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Women’s Day 2021: Safety tips for your Facebook and Instagram accounts

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Women’s Day 2021: How to stay safe on Facebook and Instagram. In this photos a 3D printed Facebook logo is placed on a computer motherboard. (Image: Reuters)

While the internet has given women many opportunities, it can also be a space where many feel unsafe given the harassment that it is all too common. On social media platforms, harassment and safety is a major concern for women. From strangers messaging on Facebook to unwanted comments on Instagram photos, there are several problems that women face when navigating social media. Ahead of women’s day 2021, here are safety tips from Facebook and Instagram to stay safe on both platforms.

Tips for keeping your account safe on Facebook

2-Factor authentication and omitting unrecognised logins

This is important to ensure that your account is not compromised or accessed by anyone else. Facebook recommends that you should not share your profile password with anyone, and ‘Two-factor Authentication’ is an extra layer of security. Women can also enable ‘Unrecognised Login Alerts’ to keep a track of any unauthorised logins.

To enable two-factor authentication, go to Settings > Security and Login > Use two-factor authentication > Edit > Enable > Close.

To set up the login alerts, go to Settings > Security and Login > Get alerts about unrecognised logins > Edit > Choose the types of alerts (example email alerts) > Save Changes. You can also set up two-factor authentication on Instagram to keep that account secure.

Locking your Facebook profile is a good option for most women. (Image source: Facebook)

Lock your profile to any outsiders

If you are worried about strangers, accessing your profile and stealing photos which are publicly visible, then locking your profile is important from a safety perspective. When you lock your profile, anyone who is not your Facebook friend will no longer be able to access any photos or posts on your timeline. This also means they will not be able to download these either.

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Open Facebook Mobile App, tap on your profile and tap the three dot menu icon next to ‘Add to Story’.

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Tap on Lock Profile option and tap on OK.

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Choose who sees what on your Facebook timeline

When you update your status or post photos on Facebook, you can restrict the audience by relying on the “Audience Selector” tool. Facebook lets you choose from sharing with everyone, which means it is available publicly, or you can share with just your friends or even a select group of friends.

While posting, below your name, you will see the ‘Audience Selector’ option.

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Click on it and choose which audience would you like your post to be visible to.

You can also change the setting after posting. Tap at the top right of the post, edit the post’s privacy settings and selecting a new audience.

Tips to stay safe on Instagram

Women's Day 2021, Women's Internet safety, Facebook safety, How to lock Facebook Profile, how to delete Instagram comments, How to keep Instagram private, How to check Instagram DMs Women’s Day 2021: Keeping your Instagram private is one good way of ensuring safety. (Image credit : Pixabay)

Keep your Insta account private

If privacy and safety are a concern on Instagram, then switching to a private account is better. Only those who are approved can follow your account and they have to request to see your account. Your content is visible to approved followers only. Private accounts also let users decide who can comment on their post. Further, the user can turn off the “Show Activity Status” so that your friends can’t see when you are online.

Follow these steps to make account private:

#Go to your profile page on Instagram.

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#Tap in the top right, then tap the Settings, which has four lines.

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#Tap Privacy, then tap Account Privacy.

#Tap next to Private Account to make your account private.

Share Insta-Stories with close friends

Women can create a ‘Close Friends’ list and share their ‘Story’ with only people in this list. You can add and remove people from this list at any time. Instagram does not notify people when they are added or removed from this list.

Filter out Comments

This is an important tool to ensure that comments, which are offensive or intended to bully or harass are filtered out. The app has built filters that automatically remove offensive words and phrases and bullying comments. However, you can also create your own list of words or emojis, which you don’t want appearing.

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Just go to the “Filters” in the Comment Controls section.  Go to Settings> Privacy.

Then tap on Comments and you will see the Filters option. Turn on manual filters. Now you can add words, phrases which will be filtered out from comments. Further, you can also filter out the most reported words.

Block anyone you don’t want to see your posts

Even if you don’t have a private account, you can still block those who are abusive on the platform. To block an account, navigate to that account’s profile, open the “…” menu in the upper right corner and tap “Block User.”

Restrict user 

You can restrict someone from posting on your profile. You can either swiping left on a comment and will see options to either Report a Comment, Restrict or Block. When you Restrict someone, comments on your posts from a person you have restricted will only be visible to that person. You won’t receive any notifications for comments from a restricted account.

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Controls in Direct Messages

Sexual harassment in Direct Messages or DMs is a common problem. But you can always restrict who can message you via Direct Messages or DMs. If you have a private account, only those who follow you can send messages. Anyone else will have to send a request. You can choose to not accept or block any unwanted requests in your DMs.

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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