Part 2: Protecting yourself from #Facebook and online Spies

Per my previous post, I concluded Facebook is unsafe for anyone to use. Facebook is a global surveillance and propaganda platform masquerading as a way of “connecting people”. Facebook’s collected data has leaked out through Facebook platform apps to third parties – from 2005 to 2015 and possibly longer. Regardless of the leaks, Facebook has sold this data to advertisers and political groups – even though much of what they collect is bad or noisy data, and wrong. Facebook also enables this data to be used to intentionally discriminate against people.

What to Do If You Cannot Delete Facebook

For those us that cannot delete our Facebook accounts, there are steps we can take to enhance our privacy and minimize the impacts of Facebook. Unfortunately, FB does not make this easy – consequently, explaining how to do this is going to be split into several, sometimes very long posts!

The general ideas are to:

  • Download the Facebook “archive” of everything you have posted. Then start deleting online content that you no longer need.
  • Deleting old content is nearly impossible. I had 11 years worth of “stuff” on Facebook. The only way to delete it is to View Activity Timeline and then select each item, one by one, and click about 3 times, to delete each item, individually. That is unusable, by design. Facebook does not want you to delete anything. Instead, you can use the Social Book Manager extension in Chrome to bulk select past posts, comments and likes, and delete them or unlike.
  • Set Facebook “privacy” settings to their strongest settings. As we will see later, this is hard to do as the real settings are not labeled “privacy” and are hard to find.
  • Remove yourself from most Groups you have joined. Because FB filters the content that appears in your news feed, you may see few or no posts from Groups.
  • Unfollow most Pages, for the same reason as Groups. In both cases, joining a Group or “Liking” or “Following” a Page is used to collect your interests and information about you.
  • Turn off most notifications. These are used to “nag” you to waste time on Facebook.
  • Do not use your primary email address for online social media sites. Your email address is used to associate your online activities with your offline activities in third party databases.
  • Do not give them your phone number (same reason as email). Most services do not need your phone number but will nag you to give them your phone number.
  • Do not give a social media web site your credit card number, and if you do, do not allow them to store the number. The credit card number is another way of linking your online activities with your offline, retail store purchases.
  • Never, ever upload a Contacts list to web service or app (or give the app permissions to access your Contacts unless critical to app functionality)
  • Uninstall seldom used apps from your phones and tablets. Up to half of apps are spying on some aspect of your activities. Alternatively, turn off most app Permissions to deny them access to your Contacts, phone and text messages.
  • Delete Facebook Photo Albums (fairly easy to do).
  • Delete Contacts (easy to delete all uploaded Contacts).
  • Use privacy enhanced browsers to surf the web. These work to block online trackers and to remove cookie files automatically.
  • And a whole lot more.

The next post will give detailed instructions on the above plus many more hidden Facebook settings.

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