settings section and make sure your privacy is set to high.

  • Go to “Settings.”
  • Modify your security and login information under “Security and Login.”
  • Change who can view your account information under the “Privacy” section.

2. Disconnect your apps.

Have you used Facebook to log into an app like Pinterest, Candy Crush, Spotify, or AirBnB? Here's a quick way to delete those you don't use anymore or make sure only your approved apps have access to what you're sharing:

  • Click on “Apps” to review and remove third-party applications that have permission to view your information.
  • Remember that if you used your Facebook profile to log onto an outside app and you turn that off, you may lose the information stored there. That could mean progress made in some games or projects you saved could disappear. You might also need to create a new login.

3. Prevent ads from using cookies.

Cookies are small bits of data sent from websites that are stored on a user's computer. You can disable this sort of digital bread trail on your regular internet browser, which will prevent Facebook from accessing most of those crumbs.

  • On your browser like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Safari, go to settings and disable cookies.

4. Review your ad information on Facebook.

The internet can track which websites you visit using cookies, and sites then display ads based on your interests. However, there is a simple way to prevent these ads from appearing on Facebook:

  • Go to “Settings” and click on “Ads.”
  • Disable the ads in “Your interests.”
  • In the upper right corner of each icon, you can delete or change your ad preferences.

5. Change the information advertisers can see.

To prevent advertisers from seeing the private information on your profile, you will need to change a few things:

  • Go to “Settings” and click on “Ads.”
  • Scroll down to “Your information.”
  • Decide what info you wish to share with advertisers. Delete anything you don't want tracked.*

*Please note: There is no way to completely erase your data from the internet. Many companies may already have your information if it was not previously blocked.

Katie Lathrop is the Digital Content Specialist at MOAA and the daughter of a currently serving Army Officer. Follow her on twitter @Katie.F.Lathrop.