Facebook Outage: How to keep yourself safe from a public platform that holds private information

According to Facebook’s statistics, 2.76 billion people around the world utilized at least one of their products every single day in June. According to estimates from the data firm Sensor Tower, WhatsApp is used to send over 100 billion messages a day and has been downloaded nearly 6 billion times since Facebook purchased it in 2014.

With Facebook and its apps down for over five hours on Monday due to configuration issues, it’s hard not to notice how much bad luck the company has gone through in as little as over a week.

It didn’t help that the outage occurred just as Antigone Davis, a spokesperson for the company, was on CNBC to defend it against allegations made by whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen testified before a Senate subcommittee that in pursuit of “astronomical revenues” and “breakneck growth,” Facebook harms children, sows divisiveness, and weakens democratic institutions. Rather than implementing safety on its platforms, Facebook, she claims, has repeatedly sought to maximize its growth while concealing internal research that revealed the dangers of Facebook’s products to the public and government officials alike.

It’s a bit ironic that the recent major outage gained so much massive concern from many users not because they depend on the social network for gossip or news, but because Facebook has evolved into a platform that is used to sign in to so many other apps and services, users lose access to shopping websites, smart TVs, thermostats, and other internet-connected devices. Corporations to small online businesses that rely on the platform were left hanging as they waited for it to be restored. 

The aftermath fueled concern on private information that’s linked to online public platforms such as Facebook, which is why we’ve written a few simple tips on how to protect yourself better in the online world regardless of the platform:

  1. Protect your password – Never disclose or use your Facebook password on any other website. Avoid using obviously identifiable information like your name, phone number, birthdate, or mailing address as your invincible password.
  2. Manage your privacy – Privacy Checkup can help you ensure that you are only sharing information and articles with the individuals you intend to share them with.
  3. Keep your profile wholesome – With Facebook’s strict policies or community standards, it is best to keep your profile wholesome to not have it blocked or temporarily suspended. This also helps when your company plans on conducting social media background checks.
  4. Use social media positively – Creating a healthy balance of what you consume and share online is a great way of keeping your physical and digital mindset positively realistic.
  5. Don’t make Facebook a habit – With everything almost done online, it is difficult to not be dependent on social media. However, making Facebook as a distraction part of your routine is both an energy and time consuming habit that is hard to break through.

With today’s rise of technological advancements, people are finding and establishing ways on how to protect themselves from a platform that has in so many ways made a difference in their lives. It is best to remember though that companies are just companies and like any third party provider can make use of the private information that you hand over to them. Ever heard of Social media background checks being conducted to not just verify one’s identity but to look beyond interviews and resumes, and be an established venue of determining if the applicant is suited for the position and the company itself? It’s happening now and the only way to protect yourself is to always be careful of ANY information that you put out there—professionally and personally.