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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Should I delete my Facebook Account?

See No Evil Monkey
Over the weekend I will be seeing my sister, who was a computer programmer and may know more about the lack of security while using technology. She will not start a Facebook page or sign up for online stuff. She has and uses an email address, but is very cautious about lots of things.

I, on the other hand, started signing up for stuff almost as soon as the Internet became a thing. I know nothing about programming or the secrets behind computers (except that there are some). I was always a teacher encouraging other teachers to use technology on their own and with their kids. I had to try things out before I told them to use them.

So, now that we are ALL becoming more aware of how intrusive technology can be into our lives and how much our data (all of the information about us) is being leaked in ways we can't control, what do we do?

thumbs down to FacebookI think that we will all deal with it in different ways. I respect those who decide to delete their Facebook pages ('how to' below). I think it is too late for me. What is out there does not go away and I think that if anyone wants to find my data they can do it. I am not claiming that I am so gullible as to think that my squeaky-clean life will not be misused to cause me trouble. I am just hoping it won't.

At the same time, I am tightening my privacy settings on Facebook and being more aware of what I am signing up for and in general how online stuff can be used. Even if your data was not stolen by Cambridge Analytica, they still put ads on Facebook that might have swayed an election. That is huge. So, I am very supportive of government actions that will tighten up regulations.
baby ducksI actually like Facebook. I enjoy perusing what my family and friends are doing. I enjoy looking at pictures of new grandchildren, etc....  In fact, I don't use it regularly because it steals my time. I start and a few hours later I realize that I have just spent a pleasant two hours on what was supposed to be 5 minutes. Honestly, I also like what they are doing with ads. I am not sure I would pay for it, so I am glad it is free and it is OK with me that they put ads on the page. I am glad that they have changed their model to aim ads at me instead of just putting up whatever ad paid the most, or whatever. I used to see ads for 'male-part' enlargement regularly. Now I just see stuff aimed at older women (how to lose weight, clothes to hide rolls, comfortable shoes, etc...) It is OK.

What I don't like and didn't realize that they were doing is following my search and browsing habits on the Internet. I think Facebook should stick to Facebook and not be gathering data from other locations.

So, here are things that I recommend you do whether you are Deleting your account or just being more careful about privacy:

  1. Go into your Facebook Account and click on the shadow of a triangle pointing down at the top right of the screen
  2. Choose SETTINGS (near the bottom of the list)
  3. Choose GENERAL ( it may just open to general)
  4. Click on the word EDIT next to Manage Account.
  5. From here slide down and you can choose to DEACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT. Deactivating allows you to go off of Facebook. However, if you change your mind in the future you can get back on again.
  6. If you want to DELETE your account completely you need to email Facebook and request that your account be deleted. Once this is done you cannot restore your account. Here is a link with more instruction for DELETING your account.
  1. Following the same instructions go to settings. There are several places to look for Privacy settings because it is complicated. You may want to check out all of your settings, but I will mention a few important ones.
  2. Security and Login - Check all of these settings. Make sure that you have them set in ways you are comfortable. Two-factor authentication means that every time you log in you will have to have your phone nearby to get a code to enter into the account. It is very secure because no one else can get into your account (knows your password) and has your phone.
  3. Privacy - Again, check all of these settings. They control WHO can see your posts and who can contact you. To change anything click EDIT and pull down the choices. I think that Facebook is meant for sharing, so it is hard for me to understand why someone would put "just me", but that is a choice. I guess you could use it as a journal.
  4. Blocking - You can block other users of Facebook from all sorts of things. Check here to see if there is anything you want to block.
  5. Face Recognition - maybe this is creepy, maybe not, but you can control it. It means that it will show you when someone posts a picture of you even if you are not mentioned in their post.
  6. Public Posts - This is more control for who can see your stuff. Even if you have locked up searching for you on Facebook people can go to Google and search for you.  
  7. Apps and Websites - Finally, this is one that was new to me, but I think is important. Often when you sign up for something it asks you whether you want to log in with Facebook. This is much easier than trying to remember yet another password. However, what it does is create a link between Facebook and that other website. It means that you are sharing information more widely than you thought. I went through and removed ALL of the ones that were there. Then I went about my regular business. I found that the one place that said it needed a Facebook login was this Newsletter. I post my newsletter on my business and personal sites. I decided I still needed to do that and that I trusted Mailchimp not to misuse my info. So I added it back on.
There are a few other settings that I did not mention. It does not hurt anything to click on them to see what they are about. I skipped ones that did not have a connection to privacy.

So, whatever you decide my wish is that you will feel good about it and enjoy life online as much as offline.

Let me know what you think about this!  I am curious.

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