Protect your friends from being spied on through your Facebook account

Facebook has created shortcuts to help users control their privacy settings on the platform.

This follows a contractor with consulting firm Cambridge Analytica releasing information on how the company obtained user data that was harvested from Facebook.

According to reports, this data was used to help Donald Trump win the US Presidential election.

The data was obtained through a company called Global Science Research, founded by Aleksandr Kogan.

Kogan developed a personality quiz app called “thisismydigitallife” that used the Facebook Login API and gathered profile data on Facebook.

The app also pulled the data of the friends of people who took the quiz, with Facebook reporting that data from 87 million profiles was harvested in this way.

In response to the reports about Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data, the company has contacted those affected and encouraged everyone on the platform to go through their privacy settings.

However, the instructions provided do not explicitly focus on how users can configure their accounts to prevent leaking their friends’ data.

Tips to ensure you do not expose your friends’ data are detailed below.


Delete imported contacts

Facebook and other social networks allow you to upload contacts from your phone to find friends.

This may result in friends who aren’t on Facebook receiving emails from the company.

Secondary email addresses of people already on Facebook which haven’t been linked to their profiles may also be identified in this way.

To prevent this, you must disable Continuous Contacts Upload in the Facebook app on your smartphone.

On Android, the setting is located under “App Settings”. On iOS, the setting is under “Settings,” then “Account Settings,” then “General.”

After disabling continuous contacts upload, you can navigate to Manage invites and imported contacts.

Here you can see whose information you’ve uploaded and delete it.

Facebook manage contacts and invites


Audit apps

Go through the apps and websites you have allowed access to your Facebook account and decide whether you want them to have access to your friends list.

You can do this by going to the Facebook website, clicking on the downward arrow in the top-right of the screen to open the menu, then clicking on Settings.

Under Settings select “Apps and websites.”

There you can click on individual apps and check whether they have access to your Friends list, and delete or block accordingly.

Facebook apps and websites


Don’t upload photos of people without permission

While Facebook lets you disable its ability to automatically tag you in photos using facial recognition, you must have an account to control this setting.

To protect people from having their faces used in Facebook’s recognition engine, you must ask them whether they are comfortable for you to post photos of them to the platform.

Facebook facial recognition


Set who can see your friends list

To prevent your list of Facebook friends from being exposed to the public, ensure you’ve set it to be private, or only visible to other friends.

Facebook privacy settings and tools


Now read: How to lock down your Facebook account for maximum privacy

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Protect your friends from being spied on through your Facebook account