Facebook has shared users’ private messages, contact information and other personal data with companies such as Microsoft and Spotify, according to a New York Times report that was alarming even in light of previous disclosures about the social network’s practices.

Is there anything users can do to protect their data without walking away from Facebook altogether?

Experts say there is not much you can do about information that is already in Facebook’s hands. But you can at least find out what the company has on you, and you can take steps to limit how much more it can gather from here on in.

REVIEW PRIVACY SETTINGS

Facebook claims it had permission to give companies the data outlined in the Times story, though the company tends to define “permission” loosely .

Users can at least employ their privacy settings to try to limit access as much as possible. Facebook offers a series of shortcuts.

On desktops and laptops, look for the triangle on the upper right corner of the browser. On Apple and Android devices, you can access shortcuts through the menu, denoted by three horizontal bars. Select “settings” and “privacy” to review who has access.

You can limit who sees your posts and other activity, turn off your location history, and disable third-party apps from having access to your data, although again, some of the information that Facebook shared was supposedly private.

You can also change other privacy settings by checking “Timeline and Tagging” in your account settings.

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