David Papp Blog

5 ways to secure your Facebook account

Facebook has many security measures in place that help protect user accounts, but what are some of the things you can do to make your account extra secure?

1. Control the ads that appear

Many aren’t aware that Facebook has an ad preferences feature that allows you to control what type of ads appear on your page. For example, you often see ads that show pet services because you listed “dogs” as one of your interests. If you don’t like seeing these ads on your page, you can simply use the ad preferences feature to prevent them from appearing again.

2. Choose the audience for your posts

Worried about who sees your photos or posts on Facebook? Use Facebook’s Privacy Settings and Tools. These will allow you to control nearly everything, from which Friends can view a particular album, to who will be able to tag you on photos. A big thing I always caution people in my presentations is to avoid the setting Friends of Friends. Some people treat Facebook as a popularity contest and have no idea who all their “friends” are. I recommend you review your privacy settings on a regular basis to know exactly who has access to viewing your personal information.

3. Block certain users

Do you have someone stalking you, sending rude messages, or simply bothering you? The answer’s simple: block them! They won’t be able to contact you, see your comments on other people’s pages, or see any of your posts.

To block someone, go to Privacy Shortcuts, click on the “How do I stop someone from bothering me?” option, and enter the name of the person.

4. Beware of any suspicious activity

Open your Security settings and take a look at recognized devices and active sessions. If you notice anything suspicious, you can select Edit and then Remove to ensure your Facebook account isn’t being used on an unknown device.

5. View your profile as another person

Take a look at how your Facebook appears publicly, or to a specific person. This is a great eye opener for many. Go to your profile page, select the button right next to “View Activity Log,” and then choose “View as…”. You’ll then be able to see what photos, posts, and content are visible to other users.

19 thoughts on “5 ways to secure your Facebook account”

  1. Good checklist. However, it could be added that you should also change your password frequently and choose one with both small and capital letters, digits and even other characters (if available).
    Blocking a person may not always be the best solution, because they’ll still be able to check you out through other person’s profiles. I’m currently being “stalked” by someone on Facebook, even though I blocked her. She just keeps opening her mother’s profile and checks my profile whenever she wants. So, unless you may want to block a lot of people, blocking someone is just the beginning of the trouble.

    • That’s a pretty interesting loophole. Facebook should really consider taking a look at it and patching it up because people right now think that blocking people should, in fact, block them.
      How would you remember such a complex password? Do you use a password manager? I know personally I would not be able to remember something with so many symbols, digits, and capitalized/non-capitalized letters.

  2. Facebook is so full of hidden corners it’s hard to find where certain data or features exists.
    Just finding out about the active sessions has been valuable, I wonder why this knowledge isn’t advertised by Facebook very well.
    Thanks for this

  3. Hey David, thanks for that heads up. I consider myself to be a bit of a techie and still was surprised by some of the loopholes I had left open. However, one thing I think may be added to this is have a recovery phone number attached to the account that only you have access to. This would allow you to regain access to your account and perform damage control in case a breach ever occurs.

  4. I wish I found this article before deactivating my account. I’ve been hacked multiple times because of not being secure enough and this list covers almost everything I did wrong. For one, I didn’t even know you could control ads… woah. I need to pay attention more and be more secure altogether.

  5. I don’t trust facebook’s security. I had notifications vanish without explanation, people adding me without my consent and complete strangers tag me on random pictures that had nothing to do with me. I only use it for silly things. It’s the best way to keep in touch with old friends.

    • Something really odd happened to a friend of mine actually. She met her now husband on Facebook, because of a friend invitation she never sent D: She didn’t even think about it, because they are to this day still married, and back then she was so happy she met him 🙂 But yeah, I always thought it was very weird she claimed she never sent that friend invitation to him.

  6. I always tell my friends how important it is to do this – yet very few of them listen to me! Facebook is a wonderful tool, but it is used best if you take the time to edit your posts so that only relevant people or groups are able to see them. Also, blocking is an incredible tool. If somebody is annoying or pestering you in real life you can do little about it, yet on Facebook you have the ability to get rid of them in just a couple of clicks, which is excellent! There is no need to feel open and vulnerable on Facebook, so simply make the most of the tools that are available to you and make sure that your account is both safe and secure.

    • This is so true what you said about “blocking is an incredible tool”. I had problems with a profile that was a classic bully and would not stop posting at my page and provoking me, until the day I finally realize how easy it was to just block him! It is sad to say so, but some people just deserve to be blocked.

    • Yeah, sadly many people have learnt this the hard way… so many cases of people who have shared the wrong picture on Facebook, then faced the consequences. Some went as far as losing their jobs or even relationships 🙁 I hate it how easy it is too share too much information about oneself online. Specially bad when you pair this with teenagers!

      I actually dread having children for that same reason… now it’s harder to keep them away from trouble. They can really get in trouble in so many different ways online now… they don’t seem to care about privacy at all either.

  7. I don’t think you can go wrong with two-factor authentication. There’s no way anybody is getting into your account once you have Facebook setup with code generator, either through SMS or their mobile app.

    That way, if anyone wants to log into your Facebook account from a new device, the only way they are going to be able to do that is whether they have a code from your smartphone, or get approval from a device you already use Facebook.

    • Yeah, I think the code generator feature is great, but it can be really troublesome if you lose your phone one way or another. I had that problem with a Google account in the past, and it was really troublesome. I just mention this because this is something people should keep in mind.

  8. I do agree with previous posters here. This is a useful list and the comments suggest some sensible additions. The ‘friends of friends’ advice is wise indeed. I discovered that one person (a real life face-to-face friend) had close to a thousand Facebook ‘friends’. Sobering indeed!

  9. I’ve known people who visit cyber cafes, log into Facebook but when they leave they forget to log out of their account. It can be a costly mistake as some people are ill-mannered. They could post something embarassing on your timeline and you’ll have a hard time convincing your friends that you didn’t do it.

    This can happen to anyone. You’ve heard stories of thieves who post on the Facebook accounts of victims they are stealing from? It can happen to anyone who doesn’t log out. Any device can be stolen. And the thief can access your account quite easily.

    To avoid that, log out of your account when you leave Facebook. It’s that simple.

  10. Great tips! When I still had a personal Facebook account (I still have on,e but it’s face and is there only to easily access several web sites and games online), I used to view my page as another person. Just to make sure I wasn’t sharing too much or something I might not want certain people to see. I had no idea about the ads part, it’s amazing it’s possible to control what ads are presented to us! I wonder if this option was available back when I was actively using Facebook.

  11. Wow I did not know you could view your profile as another person! I just changed a bunch of stuff because I had no idea it was visible to others. Wasn’t really security stuff just dumb things like my hometown I don’t want displayed. But I do take full advantage of disabling certain people (like exes and family members) from viewing my posts. I also disable seeing certain annoying peoples posts. Great article!

  12. I like these tips. Thinking outside of the box. They are much better than the usual change your password every few weeks or so. Either use a password managing program or just use a strong password from the get-go.

  13. I’m actually really bad when it comes to online security, I use the same password and very rarely alter it and I know that that is a terrible idea, I think that because I’ve been lucky with regards to my online security I don’t really think about too much but that could all change very quickly. I just need to spend a little time making sure my information is secure before disaster hits.

  14. All relevant points and must be followed. Facebook is the least secure social media website and you have to take extra care to keep it from being broken into. Some more points to consider in order to be safe on facebook are: Never entertain anonymous invitations, do not make friends with people with people you don’t know, make proper use of the privacy and security setting of your profile and make sure you keep changing your password from time time.

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