Are you a nervous Facebook user following all the recent data privacy revelations?  If you’re concerned, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

First, it’s important to know that leaving Facebook now is not really going to prevent your existing data being shared and potentially being compromised. Even if you suspend your account immediately, you’ve left a “footprint” and of course everyone you are connected with is still able to share info about you including your photos!

The best defence is to understand how Facebook and other platforms make money. Each time you enter personal information, Facebook shares that data with advertisers, possibly political parties and others.  This may change in the future as the political fallout from the data compromises continues, but for now the best rule is to be cautious about what you click on and what you share as your data may be shared beyond Facebook.

To find out what Facebook currently knows about you, read Arwa Malawi’s recent article in The Guardian  I Downloaded My Facebook Data & Here’s What I Learned.  outlining the steps to take to download your stored data and evaluate what impact this info might have on your future Facebook participation.

To download your info, open your Facebook page:

  • Click on the down arrow beside the Help question mark on the top blue bar
  • Go to Settings
  • Click on download my Facebook data – you will need to re-enter your password.  It will take a few minutes but you should receive an email with a report of everything Facebook stores about you.

It’s interesting to see what advertisers have your contact info and what data, photos and videos are stored. If you are surprised or dismayed at what your report says about your digital footprint, it’s good knowledge for the future.  You may choose not to respond to that survey or game that Facebook offers, knowing that it’s probably a ploy to gain your personal data, you may choose not to click on an intriguing ad or you may decide to do your research differently.  Whatever you decide, Facebook is still a great tool to connect with friends and family; it’s just a good idea to be cautious when sharing any digital information.

Are you a fearful Facebook user now or do you feel your profile is safe and secure? Do you have a different perspective on the whole Facebook kerfuffle?   Let us know in the comments section below!