Recent Facebook security features

Due to the vast amount of information Facebook collects about its users, privacy has always been a concern and people are becoming continually more aware of the issues this can present. Crimes have been committed, jobs have been lost and relationships destroyed due to bad judgement and often, poor social media security restrictions.

Of course, hackers present problems, but also app developers and even the legitimate corporations with whom people choose to share their information. In response, Facebook has continually released security features that are designed to help put your mind at ease, as well as improve its service offerings.

Very little of what Facebook collects about its users needs to be personally identifiable. They prefer to have demographics and find new ways to make that data useful to themselves and their sponsors. So, it's in their best interest to keep their users happy.

Don't get me wrong. That doesn't mean that you should wholeheartedly trust Facebook without question. The onus is still on each and everyone of us to use social media, all social media, responsibly. As such, knowing and properly configuring your security and privacy settings are a must.

I frequently go through my Facebook profile to clean up and fine tune what I share. I remove old apps, adjust the settings of current ones and look for new features in Facebook. Today I found a few that I hadn't previously noticed.

The first is called Trusted Contacts. While I agree that many services, especially social media should use two-factor authentication, Facebook's implementation of this is less than convenient. So, when I saw this feature, I immediately took advantage of it.

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Basically, if you lose control of your account due to someone taking it over, you can assign proxies whom you trust, to help you regain control. I'm not entirely sure how the process works and hope I never need to find out, but it's certainly a useful feature and one of the more insightful new ideas that Facebook has employed.

Secondly, Facebook has a form of backwards compatibility. They realized that older apps and older information was less secure than their current platform and therefore allow you the ability to adjust the security of older content. Personally, I only share my information with friends and my group of friends I have kept very small. That in itself, was a deliberate measure taken in order to protect my information.

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With this feature, I've limited all my older information to Friends only.

Finally, there is the concern about app privacy. Under Apps I have turned off Instant Personalization and under Apps Others Use I only share my website. This is probably one of the most overlooked security features on Facebook, because no matter what steps you take to protect your information, if your friends and contacts are able to take your information with them due to the apps they use, then everything you have done is almost pointless.

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The final recommendation I want to make is that you should frequently review your posts. It's not your liked pages that normally get you in trouble. Although, I can see how that could happen, especially if your likes contain questionable material.

Instead, the comments you make on other websites and pages are the items that can backfire on you with potential employers, current employers, friends, family and other contacts. As such, the vast majority of posts I make are on friends' pages alone and are not viewable by the general public. However, I do have some local radio stations and websites I frequent, that has material on which I like to have a say. Usually, it's just for a laugh. However, not everyone shares my sense of humor. As such, I regularly check my comments feed and remove posts that are viewable by the general public. You can identify them by the globe in the top right corner of the post.

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About once a month I'll go through this list and remove any globally viewable posts. This may seem overkill for most of you, but I find it reassuring. It's also a good idea to review these whenever you're looking for a job, just in case a future employer some how gains access to them.

In fact, I've added a link to my Favourites, so that I can access this feed easily. To find it, click the lock in the top right corner of your Facebook page, then Who can see my stuff? Activity Log is next and finally,Comments from the far left column of that page.

While this list is in no way a comprehensive guide to Facebook security, it highlights some of the new features I believe people should be employing. I hope it helps.

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