Facebook has been a very famous social networking platform for everyone, including professionals and students. Since it was launched in February 2004, Facebook gained worldwide popularity, presently having more than 1 billion users. The website has had such an impact on social media that it also started brand promotion and marketing services for companies, businesses and people. But like every positive thing has a negative aspect to it, Facebook has been vulnerable to few security issues, spam and unhealthy information in recent past. So it is important for every one to be aware of the privacy and security options to avoid unwanted damage and to enjoy a safe and healthy social networking.
The growing popularity and scope of Facebook network makes it a popular choice for hackers and cyber criminals to take unfair advantage of Facebook users. Even though Facebook has strong security features, couple of hacking and spamming incidents in the recent past is definitely a concern, like the porn attack that happened on Nov 13 last year, when more than sixty lakh Facebook accounts were hacked. The damage was drastically limited by Facebook. More details here. Therefore, before creating and using Facebook account, it is very important for everyone to understand their privacy and security options and ensure a safe networking.
Your Facebook Privacy
Facebook has extensive privacy features which can be customized according to your choice. To go to the privacy settings you just have to click the downward arrow mark located on top right of your Facebook account.
- You can make your Facebook profile visible for everyone (public), only to your friends, or even customize your visibility according to your needs.
- You can choose how you connect with others on Facebook, like who can look you up with your email address, phone number, who can send you friend requests and messages.
- You can also choose who can post on your timeline, who can tag you and also set the visibility of them.
- You can choose the visibility of your Facebook applications activity, the kind of app requests from others, your visibility in third party social ads, and also options to find friends and interesting content on other websites of your interest.
- By using the Facebook privacy settings, you can also limit the audience of your past posts and even manage the blocking of people and apps on Facebook.
Facebook Security Tips
- Pick a strong password: Use a combination of at least six numbers, letters, and punctuation marks (like ! and &)
- Make sure your email account(s) are secure.
- Log out of Facebook when you use a computer you share with other people.
- Run anti-virus software on your computer.
- Add a security question to your account.
- Use Facebook extra security features.
- Think before you click or download anything.
Recent reports show that girls on Facebook are more often prone to harassment, and their Facebook accounts are targeted by hackers for taking unfair advantage of them. So it is important for girls to take some extra precautions to avoid any kind of threat. You can read all about it here.
To make the social networking platform much more safe and secured, Facebook has come up with Extra Security Features like:
One-Time Passwords - This is an opt-in security feature of Facebook where you can send a text message to Facebook and get a one time password that will be valid only for 20 minutes. This is a useful feature when you use public computers.
Active Sessions - This is a security feature shown in your Security Settings page displaying a list of your recent Facebook log in sessions, along with the information about the date, time, approximate location and type of device used to sign in. You will also have an option to end any active log in sessions there.
App Passwords - These are again one-time passwords that you can use to log in to your apps, which will help in keeping your Facebook password safe.
Login Notifications - Another opt-in security feature where you are alerted each and every time your account is accessed from a new device.
Login Approvals - This is an extra security feature similar to log in notifications, where you will be asked to enter a special login code every time you try to access your Facebook account from a new computer or mobile device. You will also have an option to name and save that device in your account, so that you won't be asked for code when you log in from those recognized devices.
Secure Browsing (https) - Security feature that will encrypt all of your activity on Facebook, making it difficult for others to access your Facebook information without your permission.
The latest tips from Facebook to prevent hacking, as published in Mashable:
- Review your security settings and consider enabling login notifications. They’re in the drop-down box under Account on the upper right hand corner of your Facebook home page.
- Do not click on strange links, even if they are from friends, and notify the person if you see something suspicious.
- Do not click on friend requests from unknown parties.
- If you come across a scam, report it so that it can be taken down.
- Do not download any applications you are not certain about.
- For using Facebook from places like hotels and airports, text “otp” to 32665 for a one-time password to your account.
- Visit Facebook’s security page and read the “Take Action” and “Threats” sections.
Facebook Violation and Hacking
Inspite of taking several privacy and security measures, there can be few instances when people violate Facebook terms and might even get into hacking. If you feel that someone has violated Facebook terms like abusing you, sharing indecent material, phishing, spamming or scamming you, you can report them to Facebook, either directly from the timeline using the gear icon on top right, or following the Facebook prescribed reporting procedure according to the type of violation. You can find further information in the reference section. Facebook reviews the links and profiles under report, removes, and takes appropriate action against them.
And if you feel that your Facebook account is compromised or hacked, click the 'Forgot your password?' link that is located on the Facebook homepage and follow the steps to identify your account. If you have the access to any of your emails listed on your account, you can request Facebook to send reset password option to your email. But if you do not have access to any of the email addresses linked to your Facebook account, click the link saying 'No longer have access to these?' under the list of your email addresses. Follow the directions, answer your security question and regain the access to your account. Note that Facebook takes 24 hours for this restoring process, as a safety measure.
If you are unable to answer your security question, Facebook has also got a new security feature called "Trusted Friends" to help you when your account is locked. You can take help of the "Trusted Friends" list (important security feature to be created by you), where Facebook will send codes to this list of your trusted friends, from whom you can collect the codes, follow the instructions and reset your password. And if you do not have any of these options, you need to contact your email service provider first, re-instate the email account and reset the Facebook password using that email address. You can find video explanation of this process in the reference section below.
Facebook in general is a secured social networking platform, and with its many extensive features, it protects the safety of its users. The graphical representation here clearly explains the secure system of Facebook and the actions to be taken in case of security issues. However, it is also the responsibility of all Facebook users to keep the social platform clean and informative.
Reporting a violation on Facebook
Facebook hacking - Mashable
Facebook - Trusted friends
Facebook security page
Facebook privacy settings
Facebook security settings
Facebook extra security features
Restore hacked account - Facebook video
Reporting content on Facebook