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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to make an anonymous Facebook profile to keep your personal information private «Smartphones :: Gadget Hacks

How to make an anonymous Facebook profile to keep your personal information private «Smartphones :: Gadget Hacks



Between the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the revelation that Facebook logs into your calls and text history on Android, many are considering joining the # DeleteFacebook movement. But it can be difficult to leave the site, because so much content is only available to active users. If you want to keep the loop without sacrificing your privacy, you will follow the steps below.

Let's first get this: Nothing on the internet is really private. All of us who sign up for Facebook should know that every friend we do, event we accept, and the image we see is logged and tracked by the company. However, there are steps we can take when we create a new profile that can seriously limit the information that Facebook has access to. In fact, besides your business on the site, Facebook will not see any of your personal information.

Step 1
: Creating a Burner Email or Phone Number

Only if you really want to use Facebook from the web, you must sign up with an email account or phone number that is only used for your new profile . If you use a pre-existing email account or phone number, your messages, search history, connected apps, and more can be fair games for Facebook and its advertisers. The best practice here? Start from the beggining.

For a "burner" message, you can go through it in some ways. First, you can sign up for a new email account and just use it to create your anonymous Facebook profile. You can choose which e-mail service suits you best – it is important that you only use it for your new Facebook account.

However, the safer method is to utilize the Temp Email app. This app creates a temporary email address that is not linked to you or your personal information. With this app, you will receive some emails sent to this email address, such as any account verification or verification codes. And when you don't need it, you can "change", essentially get rid of email forever.

Because Facebook lets you register in a phone number, if you decide on an email address for the burner is too much trouble, you can always create a burn number. Like the email, this is a false temporary number that allows you to register and use Facebook while protecting your data.

There are several excellent choices on both the Play Store and the App Store that we have already reviewed. In our testing we found Hushed ( Android | iOS) offering the best features for a burner number, but in the event of remaining anonymous, some of the programs on our list will do.

Step 2: Use Iceland to isolate Facebook (Android Only)

When you create a Facebook account on your Android device, Facebook will capture as much information as it can access. We already learned that Facebook found a way to still gain access to call history without warning the user and without requiring an authorization dialog . That's why you protect yourself, you should completely isolate the Facebook app from your data. You can do this using an app that utilizes Android's managed profile feature.

Iceland is an early access app that creates a sandbox environment where you can clone apps and isolate them from your data. While it cannot eliminate all data leakage (specifically, unified data such as SMS and IMEI), it does not prohibit apps from accessing information such as your call logs, contacts, and photos.

So first download Iceland from the Play Store. Open the app and select "Accept" and "Accept & Continue" on the next page. A new page will appear showing that Iceland creates a work profile. This is the sandbox environment.

When finished, the main page will appear, which will contain some apps that are already installed in the sandbox environment. To move Facebook to this environment, first make sure it is installed on your phone as a regular app, then select the Mainland tab at the bottom of the island's main menu.

Now choose the Facebook app and right over the navigation buttons, select the crossed box. This prompts you to let Iceland install the app. Select "Settings" and enable the switch to enable the installation of the cloned app in the sandbox environment. When you're done, return to the tab Iceland to see the Facebook app. You will also have two versions of the app in your appbox, the regular app and one with a suitcase icon on top of it (the cloned app).

Step 3: Remove yourself from the official Facebook app

This step is something optional but after seeing how much personal information Facebook app can harvest from some devices, you will probably want to dig the official Facebook app completely, the best way to go r this is to use either the Facebook phone or a Facebook wrapper app.

If you run Android we recommend an app called Metal. It's a Facebook feature designed to replace the official Facebook app, including blocking ads and using less power than the official app. While it cannot provide silly security, Metal will not request or use sensitive device permissions as its official counterpart. If you skip to Settings> Permission after installation, you see Metal has no permissions enabled. As the official app, we recommend that you install Metal within Iceland.

If you are on IOS and lack the Metal experience, consider using Facebook's mobile site instead. While you will not get built-in security features, Safari will be packed with some privacy settings installed. Plus, Facebook's app will empty your battery – if nothing else, using the mobile site, extend your iPhone's lifetime.

Do not download the Facebook app – go to Facebook.com instead.

Step 4: Installing a VPN

Even with completely fake references, Facebook can still track your location when using the service. While there are site settings to disable, if you want to check that Facebook can't track your new account, it's best to do with installing a VPN.

A VPN or Virtual Private Network hides the ability of programs to determine your location based on your IP address. When you use a VPN you get a new IP address, and you can also choose the location. In addition, you encrypt your data, which prevents Facebook from accessing other apps data running in the background or currently being used.

For Android users, you can take advantage of VyprVPN's "App Connection" feature. With this feature you can control which app to use VPN and which app should not. You can configure it to always maintain VPN when using Facebook, but disable it for other apps to speed up the connection.

Step 5: Delete and Disable Site History Data

Facebook has a feature called "Site History", which is a set of site logs that you do when traveling with the app. But since your site can be used to identify who you are, for anonymity, you should turn it off. Check out our guide on how to achieve this:

Step 6: Create a new Facebook account

Once you have taken the above steps into account, whether you are iOS or Android, it's time to create the new Facebook profile. Go to Facebook.com, or open Metal at your user space to get started.

Touch "Create New Account" and then enter a name, preferably something false. Then enter your burner number, or enter the burner email by pressing "Sign up with email" under Next. When finished, press "Next".

Then enter a password and then press "Register". If asked, you can choose to log in to Facebook using a button, versus login with your name and password. Once you decide, Facebook will either send you a text message if you entered a phone number or a verification message if you entered an email. Enter the code here and then press "Confirm" or verify your account via Facebook's email.

Welcome to your new, anonymous anonymity centered Facebook account. Now you can view groups, events and more without having to use your personal information. After configuring these settings …

Step 7: Change your Facebook privacy settings

Just because you took the precautions in the steps above, you do not protect yourself against any personal violations on Facebook. Your account's privacy settings are by default not perfect and will only harm your standing the longer you use your account.

To pinch these problems in the budget, before doing anything with your profile, configures these settings. While Facebook still has plenty of ways to abuse your privacy after that fact, these settings change you some armor against them. In today's world, you just have to take what you can get.

Step 8: Block hidden rights (Android – root required)

While Android allows users to manage permissions available for apps, there is much more that apps that Facebook can access to learn more about, and you can't do anything about this by default. For example, even if location permissions are turned off, Facebook can still determine your approximate location via your network, any local state does not include. This is why you need App Ops.

Originally a hidden feature of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, App Ops allows you to adjust a large amount of permissions for individual apps, including those that Android does not have controls by default. This app will also inform you when a permit will be granted at the latest. For most permissions, you either allow the app's access, deny it or just allow during use, save the battery, and protect your identity. For Facebook, we want to deny everything.

The easiest way to use the App Ops is to have a rooted device. However, it is possible to use without root but requires ADB commands. After installing, open the App Ops and select "Facebook". Then go for a row, select each entry and deny access, which prevents the app's ability to learn who you are.

This article has been produced under the Gadget Hack's special coverage for smartphone privacy and security.

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Cover image of Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks, screenshots of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks


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