Are you sharing too much personal information on Facebook?
With 1.5 billion users, there is no denying the popularity of Facebook.
Used by people of all ages from all over the world, it offers many benefits from keeping in touch and sharing photographs to being a fantastic source of information for news and all manner of things.
But there is certain information you might be unknowingly sharing on Facebook which you should probably keep private.
A report released earlier this month by cybersecurity firm Cifas revealed a 57 percent increase in identity theft from 2015, with cyber criminals mining social networks such as Facebook in order to try and find out everything about you.
Then there is stuff you might want to share from individual people such as a family members, acquaintances or work colleagues.
Here are 10 tips to help you protect your privacy on Facebook
Secure your profile
Before you start looking what personal information you share on Facebook, you should start by seeing if your profile is public or private.
You can do this visiting Settings > Privacy > Who can see your future posts > Edit > Select ‘friends’. If you want absolutely everything you post on Facebook to private, select ‘Only Me’.
Check who can see old posts
If you’ve just updated your privacy settings, some old posts may still be public. Look under ‘Who can see my stuff’ in the privacy settings and go to ‘Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or public’. You then want to select ‘Limit past posts’.
Only share posts with selected friends
It’s possible to update your Facebook settings so that only certain people can your posts.
Before you post, click on the down arrow next to Friends located in the Update Status box. Select More Options and click on Custom. From here you can decide who you do or do not want to share your post with.
Don’t share your phone number
There is no real reason to display your phone number on your Facebook profile so don’t do it. To check who can see your phone number, go to your Newsfeed, click on Edit Profile > Contact and basic info > Mobile phones > Click on the drop down arrow next to the padlock icon and choose the option ‘Only Me’.
Don’t share your date of birth
You also shouldn’t displayed your date of birth or age on your Facebook profile.
Your date of birth is one of the pieces of information hackers need to be able to access personal details or bank account info.
Don’t make it easy for them.
Review who can see your date of birth by following the same steps as reviewing your phone number above: Edit profile > Basic Information > Padlock icon > Only Me.
Only be friends with people you actually know
Why would you want to be Facebook friends with someone you’ve never met in real life? Regardless of who someone might claim to be online, only keep your Facebook friends to people you actually know – and trust.
How to avoid unwanted friend requests
You may want to stop people who you don’t know adding you as friends. Maybe you don’t want to be Facebook friends with people you work with. Perhaps you’re a teacher and you don’t want your students to track you down.
You can avoid unwanted friend requests by going to Settings > Privacy > Who can contact me
How to block people
If you want to say a final goodbye on Facebook to an ex girlfriend or boyfriend go to Settings > Blocking > Block users and enter the name of the person you want to block.
Stop giving away your location
It might be good for your ego whenever you check in at a nice restaurant or expensive hotel but every time you check in you are giving away lots of information. Don’t tell people when you’re away from home or inform them of the places you visit regularly. Also don’t tag yourself if you are on holiday – you could be telling someone that your nice house is sat empty for the next couple of weeks.
Who can see the photos you’re tagged in?
If you’ve been on Facebook for any length of time, there’s a good chance you have amassed or been tagged in a large number of photographs, some of which you may not want everyone to see.
Review who can see photos or posts you’ve been tagged in by going to Settings > Timeline and Tagging.
How to delete your account
Of course, the ultimate way to protect your privacy on Facebook is to not be on Facebook at all.
You can find out how to delete your Facebook account here.