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How can I protect my personal data on Facebook?

Recent media attention has led to growing concern amongst Facebook users. Many are worried that their personal data is being mishandled, as it has come to light that Facebook profiles are shared with third-party applications without users’ explicit knowledge. These third-party apps may have access to more of your personal data than you were aware of. This includes information such as your date of birth, email address, photos you’ve shared, your friends list and your Facebook likes.

Don’t worry, it is possible to take access away from these app developers or modify what they can see about you. You may expect to find this option under Privacy or Security settings, but this isn’t the case. 

You need to find App settings within the settings on the dropdown toolbar. Click on the downwards pointing arrow. 

We have outlined some of the ways that you can protect your personal data on Facebook:

I just want to delete all the apps that have access to my personal information

If you are after a quick way to protect your personal information and want to delete all apps that may be accessing it, here is what you need to do in 5 simple steps.

 

I want to look at what personal data each app can access and modify my privacy settings

If you don’t want to remove all the third-party apps, and don’t mind them having access to some of your information, you can modify what they can see instead. You will need to go into the app settings (same process as removing an app) and hover over any apps you wish to know more about. Instead of clicking remove (X), you can choose to edit what you share with them.

Make sure you click on save when you have made your edits.

Click on show all to ensure you don’t miss any apps from the list of those that may have access to your personal data. 

 

Once I delete the app, does that mean it no longer has my personal data?

By deleting the app, you are stopping any further access. However, it’s important to note that the app may still have information about you saved. You have the right to contact each developer and ask them to remove any existing information from the app’s servers. When you are modifying the settings for each app, this option will be provided. In May 2018, with the introduction in Europe of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which aims to make it far easier for users to take back control of their data, things may change for the better. 

Top tips

  • Privacy policies are constantly changing. Make it a habit to check your privacy and security settings to ensure you know who can see your personal information.
  • It's a good idea to frequently review the list of apps that you've connected to Facebook, and check who can see your personal data. Remember that this part is not under privacy or security settings. It can be found under app settings.
  • If you want to play a quiz or game you see on Facebook, go directly to the website and not through Facebook.
  • Never click on a 'like' button on a product service page. 

 Read more about Facebook's features and updates here.