Some pointers to keep facebook... slightly private

Some connections have asked: how can we have a facebook account while keeping some privacy.

I hesitated, because there could be a lot to cover. So please, don't take all points for granted, not all is objective and this is not exhaustive.

It is frankly impossible, and while the few points below might give a sense of reassurance, it'll be difficult to keep things private.


The first thing to understand is that Facebook and Privacy are not words that are best of friends.

Facebook makes its billions of $ in profit using your personal data (and tax optimisation, but that's another story).

Even with no Facebook account, Facebook is gathering data about you (Max Schrems (a good guy) and his are working on it). 

Some pointers

Do not use Facebook apps as you have no way of controlling anything, and it's a way for Facebook to "inspect" your phone/tablet for "interesting" things to enrich their database of your profile.

On desktop, it's relatively easy, on mobile, it's more complicated as you will be regularly prompted to download the app.

At a minimum, use a browser in private mode instead.

What is private mode?

Modern browsers have the ability to browse the web in private mode (or incognito mode). Although it isolates your browsing while in private mode, your IP address is still used. Companies like Facebook or Google will use the IP address to "identify" you. They probably won't tell you, but I don't believe they will be able to prove otherwise.

What browser?

On desktop, Vivaldi, Opera and Tor are those that would come to my mind.

It is subjective. I haven't mentioned Chrome, because it belongs to google, and given how much google is doing to capture personal data in your back (fonts, analytics, captchas etc), I am not comfortable with Chrome.

I used to be a fan of Opera, as they used to bring innovation and speed in browsing. But Opera was sold, and the initial makers of Opera have started a new project "Vivaldi" and I like it. One reason is their legacy, and also the fact they put privacy at the fore-front. Vivaldi won't hide your IP address.

Opera have a built-in VPN, but it's not very clear where the data transits (I let you do your own research), but a VPN could hide your IP address.

The Tor browser uses the Tor network, and unless of a bug on the Tor network, your true IP address is not revealed. It uses Firefox as its engine. I am not a big fan of Firefox (it's probably from past experience rather than objectiveness).

So you need to decide for yourself how far you are willing to go.

What identity in FB?

Obviously, if you use true identity, you give Facebook and all the companies they will share your data with. So maybe use a different name and a different date of birth. If you give your mobile phone for security, be aware that Facebook seems to be using it not just for security purposes, so forget about privacy if you give it to them. 


I didn't mention cookie blockers, 


I hope this is useful. Feel free to send comments to improve the article.