How to change your privacy and security settings on Facebook
Our step-by-step guide to the most important controls for keeping your data safe.
It’s more important than ever to do what you can to keep your personal information private. Not only is cyber-crime perpetually on the rise, but corporations are amassing troves of data about you, often hidden behind opt-out settings.
For example, 87.8% of New Zealand’s population is on Facebook. Chances are you’re one of them. Do you know how much you’re sharing with strangers, friends, advertisers and the platform itself?
Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to check and update your Facebook settings, though there are a few steps involved. Follow along with our video below to get your settings in shape.
If you’re in the app, tap the icon that looks like a list in the top right corner. On desktop, click on your profile picture, which is also top right.
Go to Settings and privacy, represented by a cog symbol in the app, then Privacy checkup.
Click on the images and move through the prompts to make your way through that section.
Under Who can see what you share? set most of the categories to ‘Friends’ or ‘Only me’, depending on your personal preferences.
Press Limit past posts to retroactively lock down your posts from Facebook’s earlier days. It’s likely that everything you posted on Facebook before 2014 is publicly available for anyone to see. Later posts might still be available to anyone who’s a friend of one of your friends. Fix that now.
Under How to keep your account secure, change your password to something that you don’t use anywhere else. Preferably it should be long and contain letters, numbers and other characters.
Turn on two-factor authentication to protect against hacking. You’ll have to choose between using an authentication app, text messages or security keys. Text messages are generally easiest. However, the authentication app is most secure, so we’d recommend using that where possible.
Your data settings on Facebook show which websites are storing your Facebook login details. If there are any you don’t regularly use, remove them. In future, avoid using Facebook to log in to other sites or apps as this increases the chance of having your details stolen or your account hacked.
Under Your ad preferences on Facebook, turn off everything unless you really think it’ll make your ads more interesting.
Finally, set up a reminder to review your privacy settings every year.
There are more settings you can dive into later, but now you’ve at least started to regain control over what you share with Facebook and the world.