Just as Facebook gives you the opportunity to stay connected with your friends and loved ones, it also gives users with malicious intents — and, in some cases, software they create — the ability to harm your computer or even to harass you. Take steps to protect yourself on Facebook to avoid having negative experiences on the site, no matter what kinds of threats and annoyances come your way.

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  • Edit your privacy settings to control what information is seen by Facebook users you haven’t designated as friends when they visit your profile. Log in to your account and click “Privacy Settings” from the site’s “Account” menu in the upper-right corner of your profile page, then click “Customize settings” and browse through the options listed. For example, click the drop-down menu next to your email address and click “Friends Only” to make sure non-friends can’t contact you directly.
  • Carefully inspect Facebook profiles of users who randomly add you to see if you know them from somewhere. If you don’t — or, at the very least, if you don’t have mutual friends — deny the request.
  • Avoid clicking suspicious links others send to you in Facebook messages, even if they appear to be sent from a friend’s Facebook account. Your friend’s account may have been hacked — and if you click the malicious links sent from his account, yours will be too.
  • Change your Facebook password periodically and make sure to choose a password that is easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. Changing your password often lessens that chance that someone else will guess it and access your personal information.
  • Log out of Facebook when you aren’t using the site. This is particularly important if you regularly access Facebook from an Internet cafe computer or other public computers. If you don’t log out, the next person who uses the computer has access to your account.
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