Facebook safety tips for beginners

Using Facebook, you can instantly connect and share details of your life with millions of others worldwide. It’s a great tool to help you stay connected with friends and family while travel is off the cards. But how can you use this social media platform safely? See our tips below to ensure you’re keeping your identity and personal info safe.

1. Familiarise yourself with Facebook privacy settings

Facebook is constantly updating its features and settings, so make sure you check back every now and then on your basic privacy settings. It should only take a few minutes and will let you decide who can find you, contact you and see your posts. You can narrow this down by specifying who can see your content, but the basic options are below: 
- The public – anyone with or without Facebook can see you 
- Friends – only friends you accept can see you 
- Only me – only you can see your Facebook profile 

2. Only accept friends you know

It feels good to have a lot of friends online, but you should only connect and accept those who you know. It’s much harder to judge someone and their intentions online rather than face to face. Best practice is to ignore and delete unknown users as they could be attempting to scam you for your information. If you want to restrict your friend request options further, look here for a guide on how to only allow friends of your friends to connect with you. It is a good idea to scan through your Facebook friends once a year to ensure no unknown users have slipped through. 

3. Choose a strong password

This may seem basic, but over 50% of people still use the same password everywhere. A rule of thumb is that it should be at least eight characters with a combination of letters and numbers. A simple password may be easier to remember, but this can actually be riskier than creating a stronger password and simply writing it down. 

4. Click carefully

Facebook is constantly on the lookout for scams and fake posts, but it cannot capture everything. If something looks too good to be true – it probably is! As with anything online, be wary and use your judgement. Don’t click on anything that looks suspicious as it may contain a computer virus. If you see your friends post something they normally wouldn’t, for example, a product they don’t use, an app, or a link for special offers – their account may have been hacked. Learn more about some basic scams to and what to look out for here. 

5. Beware the overshare

Now that you’ve updated your privacy settings, only those you choose will see any posts or comments you make. But remember not to share personal details such as finances or important documents via Facebook. 
You may notice your friends checking in at local restaurants, sharing their locations and updates that they are at local events. But think twice before you post - do you want all your contacts to know when you aren’t home? It is best to save these photos and post when you get home. 

Facebook is a great tool to search for and connect with old friends, but there are so many features it can often feel overwhelming when you look at your settings. By practicing these few tips we hope you can start to take control of your security and feel safe using Facebook – and any new social media technology.