Facebook Privacy Settings have always been difficult to figure out. They’re either too complicated to understand, difficult to turn off, turned on automatically for you without your knowledge, or there is not a way to get the level of customization that you want with them. As a result of the challenging Facebook privacy settings, this can mean that you’re revealing important information to people who are not in your network, which can put you into an unfortunate situation with friends, family, or your employer.
To help you get a better understanding of Facebook privacy settings, I’ve compiled a list of Facebook privacy settings you should know and bookmark to help protect yourself when on Facebook. Let’s take a look at the privacy settings.
10 Facebook Privacy Settings and how to protect yourself
Before we begin, be sure you bookmark the Facebook Privacy Settings page. This will take you directly to your the privacy settings menu on your Facebook Profile so that you can make adjustments.
1. Facebook Friend Lists
Now that you have the Facebook Privacy Settings page bookmarked, first things first. Organizing your Facebook friends into friend lists.
By organizing friends into friend lists now, this can make it much easier to control Facebook privacy settings.
A few things about Facebook friend lists:
- Friends can be added to multiple friend lists
- Each friend can have specific privacy policies applied to them
Organizing friends into friend lists
To organize your friends into friend lists, follow these steps:
- Login to Facebook
- Click on your name in the top left corner
- Click on “friends”
- Hover over the word “friends” next to one of your friends
- Click “new list” or “add to another list” if you already have lists set up
- Select your list or click “new list,” name it, and move on to the next person
So what types of lists should you create? I recommend starting with the basics. Friends, Family, Co-workers, Cities, etc. You can always create more lists and readjust as needed.
Now that you have your friends organized into lists, you can now define the privacy settings you want to apply to each list. For instance, if you don’t want your co-workers list to see your embarrassing Christmas photos, but you want your family to be able to view them, all you need to do is tweak the settings in each group of friends.
Note: if you add someone to more than one list, the privacy settings that get applied to them are the more restrictive settings.
2. Remove yourself from Facebook search results
Don’t want someone to be able to find you on Facebook? The great thing is that you can hide yourself from Facebook search results. To do this, go to the Facebook Privacy Settings page and look under the “who can look me up” section. Here, be sure to change who can look you up by phone number or email address from everyone to friends of friends or friends. This way only the people who know your contact information can find you.
3. Remove yourself from Google and other search engines
Don’t want other search engines like Google to be able to look you up and link off to your Facebook Timeline? Be sure you turn this setting off.
To remove yourself from Google and other search engines, go to the Facebook Privacy Settings page and look under the “who can look me up” section. This time, look for “do you want other search engines to link to your Timeline.” Select this option and uncheck the box and confirm the message prompt.
Here are a few things to note about leaving this feature on or off – there are benefits to both.
When this setting is on, it is easier for other search engines to link to your timeline in search results.
If you turn off this setting, it may take a while for search engines to stop showing the link to your timeline in their results.
4. Review posts you’re tagged in before they appear on Facebook
How many times have you not checked Facebook, only to learn that someone has tagged an unflattering photo of you? You can stop this by turning on the “review posts you’re tagged in” feature within Facebook privacy settings.
How to turn on review posts you’re tagged in before they appear on Facebook
- Vist the Facebook privacy settings for timeline and tagging page
- Go to the “how can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions” section
- Click on “edit” next to “review tags people add you to before the tags appear on Facebook” section
- Select “enabled”
5. Hide Facebook posts in news feed
Are there certain updates in your news feed that you’re tired of seeing? For example, a profile advertising products you’re not interested in or photos you don’t want to see? You can clean-up your news feed by tweaking your Facebook privacy settings.
How to hide posts in news feed, simply follow these steps:
- Login to Facebook
- In your news feed, hover your mouse over a post and look for a dropdown arrow on the right – click it
- Select “hide”
Remember, your friends cannot see what is in your news feed. Also, you only have the option to hide everything that they post. The new Facebook news feed should have additional controls to let you hide just photos from friends or pages you have liked.
6. Check what other people can see on your Timeline
Did you know, you can get a view of your Facebook Timeline from your friends’ perspective. To do this, go to the Facebook privacy settings for timeline and tagging page. There, look under “who can see things on my Timeline.”
When you click “view as,” you can now type in a person’s name and see what your Facebook Timeline looks like to them. If you don’t like something showing up, tweak your Facebook privacy settings.
7. Monitor recognized devices
This is probably one of the most overlooked Facebook privacy settings. Each time you get a new device to your Facebook account, you are telling Facebook that it is ok to let these devices connect to your account. This is great, unless you have accidentally forgotten to log out of Facebook. From time to time, you should monitor your list of recognized devices.
By monitoring your list of recognized devices, you can make sure no one is accessing your account from an unapproved device and remove it.
To monitor recognized devices, visit the Facebook privacy settings security page and select “recognized devices”
Click “edit” to see all recognized devices. To remove a device, click “remove.” This way you protect your privacy on Facebook from unrecognized devices.
8. Create a restricted list
Are there certain people you want to be friends with, but you don’t want them seeing all of your Facebook updates? If you want to maintain that friendship, but want to block them, you can add them to a restricted list. The Facebook restricted list only shows them updates you have marked as “public.” In addition to seeing just updates you have marked as “public,” they won’t even know you have them on a restricted list because they are not notified that you added them.
Still confused about when you would use Facebook restricted lists? Restricted lists are great for when you want to accept someone’s friend request, but you don’t want them to see all of your Facebook profile.
How to add someone to a restricted list on Facebook
- Visit the Facebook privacy settings page for blocking
- Look under the restricted list section
- Select “edit list”
- Add friends to the list
9. Blocking users
Are there certain people you want to completely block from being your friend on Facebook? If so, then you’ll want to make sure you turn on the Facebook privacy settings for blocking users. When you block users, “that person can no longer be your friend on Facebook or interact with you (except within apps and games you both use and groups you are both a member of).”
How to block users on Facebook
- Visit the Facebook privacy settings page for blocking
- Look under the block users section
- Type in someon’s name or email address
10. Review the Facebook Activity Log
The Facebook Activity Log is one of the best Facebook privacy settings features. With the Facebook activity log, you can get a snapshot of all of the posts that you have been tagged in. This way if there is something you want to go back and change, it is easy to find and change.
How to access your Facebook activity log
- Visit the Facebook privacy settings page for privacy
- Under who can see my stuff, look for “review all your posts and things you’re tagged in”
- Select “view activity log”
- On the activity log page, you can edit posts you’re tagged in, remove tags, delete tags, and decide which posts get displayed on your Facebook Timeline
While there are a lot of different Facebook privacy settings, these are my favorites (and some of the most overlooked settings).
Bonus: Blocking Facebook Game Requests
One other area you’ll want to know about is how to block Facebook game requests. This way you’re not getting inundated with requests everyday. Blocking requests is pretty quick too.
Question: Do you think Facebook Privacy Settings are too difficult to manage? Leave a comment below on how you would prefer to manage your Facebook privacy settings.