As more of our communication moves online it has become more important than ever to keep our personal information private.
Scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica leak are a reminder of how much control messaging and social media platforms have over our personal information, and how much we expose to the rest of the world.
As a general rule, it is sensible not to expose more information than you need to, as it can be a valuable resource to hackers who would use it against you.
While your personal data is probably secure with WhatsApp and Facebook, there are a number of tools you can use to ensure that your privacy is not compromised.
To help you do this, we have outlined how to keep your data private on WhatsApp and Facebook below.
WhatsApp includes a number of security and privacy-focused features, the most important of which is end-to-end encryption on conversations.
This means that WhatsApp is unable to read the conversations you have with your contacts.
However, this same encryption is not applied to cloud backups, meaning that when your conversations are backed up to Google Drive or iCloud through the app, they are no longer encrypted.
This could potentially allow for the content of your conversations to be inspected by either cloud provider or governments.
If backups are disabled or set to store data locally, however, your privacy is protected – at the cost of a convenient online backup solution.
Another privacy change you can make is to turn off Read Receipts and Last Seen information, if you do not wish your contacts to have this information.
As far as keeping your data private goes, this is almost the extent of the changes you can make to protect your conversations – short of password-protecting your messaging app.
When using applications like WhatsApp, it is crucial that you follow best security practices and enable two-factor authentication on your account and turn on security notifications.
This greatly reduces the risk of others compromising your privacy in the case of theft.
If you are concerned about personal information being being made public through your Facebook account, the first step is to conduct a privacy check.
Previously, you could use the “View As” function to see what your profile looked like to other people, but this tool contained a security flaw which resulted in the private information of 14 million users being stolen.
Now your best option is to click on the Help drop-down menu and select the Privacy Checkup option to look through your privacy settings and ensure everything is in order.
This inspection allows you to choose your privacy settings and select exactly what information you show to the public and your friends.
Privacy Checkup also allows you to see which apps and websites you have linked to your Facebook account.
Through your privacy settings, you select which websites and apps you no longer want linked to your Facebook profile and remove them permanently, along with any posts made through these interfaces.
When it comes to sharing information with Facebook and advertisers, you can also select what profile information you would like to share.
It is a good idea to visit your privacy settings and go through each option to ensure you know exactly what information Facebook is storing about you and what you are sharing with users and advertisers.
To get an overview of the information Facebook has about you, visit the Your Information page while logged into your Facebook account.