Make Facebook more secure.
1 LOGIN PROTECTION
First, let’s make sure nobody can get into your Facebook account and post anything they shouldn’t and, if they do, that you’ll know about it. Head to www.facebook.com as usual and, on the right side of the blue header bar, click the downward pointing arrow and head to Settings. In the left column, click ‘Security and login’, then scroll down to the ‘Setting up extra security’ section.
2 NOTIFY ME
Click Edit next to ‘Get alerts about unrecognised logins’, and select the appropriate options to receive a Facebook notification when a new machine logs in, or an email sent to any addresses you’ve confirmed with Facebook in the past, then save changes. There’s a link here to add a new address, which will take you to more settings; click ‘Security and login’ to get back.
3 FRIENDLY HELP
Select the ‘Choose 3 to 5 friends...’ option, then click ‘Choose friends’. Facebook gives you the option of choosing real-life buddies who can help you get back into your account should it be compromised. Click ‘Choose trusted contacts’, type their names — Facebook will find them from your friends list — and click Confirm. That’s it for you; they’ll be informed of what they need to do next.
4 THE SECURITY FACTOR
Two-factor authentication, the middle option, means you’ll need two things to log in — your usual password, and a security code. This could be generated by your Facebook mobile app, sent to your phone, or pulled from a cache of spare codes that you’ll keep secret. Run through the options to set this up — it’s easy as long as you have a mobile number associated with your account.
5 DEFINING DEFAULTS
Select Privacy in the left column. Here, you can define the default privacy settings for your future posts — we’d recommend Friends, although it’s possible to exclude some on your friends list by choosing ‘Friends except...’ or set all your posts to private — this couldn’t be more secure, although you’ll need to manually set the privacy of each post as you make it — see Step 10 below.
6 GET RETROACTIVE
If you’ve previously been posting things publicly, you may be worried that you’ll now have to plough through all your old posts to hide them from prying eyes. Not so — use the ‘Limit past posts’ option to automatically set your archived posts to friends-only. You can also use the options below to restrict who’s allowed to look you up or canvass you with a friend request.
7 BLOCK AND BANISH
You can do more than deflect friend requests — head to the Blocking section in the left column of settings and you can deny app requests, block specific users from seeing anything you post, stop people contacting you via Facebook Messenger, and more. You can also block and mute users on your timeline by clicking the downward arrow on their posts and reviewing your options.
8 PROFILE PRIVACY
Now use the ‘Timeline and tagging’ section to choose who’s allowed to see your profile page. This is perhaps the most critical part of everything we’re doing here — your profile page could well be linking to personally identifying information, so you’ll want to ensure non-friends can see as little as possible. If embarrassing relatives keep posting to your timeline, you can nix it here, too.
9 CLEVER MOVES
Your next step isn’t one that Facebook can help you with directly, it’s more common sense. Click your profile picture on the blue bar to head to your profile page, then click ‘Edit profile’. Remove any information that isn’t absolutely critical to someone finding you — be as cagey as you can. To hide old posts, click the top right arrow on each one, select Edit and change the status.
10 POSTING CLEVER
Now click the Facebook logo to head back to your timeline. In the box at the top, begin creating a new post. You’ll see, at the bottom of the post composition box, a drop-down box marked Friends. This is the post’s privacy; you can quickly set a post to private, or share it with specific people, by clicking this box. Bear it in mind when you post from now on.