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Essential Facebook settings you need to change now

Essential Facebook settings you need to change now
© Aleksey Boldin | Dreamstime.com

It's a well-known fact that having a Facebook account isn't great for your privacy. If you aren't careful, you could post the wrong thing to the world and get in trouble at work, school, with family or even the law.

If that wasn't bad enough, hackers and identity thieves are also watching your account to pick up tidbits they can use against you. Burglars even use Facebook to pick targets to rob; make sure you know how to stay off their list. So, it should come as no surprise when we say that having the right Facebook privacy settings is critical. But there are many settings so it's easy to miss some.

Facebook has helped the situation somewhat with its Privacy Checkup feature, aka the blue dinosaur. Simply log in to your account and click the padlock icon in the upper-right corner.

Privacy checkup

This gives you quick access to locking down who can see your posts and can contact you. That's great for covering the two big privacy problems, but there are plenty of other settings you need to know about.

That's why we're going to walk you through Facebook's privacy options and tell you which ones you definitely want to change. Even if you think you already have them set correctly, Facebook changes its settings and where they're located frequently so you should double-check.

To get started, log into your Facebook account. Then click the downward arrow in the upper-right corner and choose Settings.



You'll start on the General settings page. This is where you adjust your name, username, email, password, networks and temperature units.


Your name and username are visible to anyone who searches for you, although you can minimize this in later settings. If you don't want people to find you easily, don't use the same username you use for other social media or the first part of your email address. Learn more about how using the same username everywhere can expose your entire online life.


Move to the Security tab by clicking the Security link in the left column. The Security tab is where you set up login security, choose trusted contacts and browsers, manage your sessions and deactivate your account.


Make sure you turn on "Login Alerts," which alerts you when someone logs in to your account from an unfamiliar gadget. Then turn on "Login Approvals."

"Login Approvals" means you can only log in on a new computer or gadget if you have your phone with you to receive a special code. Even if a hacker gets your information, they'd need your phone as well to get into your account.

It's a little annoying at times, but the extra security is worth it. And you can set up trusted browsers and gadgets that don't require the extra security. You'll only see it if you try to log in from an unfamiliar gadget.

If you're worried about being locked out of your account, you can set up "Trusted Contacts." These are friends who can help you get back in if you're locked out, either unintentionally or by a hacker.

Review "Where You're Logged In" to make sure you didn't leave a computer or gadget logged in somewhere that you didn't mean to, such as a library computer, or that someone isn't logged in without your knowledge.

This is also the area you can set up a "Legacy Contact," which is someone who can take over your account in the event something happens to you.

Next page: Polish your privacy
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