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Tips and Trick

A guide to every privacy setting you should change now


We know it’s important to protect our privacy online to prevent everything from our birth date to our search history from being used by companies, strangers and even governments.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know where to start.

It seems easier to throw up our hands, conclude that nothing is private, and let the targeted-advertising gods collect details on our relationship status, political leanings and how many pairs of wide-leg pants we own.

But if we give up, we lose control and companies win. Our personal information helps feed an ecosystem that taps into our likes and unconscious habits to sell us things, shape our relationships and even manipulate our politics.

The Washington Post’s Help Desk is here to make it as easy as possible to take control of your own data and privacy. We’re starting with settings you can change on the biggest sites and services. Since not everyone has the same worries or amount of free time, we’ve broken our advice into three sections so you can decide how strict you want to be with your settings.

We have gone through the options for the most popular (and problematic) services to give you recommendations on what exactly you should do. When possible, we focus on changing settings through websites — but unless noted, the same instructions should work on individual iOS and Android apps.

Bookmark this page and clean up your settings when you have time. Take back power over your information. We will regularly add more companies, tools and tips.

Think we missed a setting? Has a company moved things around? Have another tool you’re worried about? Let us know by emailing


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