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Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms, boasting 1.7 billion monthly active users. Launched in 2004 as an online social network for college students, Facebook is currently available to anyone over the age of 13. You can post status updates that include links, check-ins, emoticons, photos, and videos; explore trending news; message friends; join groups based on common interests; and play games. But be careful about how much you share and with whom -- exposing personal info can pose security and privacy risks.
Facebook would have you believe that you're sharing your data in a safe space, among your tight-knit circle. But actually, outsiders can swipe your personal info to gain access to your email, bank, and credit card accounts; to steal your identity; or even to take advantage of your friends. Follow these five steps to safeguard your Facebook account.
Create a strong password
Create a password that's difficult to guess, that you only use on Facebook, and don't share it with anyone. On your desktop, head to Settings from the main menu, and under General Account Settings, click Password and Edit, then follow the prompts. On your phone, tap More (bottom right on iOS and upper right on Android), then Account Settings, General, and Password.
If you're logged in to Facebook from multiple devices and haven't logged off, then anyone who happens upon these active sessions has access to your page and your data. On your desktop, go to Settings, Security, and Where You're Logged In to make changes. On your mobile device, go to More, then Account Settings, Security Settings, and Active Sessions, and tap the X next to any session you want to end. It is preferable to always log out, especially if you're on a shared device. Logout is in the main menu on your desktop or under More on your mobile device.
Report spammers and avoid phishing
If a post, message, game, or friend request looks odd or like a scam, don't open it. For example, if the post allegedly comes from a friend but asks for assistance or money, don't click, except to report it by tapping the arrow in the top right corner of the post. Tap Report This Post, and then It's Spam. If you get an email asking for your Facebook info, just delete it.