REVEALED: How To Keep Data Safe Without #DeleteFacebook


‘BFF’ is Not Zuckerberg’s Secret Tool to Save Your Facebook Data

Typing BFF in a comment box on Facebook won't safeguard your data, in case you were wondering.

A viral message doing the rounds on Facebook reads,

"Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, invented the word BFF to make sure your account is safe on Facebook, type BFF in a comment. If it appears green, your account is protected. If it does not appear in green, change your password immediately because it may be hacked by someone."

This post is also floating across the world in different languages. And while certain words like “congratulations” and “xoxo” appear in a new colour when typed in the comments, “BFF” has nothing to do with safeguarding data.

Don’t fall for fake news

In the meantime, there are suggestions to make your data as safe as possible.

1. Unfriend People You Don't Know or Barely Speak To:

It's fun to have a high friend count, but as the Cambridge Analytica incident proved, your data could be vulnerable through your network. Weed out anyone you don't really know or haven't spoken to in years.

2. Be Aware Of What's Publicly Available From Your Profile

Facebook has an option to see what your profile looks like to the public. Go to Settings > Timeline and Tagging > Review > Review what other people see on your timeline, and click View As.

3. Lock Down Any Information You Don't Want To Be Public

For instance, you might not want anyone and everyone to know your hometown, your marital status, or where you work.

4. Review Which Apps Have Access To Your Data

If you've been using Facebook for a long time, you've probably enabled a staggering number of apps that you've completely forgotten about. Go to Settings > Apps > Logged in with Facebook and remove anything that doesn't absolutely need access to your Facebook profile.

Deleting those apps means Facebook will no longer provide them with your data, though you have to reach out to the app developer directly to get them to delete the data they already have. Facebook provides you with a link to contact the developer to begin the process.

5. Disable API sharing

Many websites and apps allow you to sign in with your Facebook account. This means one less password to remember. But it also means Facebook is connected to whatever you're doing in that app or on that site. 

If you really want to disconnect, disable API sharing by going to Settings > Apps > Apps, Website and Plugins, and click Edit. Disable it.

It's worth noting that this is something of a nuclear option: Some dating and ride-sharing apps and other sites require you to use a Facebook login as a way of proving you're really who you say you are. If you disable API sharing entirely, you won't be able to use them, so you might want to review and revoke permissions on a case-by-case basis.

6. Limit What You Share About Yourself

If you're committed to throwing Facebook and advertisers off your trail, make it harder for them to pin down exactly who you are. Mark Marino, director of the Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab at USC, says he tells people to create a little noise in their profile. 

There's no reason Facebook needs to know your hometown, or which of your friends are actually your family members. A lot of people fill in those fields just because they're there, but they are not mandatory to having a Facebook account.

7. Be Careful What You Click On, Especially Games

Whenever you open an app on Facebook, it will ask you for permission.  Facebook games have started doing this as well, and in a much more cunning way. If you click play or agree without reading over the terms, it is likely the app has already taken your data.

Take the game “Chess” for example. It—like every game on Facebook—is accompanied by this message: “Friends will be able to see that you play. By playing, the game will be able to access your name and profile picture, see people you know on Facebook or Messenger that play this game, and send you message.”

8. Put Aside Time To Update Your Privacy Settings:

It may seem like a drag, but 20 minutes to sit down and wrap your head around Facebook’s privacy settings could save your data.

On the home page, click on the question mark bubble next to your notifications tab. A drop-down menu will give you three options: Privacy, Privacy Checkup and Privacy Shortcuts. Privacy Checkup seems like a good choice to set everything up, but it feels more like a checklist Facebook can use to say “we told you so.”

Privacy Shortcuts is a little bit better, you get some very basic options such as “who can see my stuff” and “how do I stop someone from bothering me.” The Privacy section is just a list of FAQs.

The real solution comes from the small arrow next to the question mark bubble. Click it for a drop-down menu that will let you go to settings. From there, click privacy. It is important in this section to make sure everything is either Friends or Only Me.


Facebook's App Settings page is one of the social network's most important privacy destinations.

App Settings displays Facebook apps that are connected to your Facebook account. Here, you can see what data you provide apps and disable sharing select info. You can also remove the app completely from your Facebook account. Yes, even the FarmVille app you downloaded three years ago.

Web: Click or tap the downward-facing triangle to launch a drop-down menu at the top right of, then select Settings, and click or tap Apps.

Android: Tap the three-line button at the top right of the Facebook app. Here you select Account settings and then Apps.

In iOS: Tap the three-line button (bottom right of Facebook's app), then select Settings, and go to Account Settings. Finally, select Apps.

It's probably wise to unlink any Facebook apps from your account you no longer use. Remember, Cambridge Analytica's app was legitimate on the surface. Apps have access to your friend list and any information your friends choose to make public -- don't be fooled.



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