15 years of likes — happy birthday, Facebook!

Jas Dhaliwal 5 Feb 2019

Precocious and confident, Facebook is a lot like other 15-year-olds.

Do you remember where you were when it all began?

We’re talking about your social media account. Launching your own profile into the cybersphere for the first time wass a demarcation point for many of us, creating a “before” and “after.” And while there’s a handful of widely popular social sites, Facebook is the grand poobah of the lodge. The company estimates its total number of monthly users to be about 2.32 billion; and it ended 2018 on a high note, reporting a 4th quarter profit of $6.7 billion.

Which brings us to the 6.7-billion-dollar question: How is Facebook maintaining a still-climbing popularity amidst scandal after controversy after scandal?

A big part of the answer is because those 2.32 billion people opt to focus on the positive aspects of the social site — reconnecting with old friends, keeping up with faraway family, and having an instant soapbox/stump/stage for any message you’d like to transmit to the world (or at least your contacts). These benefits, which can be enjoyed every day, seem to outweigh the more abstract fear of data theft.

In the face of Facebook’s comically long litany of scandals in recent years, not least of which was the notorious Cambridge Analytica controversy where 87 million users had their personal data collected without their permission, Avast suggests that if you enjoy playing on the social site, you take measures to protect your data and your privacy by doing the following:

  1. Take a few minutes to get familiar with the Facebook Basic Privacy Settings & Tools. Adjust your own settings to your comfort level.

  2. View and manage your Facebook Data. It is worth educating yourself on what pictures, chat messages and other data Facebook knows about you. You can then decide to remove any content that you don’t want stored.

  3. Avoid the click bait. By now you know so many of those silly online quizzes that tell you in which Hogwarts house you belong or which Disney princess you most represent are thinly-veiled data miners.

  4. Enable two-factor authentication to prevent hackers from to brute force their way into you account profile

  5. Remove access to gaming or others apps that you may have given access to in the past but no longer use. This will deny access to any further data that you share with the app publisher.  

We are not anti-Facebook — in fact, come like us on the Avast Facebook page! Where you can learn all the latest cybersecurity news and keep yourself connected and protected.  The social giant has helped define a new way to communicate in the 21st century. It’s created and strengthened the bonds of a multitude of communities. It can be and is a helpful tool, a handy resource, and a fun playground. As cybersecurity researchers, we just want to be sure everyone is enjoying the social network  in the safest way possible. As long as you understand the risks, and have taken steps to protect yourself, go like, love, comment, share,  and angry-face to your heart’s content.

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