With billions monthly users, Facebook is by far the world’s largest social media and publishing platform. Unfortunately, access to Facebook is restricted in many locations, which means tourists and residents in certain countries are missing out on the magical world of Facebook. However, there’s no need to worry as you can bypass these restrictions and unblock Facebook using a Facebook VPN. We recommend ExpressVPN for its ease of use, total security, and fast speeds.
Facebook started out in 2004 as an exclusive social media forum for Harvard students before expanding and allowing for open access for anyone over 13. Since then, it has grown rapidly and now close to two billion people each day use Facebook. It’s estimated that 90% of adults in the US have a Facebook account and virtually every business has a Facebook page to promote its services. Its owner, Mark Zuckerberg, has been named as one of the top 10 most powerful people in the world due to Facebook’s universal appeal and popularity.
However, Facebook’s meteoric rise has not been without controversy. Facebook has been accused of infringing on its users’ privacy by keeping indefinite data records and allowing third-party websites to use plug-ins to identify each visitor and enable targeted ads. In 2010, several US-based organizations, including the ACLU, Consumer Watchdog, and the Center for Digital Democracy, sent a letter to Facebook’s Directors, demanding that they fix their privacy policies. Facebook was also involved in the NSA’s infamous PRISM program which used social media accounts to collate information about US civilians.
In addition, many of Facebook’s user settings are set to public by default, meaning much of what you post is automatically visible to strangers and people whom you’d rather not be sharing information with. Furthermore, Facebook has been accused of hosting hate speech, incitement to violence, and providing a platform for terrorists to collude and conspire. In 2016, relatives of four US nationals who were murdered by Hamas terrorists filed a $1B lawsuit against Facebook, accusing the social media juggernaut of facilitating the attack by refusing to cooperate with counter-terrorist agencies, therefore allowing the terrorists to use Facebook to incite violence and plan their attacks.
Why Can’t I Access Facebook?
As a result of all this, several countries banned Facebook outright, including:
- North Korea
- Sri Lanka
Other countries, such as Syria, India, Malaysia, and Vietnam have sporadically blocked and then unblocked Facebook, in an attempt to stop dissidents and revolutionaries from spreading their ideas.
Admittedly, some of the above-mentioned countries have blocked Facebook for totalitarian reasons, however, many of them have cited legitimate reasons why Facebook posed a threat to national security.
Recently, the UK urged Facebook to curb online hate speech and extremist incitement on its networks and many world governments routinely monitor Facebook for these reasons. So if you were wondering, “can I access Facebook from anywhere,” then the answer is a resounding no. Not only is Facebook heavily monitored by the company itself, government agencies are always watching, and many countries restrict access, either entirely or periodically. For better or worse, Facebook today is far from the haven of free speech and freedom of expression it originally set out to be.
Why Use a VPN for Facebook?
A VPN, also known as a virtual private network, will allow users to access the internet anonymously, but how is this related to Facebook and why exactly would you need one?
Gain Access Worldwide
Simply put, if you’re used to accessing Facebook in your home country, but decided to travel abroad, take note that there are countries around the world including the likes of China and Iran, where Facebook is totally banned. If you were to snap a picture of the Great Wall of China on your travels and then wished to upload it to your Facebook to show-off your whereabouts (what else is Facebook for really), you’ll need a VPN to do so. A Facebook VPN will allow you to connect to a server elsewhere, say in the USA, where you can immediately gain access to Facebook by ‘geo-spoofing’ your location, that is, fooling internet providers into thinking you’re in a different country. There are also some countries where Facebook isn’t necessarily banned, but extremely difficult to access due to political reasons; such as Cuba and Bangladesh where you’ll certainly be needing a VPN.
Gain Access to All Institutions
If you attend school, college, or perhaps even have a control freak for a boss, you’ll know that these sorts of institutions tend to monitor your internet access or even go as far as blocking certain sites including the likes of Facebook. Using a VPN would allow you to hide your IP address and switch servers, thus allowing you to sneakily gain access to not only Facebook but any blocked websites without anyone even batting an eye.
Add a Security Layer
Then there’s the matter of security. If you’ve ever logged onto a public Wi-Fi network be it in a restaurant, hotel, or even while you’re traveling, you’d be far safer accessing not only Facebook, but the entirety of the internet, via a VPN. Due to the anonymous nature and high security of a VPN, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your online activity is totally private, keeping you safe from the prying eyes of potential fraudsters and cybercriminals.
Best VPN for Facebook for 2018
To determine which is the best VPN for Facebook, we scrutinized all the top VPN providers and tested their features. The best VPNs for Facebook were the ones that met the following criteria:
- Unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds. Using Facebook can take up a lot of bandwidth as much of the content is audio/video. These can also take some time to download so a good Facebook VPN must provide unlimited bandwidth and fast internet speeds.
- Ultra-secure encryption. If you’d rather not have your web history and private information shared with e-commerce companies, or you don’t want the government to know you’re bypassing their Facebook censorship, you must use a secure network. A good VPN will use a strong encryption algorithm, i.e. AES 256-bit, SSL, or Triple DES, and more importantly, will allow you to communicate with Facebook friends privately and securely.
- Multiple server locations. To access Facebook from restricted locations you need to use a foreign-based server. A reliable VPN service will host hundreds of servers in dozens of different locations.
- Kill switch. If your VPN connection unexpectedly drops for whatever reason, a solid VPN will have a kill switch so that all internet traffic will be halted until a secure connection is re-established.
- Zero-log policy. A good VPN provider will have a zero-log policy – meaning that it will not keep track or save any of your internet activities or ‘logs’ in order to provide subscribers with true online anonymity.
- DNS leak protection. DNS leaks can destroy VPN anonymity by ‘leaking’ your online activity to your ISP. It’s quite common in Windows where default settings may send DNS requests to your ISP DNS server rather than via the encrypted VPN tunnel (also known as a DNS leak). For this reason, a good VPN provider should safely plug potential DNS leaks at all times.
ExpressVPN provides fast network speeds as well as unlimited bandwidth. The VPN software is compatible with all devices and it even uses a special obfuscation method which hides the fact that you’re using a VPN altogether. All pricing plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
12 Months + 3 Months FREE
NordVPN is an extremely reliable and secure VPN network with fast speeds and a double VPN encryption. NordVPN offers over 1300 servers in over 60 locations and you can be sure your true location is untraceable. NordVPN can be used to safely access Facebook from anywhere in the world. All pricing plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
PrivateVPN has a strong focus on customer privacy, as such, it records no data logs or user data. It also offers 80+ servers in close to 60 different countries, and it provides a fast and reliable connection. All pricing plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
12 Months + 5 Months FREE
How Much Information Does Facebook Keep on Me?
Facebook may well give you all these tips and tricks on how to remain more “secure” when using the network, but the truth is, the second you downloaded Facebook, you gave up on your privacy. It’s no secret that Facebook collects and archives all of your information down to the specific millisecond that you clicked ‘like’ on your friends status. Facebook never deletes anything and has information on your profile, messages, friends, likes, photos, even former employers – you name it.
Facebook stores logs on all of your login times, your IP address, the device you’re using and after such extensive data collection Facebook can even figure out your day-to-day life pattern including when you hit the sack!
Facebook is a multi-billion dollar corporation with its major revenue coming from advertisement. It’s no secret that Facebook passes on much of your information to third party companies (it’s all in the small writing) so that these companies can gear their ads towards you. They can gain information on anything from your email and phone number, to your city, age and more.
If this has creeped you out even just a little bit and you want to dig a little deeper to see what Facebook has on you. You can actually very easily find and download all of the information Facebook’s logged in its archives.
To download your Facebook archive:
- Click ‘Settings’
- Click ‘General’
- Click ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’ – should be at the bottom of the General Account Settings page.
- Click ‘Start My Archive’
- After following the steps you’ll receive an email from Facebook confirming your request. After confirming you’ll receive a download link which could take a few hours to download.
Should I Download Facebook’s Onavo VPN App?
When you see the word ‘VPN’ you may automatically think ‘private’, but Facebook’s Onavo VPN app, unfortunately, is anything but. The app claims to provide free protection for all of your online activities and data, but everyone knows that everything comes with a price in this world and the word ‘free’ should be ringing alarm bells. If you aren’t paying in monetary terms, then what are you paying with?
When you start to read the fine print, you’ll notice that Onavo claims to “improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.” This may sound very friendly but what it basically means is that it will unrestrictedly pass on all of your traffic information to Facebook – in other words, it’s anything but friendly or anonymous.
So in short; no – unless you want your online activities sent straight back to the social media giant then steer clear of Onavo’s VPN App.
Communicate with Facebook Friends Privately and Securely
In addition to connecting to Facebook from restricted locations, a VPN can also enable you to use Facebook privately, without being monitored by various companies. Facebook can track your IP address and location, as well as your web usage and online activity. By using a VPN you can avoid detection and keep your identity hidden. In truth, much of Facebook’s data retention is for fairly innocuous reasons, namely, to allow e-commerce companies to send you targeted ads. However, NGOs, government agencies, and employers are using Facebook to track individuals and monitor them online.
Access Facebook Securely From Anywhere
Bottom line – Facebook is a magnificent web tool which allows people from all over the globe to connect, share common interests, and keep in touch. If you want to access Facebook securely from anywhere, you have to use a VPN. For those of you who want to not only gain access from geo-restricted countries when traveling, but to also gain access to Facebook securely from anywhere (even your own home!) – then a VPN is your answer. With a trusted VPN with no ties to Facebook (such as Onavo), you’ll be able to protect your online activity and be sure that none of your sensitive information is seeped out into corners of the internet that it doesn’t belong.