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Journalist Safety

Policy Date:

Apr 14, 2022

How journalists can stay safe on Facebook
Protect your password. Your Facebook password should be unique, safeguarded and never shared anywhere or with anyone. Key information to avoid when creating passwords includes anything that's personally identifiable, such as your name, phone number, date of birth and postal address. One tip is to use a password manager that will save your passwords securely as well as generate strong passwords for all of your accounts.

Get alerts about unrecognised devices. Use login alerts to receive notifications if someone attempts to access your account from a new or unrecognised device. Turn on alerts about unrecognised logins by visiting the Security and Login section, under Settings. When alerts are turned on, you'll receive an email or notification whenever someone logs in to your account from an unrecognised device or browser.

Turn on two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for your account. This can be found in the Security and Login section under Settings. When you turn on two-factor authentication, you'll be asked to enter a special security code each time you try to access your Facebook account from a new computer, phone or browser that we don't recognise.

Use Security Checkup to increase your account's security. You can: view which browsers and apps you've used to log in to Facebook in the past, but haven't used in over a month. You can quickly remove access from any that you don't need anymore, turn on alerts for when your account is logged in to from an unrecognised device or browser and get tips on how to strengthen your password and how often to change it.

Use Privacy Checkup to make sure that only the people you trust can see your information and posts, because sometimes you want to share publicly and sometimes only with friends. You can review who can see your posts and information from your profile, such as your phone number and email address. It also shows you your settings for apps that you've logged in to using Facebook. You can use Privacy Checkup to review and adjust your privacy settings to help make sure that you are sharing your stories with the people you want to see them.

How journalists can manage their presence on their Facebook profiles
Use the audience selector tool to manage who can see your posts. You can choose to share with everyone, just your friends or even a customised audience. When you create a customised audience, you can selectively share with specific people.

Control how others engage with what you post by updating Settings in the Timeline and Tagging tab. You can approve or dismiss tags that friends add to your posts. When you approve a tag, the person tagged and their friends may see your post. Tag review can be found in Settings under Timeline and Tagging.

Use timeline review to decide whether posts you're tagged in appear on your timeline. When people you're not friends with tag you in a post, it automatically goes to Timeline review. If you'd also like to review tags by friends, you can turn on Timeline review for tags from anyone. Timeline review can be found in Settings under Timeline and Tagging.

Manage how your profile appears to other people by using the View As tool. Go to your profile, click the three dots setting drop-down menu, click View As and see what your profile looks like to the public or to a specific person.

How journalists can manage their presence on their Facebook Pages
Select and assign the right admin roles to help you manage your Page without compromising passwords. Each person will log in to their own personal account and work on the Page from there. It's important to assign Page roles accordingly because not everyone needs to have complete admin control over a Page; some people only need editorial or advertiser responsibilities.

Ensure that Page admins use real accounts and have two-factor authentication turned on so that they don't lose access to their accounts. Facebook removes fake and impersonating accounts when we become aware of them.

Use Page moderation and filter tools, which are found under Page settings, to proactively moderate comments and posts by visitors. These tools will also block words and turn on the profanity filter for your Page. Don't forget to filter different variations of banned words. You can add periods or spaces in between, as well as hashtags. For example, to filter out the word "gun", also include "g.u.n.", "#gun" and "g u n". While you can't disable comments on your Page's posts, you can hide or delete individual comments. When you hide a comment, the person who posted it will not know that it was hidden.

You can choose to ban people who continually publish misinformation on your Page. You can remove the ban at any time. When you ban someone from your Page, they'll still be able to share content from your Page to other places on Facebook, but they'll no longer be able to publish to your Page, like or comment on your Page's posts, message your Page or like your Page.

If you want someone in a different location to broadcast live from your Facebook Page, consider giving them the "live contributor" role. This will give them the ability to go live, but will limit access to other features on your Page.

Delete any comments you want. We allow you to delete any comments you wish to remove from your profile or Page, whether or not they're against our community standards.

Control your location
Facebook gives you the option to include a location in your posts. Facebook does not share location by default but it's always a good idea to update or turn off your phone's location services before posting from sensitive areas. You can update your location settings on your Android or iOS device.

Protect your communication with sources
Use messaging services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for private communications with sources. WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption by default for every message you send and call you make. When end-to-end encrypted, your messages and calls are secured so that only you and the person you're communicating with can access them. Nobody in between, even WhatsApp can access them. For added protection, every message that you send has its own unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically. There's no need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages. You can also show security notifications to receive notifications when a contact's security code has changed. You can send messages with end-to-end encryption within Messenger using your iOS or Android device. These secret conversations are intended just for you and the other person. In Messenger, start a new conversation and tap either the switch with the padlock on Android or the word "Secret" on iPhone to start a secret conversation with someone. Remember, you will need to follow these steps for each conversation partner.

Use Facebook with the Tor browser to help conceal your IP address so Facebook, advertisers, local phone networks and ISPs won't see where you're logging in from. This further protects the security of your location and connection to Facebook. Access Facebook using the Tor browser at https://facebookcorewwwi.onion/. Facebook also provides support for Tor on Android through the Orbot proxy app, which you can download from Google Play.

Block harassment. When you block someone, they will no longer be able to do things such as tag you, see things you post on your Timeline or search for you on Facebook. If you are friends, blocking will also unfriend them. People will not be notified when you block them.

Report abusive content and impersonation. The best way to report abusive content, misinformation or impersonation on Facebook is by using the Report link that appears near the content itself. We will review the report and take appropriate action. Contact law enforcement if you feel threatened. To report harassment to law enforcement, take screenshots and copy URL links of any unwanted attention before blocking the harasser. After blocking someone, their prior engagement with you will no longer be visible.

Know what to do if you're hacked. If you think your account has been hacked or taken over, you'll want to secure it as soon as possible. Having two-factor authentication enabled will help to prevent this. If you can log in to your account, we recommend changing your password. Check the contact information stored on your account to make sure that it is correct and has not been altered. If you can't get in to your account, we can help you secure your account by asking you to change your password and review recent login activity or you can visit

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