March 21, 2018 12:56 PM

Many people don’t “like” Facebook at the moment.

The social media giant faced backlash following reports of an alleged data breach involving a data analytics firm allegedly misusing millions of users’ information to target election ads for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The firm reportedly gained access to users’ data and that of their friends through third-party apps.

The controversy has understandably upset many people, particularly daily Facebook users who are now asking themselves, “Should I delete my Facebook?” amid privacy concerns. There is hope, however, for those who can’t see themselves ever disconnecting from the platform. 

Below, a guide on how to better your user experience on Facebook while keeping a low profile.

Why are people deleting Facebook?

Last Friday, former Cambridge Analytics employee Christopher Wylie, who worked for the data firm up until 2014, spelled out the company’s exploitative tactics to garner information from as many as 50 million users via its affiliated behavior research firm Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), according to a bombshell report by the New York Times. This was done after then-presidential candidate Donald Trump hired the firm to target election ads during his campaign. After the report went live, Facebook dropped the third-party service, which reportedly violated the social network’s privacy terms after reportedly lying about deleting users’ information.

On Monday, Facebook announced they hired a digital forensics team to investigate Cambridge Analytics and the alleged data breach. It was recently learned on Wednesday that investors are suing Facebook because of the scandal and subsequent market plunge.

What’s the easiest way to protect my data and stay on?

Refrain from using Facebook to log into other apps on your phone (for instance, by using your Facebook login to access AirBnb or Instagram). If you do decide to log into, say, Candy Crush, using Facebook, you’re giving permission to said app and Facebook to exchange information about you. As for how you can stop Facebook from accessing these important details,  all you have to do is click on the hamburger menu on the bottom right of the Facebook app, click “Settings”, then “Account Settings”, then “Apps and Websites” — which list all the apps you’ve connected to via Facebook — then click “Platform”, hit “Edit” and choose “Turn Off Platform” to disable this feature.

How about my basic profile information (i.e. hometown, education, etc.)?

It’s preferred to keep details under wraps, or at least available for you and your Facebook friends (not the public, which is also an option on Facebook). To do so, head over to “Settings”, then “Privacy Shortcuts” then “Privacy Checkup”, which gives you the chance to edit any of your profile information, in terms of privacy. This also gives you an opportunity to delete all those third-party apps you have on Facebook.

… Is there anything I can do outside the Facebook app?

Yes! Be sure to turn off your location services when it’s not necessary. Because these third-party apps most likely can access your location due to its syncing up with Facebook, it’s best to keep the two separate, thus allowing for added security measures. If you’re using an iPhone, go to “Settings”, click “Privacy”, and choose “Location Services”.

Android users can do the same by heading to “Account Settings”, followed by “Location”.

What’s the difference between deleting and deactivating?

Deleting is just like it sounds, while deactivating is temporary. You can deactivate (and reactivate) at any time. Think of deactivation as a test run of what it would really be like if you were to permanently delete your account. Once your account is deactivated, your profile won’t be able to be viewed by Facebook friends. You can easily reactivate your account by signing back on. In order to deactivate your account, select “Settings”, choose “General”, click “Manage Your Account”, and scroll down to click “Deactivate Your Account”.

So, how do I delete Facebook?

Hey, we don’t blame you. If you do decide to take the plunge and leave Facebook for good, Today‘s Jeff Rossen recommends clicking on this link. Just remember it takes about a month for your account to get deleted and up to three months for your all your information to be wiped off the platform.

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