Picture: REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/Files (CHILE)
Durban - Today I’m continuing my series about Facebook’s security and privacy options. Last week, I covered secure passwords and two-factor authentication - you can download that column from https://tinyurl.com/fbseries2018.

Whether you want to secure your account against hacking attempts or your concerns are more about choosing who can see the content you post and share on Facebook, customising these settings can radically improve the safety of your Facebook profile and data.

Friends: Facebook realises that some of your Facebook Friends will be people you dearly love and trust. This offers Facebook another mechanism to verify your identity and help you regain access to your Facebook profile if ever you are locked out of your account. Simply choose three to five of your friends to be “trusted contacts” and they’ll be notified that you have nominated them. You can follow a Facebook-controlled process to restore access to your account via a web address and recovery code that these trusted contacts can send you.

To choose your trusted contacts, sign into Facebook on a computer, then click the arrow pointing downwards on the top right of your Facebook page. Click on “Security and Login” on the left. Scroll down to “Choose 3-5 friends to contact if you are locked out” and click Edit. Click “Choose friends” and follow the on-screen instructions. Once you have selected your trusted contacts, you can add or remove them at any time. If ever you need help getting back into your account, follow the steps at https://tinyurl.com/FBTCprocess2018.

Secure: When you post something on Facebook, you can restrict who is able to see it. Similar controls are available to control who can see posts you are tagged in. To do this, open Settings, then click “Timeline and tagging”.

Until recently, it was possible to use a useful “View As” feature to see in real time how your Facebook timeline appears to the public or a specified Facebook contact, however this feature has been temporarily withdrawn as it was used to compromise security in a recent breach.

Archive: The above breach exploiting flaws in the “View As” feature is just one example of how Facebook is constantly battling against hacking attempts and scrambling to patch vulnerabilities and bugs in their code before they are exploited. Irrespective of the security controls you put in place on your Facebook profile, there is always the chance that something unexpected could happen that might affect your data or account access. For those of us who have stored priceless memories on Facebook, there’s a lot to lose.

Mitigate this risk by downloading an archive of your profile. You can download everything, or select specific items. To start the process, head to “Your Facebook Information” within Settings. There’s a detailed guide in Facebook’s Help Centre at https://tinyurl.com/FBDDL2018

The Mercury