Facebook represents a fun way to stay in touch with friends and family. But it also has a much darker side, one that goes well beyond billions of fake users.
The social media channel has been implicated in increasingly dangerous false news outbreaks. Its live streaming capabilities have led to the recording and transmission of disturbing content including murders and suicides.
And it remains a haunt of hackers, identity thieves, and individuals who prey on the innocent in a wide variety of ways. To put it mildly, Facebook is no longer a harmless digital media.
Of course, it remains a necessary evil for individuals who’d like to stay in touch with the people that they care about. So, how do you enjoy this pastime securely? No matter your age, read on for the essentials when it comes to Facebook safety.
Security, Facebook, and You
How to stay safe on Facebook? Start with some ground rules that apply to individuals of all ages.
First and foremost, Facebook’s not for everybody. Especially if you’re less than 13 years old. Facebook strictly prohibits anybody under the age of 13 from registering an account.
And if they catch you lying about your age? They’ll delete your account and all of your pics and info.
As for your moniker, think twice before using your full legal name on this popular social media channel. It represents an all-too-tempting target for identity thieves and other predators.
Even though Facebook forbids users from taking fake names, there are exceptions such as nicknames. So, consider using a nickname as your first or middle name. Find out more about which name variants Facebook allows.
Besides your name, think carefully about the password you’d like to use. Make it complex with a good smattering of letters, numbers, and characters, and never give it out to anybody.
When accessing your account in a public place, make sure you always log out completely. Otherwise, you risk inadvertently giving others your password, too.
Don’t Give Out Personal Info
Besides taking extra care with young users and the name that you choose, make sure that you spend some time adjusting your security settings. Yes, you may want to be the belle of the social media ball.
But that doesn’t mean giving criminals personal information that they can use against you. For example, we recommend only allowing individuals that you’ve already accepted as friends or family to see the details of your profile and pictures.
You should also take extra care when it comes to contact information. Don’t post your telephone number or personal email on Facebook.
Why? Because your close friends and family should already have this information. And hackers could use it to torment you through SPAM and incessant calling.
Think Before You Post
You think before you speak, right? Well, this same rule of conduct applies when it comes to Facebook. Think carefully before making any post.
Never post your current location or where you’re going to be in the near future. And avoid posts that mention being home alone or in another vulnerable situation. These messages could make you the target of a criminal or predator.
You also need to remember that Facebook posting, like every other action in life, comes with consequences. So, don’t publish anything that could offend or anger others.
And avoid controversies or inappropriate content that could reflect badly on you later. Even if you think better of it and erase it down the road, screenshots could mean your offensive, inappropriate post enjoys immortality.
Facebook remains just about as public as it gets. The content you post can be seen by anybody… including your spouse, boss, teacher, friends, enemies, and more. Get our drift?
Not All Apps Are Created Equal
When it comes to Facebook, not all threats are related to people alone. You’ve also got to watch out for scams and rogue apps. While the latter might sound like a character from The Matrix, it’s not fiction.
Rogue applications disguise themselves as “good” apps. But, in truth, they don’t measure up. These applications can infiltrate your account leading to SPAM and much worse.
Not sure whether an app’s okay to use? Before downloading it, do a little research. Check out how Google search weighs in on the app before making any decisions. Or, contact Facebook help email with your suspicions and questions.
When it comes to Facebook safety, the old cliche holds 100 percent true: better safe than sorry. Don’t rush into downloading anything that could prove questionable. Or, you could be opening yourself up to a world of hurt.
Report Hacking ASAP
What do you do if your account ends up getting hacked? While you might feel a little duped or ashamed by the whole thing, now’s not the time to stay quiet or hesitant. You need to act, and you need to act quickly.
Start by looking up and calling the Facebook help center number to report the incident. They’ll be able to guide you through the next steps to guarantee your safety and the safety of all of your friends and family members.
If your account gets hacked, your Facebook contacts become more vulnerable to hacking efforts, too. After all, your friends and family are far more likely to open and trust a message that appears to be from you than a random individual.
A hacker might even try to scam your contacts. So, time is of the essence when it comes to letting Facebook know what’s going on.
Your Facebook Safety
Taking the steps outlined above will not only safeguard you and your family against criminal activity, but it’ll give you peace of mind.
Of course, because Facebook represents networks of individuals, you should share these safety tips with your friends and family. That way, everyone will be on the same page when it comes to staying safe online.
In today’s world, you can’t risk leaving Facebook safety to chance, no matter what your age. Have more questions about staying safe online? Ask a Facebook expert now.