The recent testimony of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, before congressional investigators has only underscored what many of us have known for a while—social media can be potentially dangerous when it comes to the data that is being collected on you by outside agencies and businesses.  Zuckerberg has even acknowledged that his own personal data had been breached and compromised. One recent report has shown that Facebook was warned seven years ago about the potential for a data breach.

So, what is the average Facebook user to do to protect their data? Here are a few tips to help protect yourself:

1. Start your Facebook cleanup by running a privacy check

Unbeknownst to a most people, Facebook has a “widget” that can help you shore up your account’s privacy settings. When you check your Facebook page, click the padlock icon and click on “Privacy Checkup.”  This will analyze your current account and give you an idea of where you stand. You can also view your account using the “View As” button to see what your profile looks like to your friends and to the general public so that you can see just how much information is posted.

2. Choose who can see your Facebook posts

You can let everyone, your Friends, or just a select group of people view your Facebook posts. There’s also an option to hide info from your Timeline with a click of a button. If you uncheck the “Search engine linking” button, this will prevent search engines like Google from using your posts as part of search engine results.

3. Prevent tagging on Facebook for security

If you post a picture and tag someone else in it, they can then share that post with their friends. To prevent this, deselect the “Friends of Friends” option on tagged photos.  If you are tagged and you don’t want to be, simply select “Remove Tag.”

4. Select what others see on Facebook

Go to your Settings tab and select which pieces of information can be seen. You can deselect areas such as Work and Education, as well as other things you may wish to protect.

5. Secure your Facebook account

Go to the Security settings for Facebook and set up an alert that will let you know if someone tries to log in from a device other than your personal computer or phone. You can also set it up where you need a special code to log into your Facebook account from another device.

In the Security settings, you can also choose which Facebook ads you see in your News Feed. You can deselect the “Websites/Instant Personalization Pilot Program” section to remove how websites can use your information to customize ads.

Social media is still a great way to connect with friends and network with other professionals. But, like anything online, there are negatives that come with using social media. This means you will have to be careful when posting online. New Edge Technology Solutions wants to make sure you are aware of how you can protect your information online. Find out more about NETS and how we’re protecting businesses every day.