Facebook is asking people to review their privacy settings — here’s how to navigate the notifications

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook has started asking users to go through their settings and make sure they’re happy with the amount of data they are handing over.

That’s thanks to a new European law called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which comes into effect on May 25.

That law makes it much harder for companies like Facebook and Google to collect and make money from your data – especially without your explicit consent.

It also means Facebook can’t access sensitive information like your sexual preferences, religious beliefs, and political beliefs without your proactive consent.

Now Facebook has to make sure you look at your settings before May 25 – or risk being fined 4% of its annual turnover, which represents billions of dollars.

Here’s how to navigate those new settings and keep your data private.


1. If you use Facebook in Europe, you will probably see this notification pop up. It’s hard to miss.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

2. The notification looks dry as dust — but there’s one big update Facebook is trying to push on European users: Facial recognition.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

Facebook’s ability to recognise people’s faces in photos to make tagging easier hasn’t been available in Europe since 2012. Now it’s introducing facial recognition by stealth, according to critics.

But more on that later.


3. First, Facebook will ask you about ‘specially protected data.’ This refers to your political views, your sexual orientation, and your religion — which you might have shared with Facebook when you first created your profile.

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4. Facebook doesn’t tell you this explicitly, but it can target ads at you based on your religion.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

5. Hit ‘Manage Data Settings’ if you aren’t happy with Facebook knowing your religion, political views, or sexual preferences.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

6. Facebook will try REALLY hard to stop you deleting that information.

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7. But if you hit ‘Continue,’ you will eventually be able to delete this information from your profile.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

8. Now you’ve deleted all that sensitive information from your profile, you should stop seeing ads relating to your religion or views, right? Nope. Facebook can infer a lot about you just from the posts and pages you like.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

You can’t really stop Facebook guessing a bunch of stuff about you based on the groups, pages, and posts that you hit ‘Like’ on. But you can stop advertisers from targeting you based on that data – read my colleague Julie Bort’s full guide here.


9. Once you’ve decided what to do with your sensitive information, Facebook will ask you to switch on facial recognition. This means Facebook can recognise you in a photo even when no one has tagged you.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

10. Facebook will try and encourage you to passively click ‘Accept and Continue’ to switch on facial recognition. If you don’t want that on by default, hit ‘Manage Data Settings.’

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

11. Facebook will keep trying to convince you that facial recognition is really useful. Hit ‘Continue’ if you’re determined to switch it off.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

12. Now Facebook will finally let you switch off facial recognition in photos and videos. You can switch it back on if you change your mind.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

13. Finally, Facebook will ask you to accept its updated terms of service. You don’t have a lot of choice here — you can either accept or delete your profile.

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Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

14. And that’s it! Even with these new privacy changes, Facebook still knows a lot about you.

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and founder laughs outside the Sun Valley Inn in Sun Valley, Idaho July 9, 2009.
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Reuters / Rick Wilking

Here are some more guides to help you lock down your profile even more:

Read my colleague Jim Edwards’ guide to see which apps might still be tracking you, and how to block them.

Read Julie Bort’s guide on seeing what Facebook knows about you.

And read Ben Gilbert’s guide on how to delete Facebook.