Lock down your Facebook profile security with the social network’s new privacy tool

facebook privacy basics
Worried about your Facebook privacy? Then you need to check out Facebook’s new profile security guide. The interactive tool, dubbed Privacy Basics, is helpful for both newcomers and ardent users interested in maintaining their online safety.

Instead of simply rehashing information already available on its help center, Privacy Basics is an interactive tool that offers both a quick profile clean-up (just three easy steps) and a breakdown of the elements of Facebook you can control.

Now, you may be one of those people who are constantly keeping on top of their security (in which case, carry on sharing to you heart’s content), but if you have any doubts about your Facebook privacy, this is the place to start.

Available in 44 languages, Facebook claims its tool was built using feedback from its global community. Privacy Basics not only makes its support information easier to digest — through bold, step-by-step visuals on topics including posts, photo tagging, and likes and comments, among others — but also provides useful links to Facebook’s data policy and additional privacy controls.

“People share their most valued moments on Facebook, and we want to make tips and tools clear and accessible whenever you need them,” writes Facebook in its blog post. “This is part of Facebook’s overall effort to make sure you have all the information you need to share what you want with only the people you want to see it.”

The past year saw an increased effort by consumer protection and digital security advocates to provide more info on app guidelines. In May, Norway’s Consumer Council held a live-stream that ran for close to 32 hours in which members of the public read aloud the user agreements of 33 popular mobile apps. Earlier this month, a report by the U.K. Children’s Commissioner included a section that rewrote Instagram’s terms of service in child-friendly language, with the aim of helping parents educate their kids on the use of their personal data.

Both initiatives drew attention to the need for more communication on the part of the service owners to better convey their privacy policies to the general public. And across the same period, Facebook was the target of two lawsuits concerning user privacy in regard to personal images posted on its site.

With the launch of Privacy Basics, it seems Facebook has taken the advice (and criticism) onboard. The interactive tool sees the company join the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Center for Democracy and Technology to raise awareness as part of Data Privacy Day, held each year on January 28. It’s a positive step on behalf of the social network that other platforms would also do well to embrace.

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