Facebook is one of the largest social gathering places on the internet. It’s the single source of news and information for many people. It’s also where family and friends gather to stay in touch.
Unfortunately, Facebook is also a major target for scammers, hackers, and con-artists. These criminals are regularly looking for security holes in your Facebook profile. Their goals range from gathering personal information about you, spamming you with malicious links, or trying to hack your Facebook account.
Regardless of their goals, there are specific Facebook security settings you can lock down to make sure it’s as difficult as possible for nefarious individuals to cause you trouble.
1. Secure Your Login with Two-Factor Authentication
The single best thing you can do to prevent anyone from hacking into your Facebook account is by enabling two-factor authentication. This requires that any time you log into Facebook from a new device, you’ll need access to your phone to confirm that the login attempt is actually you.
To enable this, select the down arrow to the right of your profile name and image. Select Settings & Privacy.
In the Settings & Privacy window, select Settings.
This will take you to your Settings window where there is a long list of general Facebook settings in the left navigation bar. Select Security and Login from this menu. In the right pane, under Recommended, select the Edit button at the right of the Set up two-factor authentication box.
If you don’t have two-factor authentication enabled yet, this is where you’ll need to go through the wizard to select your phone number and other details to set up and confirm your authentication method. Once this is done, you’ll see the status Two-Factor Authentication Is On. The phone number you’ve selected should be displayed underneath this under Your Security Method.
Now, any time anyone attempts to log into your Facebook account from a device you’ve never logged in from, you’ll see a security notification. Just never respond to those unless it’s actually you trying to log in. This way, no one will ever be able to access your Facebook account without your knowledge.
This is the single most effective way to keep hackers out of your account.
2. Secure Your Profile Information
The next level of Facebook security you should be concerned about is who can see your personal profile information. Scam artists are able to use information like your birthday, where you live, your email address, and more to try and scam you. This could be using your birthday to guess passwords or spamming you with emails to trick you into clicking on malicious links.
To adjust these privacy settings, go back to the Facebook settings window and select Privacy from the left navigation menu.
The easiest way to work through all of your important privacy settings is to select Check a few important settings at the top of the menu on this page.
This will open a Privacy Checkup page with five wizards for each category of privacy.
To get started with your profile information settings, select Who can see what you share. The first page of your settings is your primary profile information. At least your phone number and email should be set to Only me so that no one, not even your friends, can see that information.
For other information like Birthday and Hometown, it’s up to you whether or not you want to limit viewing that information to just Friends. Select Next to continue to the next page.
3. Posts and Stories Security
Select Next to set security on your posts and stories. This page helps you secure who can see the things that you post on Facebook. You can set privacy on individual posts on Facebook to allow either just your friends or anyone on Facebook to see your posts and stories and post on your wall.
This wizard page will let you configure who can see Future Posts and Stories. You can also adjust our past stories on Facebook as well. It’s best to set both Future Posts and Stories to Friends, and set Limit Past Posts to Limit so only friends can see them.
Now, any time you create a new post, it’ll default to friends only. You can still change post privacy to “Public” if you want to.
4. Set Up Security Alerts
On the Privacy Checkup window, select the How to keep your account secure wizard. This wizard will walk you through how you’ll get alerted whenever anyone logs into your account from a new device.
Select Next a couple of times to get to the Control Your Alerts window.
On this window, you can enable Facebook to send you a notification if anyone tries to log in to Facebook or Facebook Messenger from a new device. The notification will go to your Facebook account, so enable the Email setting so that you can receive an email notification as well.
5. Configure Who Can Friend You
Back in the Wizard selection window, select How people can find you on Facebook to configure these privacy settings. Select Continue to get to the Friend Requests window. If you have any pending Friend Requests, you’ll see them all listed here.
At the top of this list, select the button to the right of Who can send you friend requests? This will bring up a window to configure what audience on Facebook can send you new friend requests.
For better privacy, and so the general public can’t find you on Facebook, change this setting to Friends of friends. This way only someone who knows someone you already know will be able to contact you with a request. This keeps your profile away from the public search feature.
Select Next to set privacy for your Phone Number and Email. Typically, you won’t want anyone else to have access to such sensitive private information. Set these to Only me.
When you select Next, on the next page you’ll see the Search Engines privacy setting. This is where you can disable your profile from showing up in public search engines like Google.
If you are doing a lot of job hunting or for any reason don’t want people finding your profile from Google, it would be a good idea to disable this setting.
6. Set Apps and Websites Privacy
It’s always a good idea to verify which apps and websites you’ve provided access to for your Facebook information. On the wizard window, select Your data settings on Facebook to configure this. Scroll through this list and make sure that only the apps and websites you actually want to be able to access your Facebook data has access.
If you see any on this list that seems unusual or you don’t remember adding, then select the Remove button to remove its access to your Facebook data.
7. Disable or Enable Face Recognition
Select Next to move to the next page of this wizard. This is where you can configure whether Facebook can use face recognition technology to identify you in photos either you or other people share on Facebook. Facebook will use this technology to help your friends tag you when appropriate.
If you want to protect your facial recognition data, you can disable this setting. There isn’t a lot of security risk here, but some people like to disable this setting to reduce the number of times they’re tagged in photos that friends share on Facebook.
8. Configure Ad Preferences
The final wizard is ad preferences. To access this wizard, select Your ad preferences on Facebook. Select Continue and Next until you get to the Profile Information screen.
This is where you can either allow or block personal information about yourself to get passed to Facebook advertisers. If you’re especially sensitive about what advertisers know about you, then it’s a good idea to disable all of the toggle switches on this page.
Now you’ve worked your way all the way through the privacy wizards. Your account settings should be set to the ideal privacy and security preferences that you prefer. It’s a good idea to visit this wizard frequently and make sure all of the settings are still set to your preferences. Adjust them to increase your privacy as you prefer.
9. Set Up Extra Security
There is one more section where you can fine-tune additional security settings for added peace of mind. In your Facebook Settings window, select Security and Login again in the left navigation pane. Scroll down to the bottom until you see the Setting Up Extra Security box.
Inside this box are two important settings you should make sure you’ve configured. Select Edit to the right of Get alerts about unrecognized apps.
This helps protect you from hackers attempting to use apps to access your account, or if you’ve inadvertently clicked on something that gave an app access when you didn’t mean to.
Make sure to set the first two settings to Get notifications (Messenger is optional if you use it).
Also, make sure the checkboxes are enabled next to the email addresses where you want to receive those notifications.
Back on the previous page, select the Edit button to the right of Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you get locked out. This will drop down a section where you can choose from 3 to 5 “trusted contacts” from your list of Facebook friends.
This can serve as a last resort if you’ve forgotten your password and lost access to your phone and email. Your trusted contacts can send you a special URL with a code that’ll give you access back to your account again.
Why Facebook Security Settings are So Important
Facebook holds a lot of information about us. Not only contact and personal information but photos and personal thoughts that you’ve shared over the years. Because this information provides so much detail about you, it’s critical to protect it from prying eyes.
Make it a habit to regularly review these 9 key Facebook security settings and ensure that they’re always set with your personal privacy in mind.