Facebook has been under steady fire after a scandal that was recently reported by the New York Times and UK media. It was discovered that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, accessed, stored and shared 50 million Facebook users’ personal information in 2014, overwhelmingly without consent.
There are several investigations into Facebook’s privacy practices, and a host of lawsuits against the social media company, by users and shareholders alike. Many sources are calling for users to delete their Facebook accounts as a security measure to safeguard privacy, as well as to protest against the machinations of Facebook’s privacy infrastructure.
If you do decide to delete your Facebook account, here are the steps you should take to archive your photos, messages, and profile info:
- Under the drop down menu all the way to the right, click settings
- Click ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’ on the bottom of the page
- Click ‘Start My Archive’ and type in your password
- Choose a location for your archive and back up your data
- Check that your archive collected all the data and proceed to delete your Facebook account
If leaving Facebook is not a a viable solution for you, there are still steps you can take to increase your privacy. For example, you can set your privacy settings to prevent your data from going through Facebook’s application programming interface. Keep in mind that this would disable all platform apps, including Twitter, Instagram, and video game applications. To prevent your data from going through Facebook’s API, take the following steps:
- Under your settings page, click ‘apps’ on the left hand menu
- Click ‘edit’ under Apps, Websites, and Plugins
- Click Disable Platform
- From the ‘Apps Others Use’ page, un-click the information you don’t want apps to access
If disabling Facebook’s API is too steep a step for you, there are other more limited actions you can take. For example, you are able to limit only the personal information accessible by apps that others use. There’s a plethora of information online to help you navigate your options, we hope this helps get you started.