We have covered 8 steps to regain control of your Facebook Privacy in Part 1. If you haven’t already, please read it, as we covered privacy basics in search visibility, photos and videos, relationships and contact information.
Let us now proceed with the next steps concerning Facebook privacy controls in the context of applications, friends, news feed, wall posts, groups, ads, and quitting Facebook.
#9: Control What Your Friends Can Share About You
As explained earlier, your Facebook friends can reveal information about you to applications of their choice even if you yourself do not use those applications. A typical example is when your friends use a birthday application that reminds them of your birthday so that they can send you a card or gift.
Unfortunately, this also means they reveal your religious, sexual, and political preferences as well as other personal information about you. Birthday information is also misused by financial fraudsters. All of this can be shared via more than 500,000 applications with more than 1 Million developers from over 180 countries.
If you don’t want to do that, go to Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites page. Click Edit Settings for What your friends can share about you. Choose what you want to share or uncheck all boxes for maximum privacy.
#10: Reduce Visibility of Your Facebook Friendships
Your friends list is visible to everyone on Facebook by default. Some people browse others’ friends for voyeuristic or marketing purposes. Unfortunately, Facebook now considers your friends list as “publicly available information” so there is no way to hide it completely. You can make it slightly harder for strangers to see your friend list. Go to your profile page, click the pencil icon next to your Friends box, and uncheck the Show Friend List to Everyone box.
Note that your friends list is still visible to all applications (and their developers) as well as to anyone who knows your Facebook username or ID.
#11: Remove Unused Applications
As explained in “9. Privacy From Your Applications” in the original guide, you should review the list of Applications you have authorized on Facebook and remove unused apps.
Go to Settings > Application Settings from the top menu, and review all applications listed by choosing Authorized, Allowed to Post, and Granted Additional Permissions from the drop-down.
#12: Minimize Publishing Recent Activity To News Feed
The ability to control the Recent Activity news feed on your wall as described in “5. Control Automatic Wall Posts and News Feed Updates” in the original guide has now been removed from Facebook. Therefore, there is no way to stop notifications appearing on your wall when you add a new friend, comment on or like a friend’s status, note, photo, video, or link.
However, you can still stop certain kinds of notifications from appearing as Recent Activity on your wall news feed. This includes notifications when you become a fan of a page, are RSVPed to an event, receive a gift, join a Group, or are tagged in a photo or video. To do this, go to Settings > Application Settings from the top menu, and change the drop-down to Allowed to Post. For each of the applications listed below, click Edit Settings, Additional Permissions and uncheck the Publish to streams box.
- Ads and Pages
- Photos & Videos
There are two additional points to note:
- Wall-to-wall posts with a friend are only visible to mutual friends of both.
- You can still manually Remove all Recent Activity news feed posts from your wall.
#13: Control Privacy Of Wall Posts
Your Facebook status messages can now be public and searchable from external search engines like Google. You can also set Facebook privacy controls on a per-post basis, but it’s better to set the default privacy setting for your wall posts. Go to Privacy Settings > Profile Information, and select Only Friends for Posts by Me.
Next, to control your wall privacy, go to your Profile page and click the Options link under the Share button. Then click Settings. Here, you can control whether your friends can write to your wall and who can see wall posts made by your friends.
It’s better to restrict who sees wall posts made by your friends. For example, college buddies may write things on your wall that may not be suitable for a professional audience.
#14: Hide Group Memberships In Your Profile Information
The Groups that you are a member of are listed in your profile. To remove them from your profile, go to Settings > Application Settings from the top menu, and click Edit Settings for the Groups application.
Click (remove) to remove Group memberships from the Info section of your profile. Set the privacy level for visibility of your group memberships to Only Me.
Note that when you post a message to a Group’s wall, a notification will still be posted on your profile. This step simply makes the list of groups invisible on your Profile page Info tab.
#15: Avoid Appearing In Advertisements
There are no changes to Facebook privacy regarding advertisements, but the location to access these settings has changed. Now, go to Settings > Account Settings, and click the Facebook Ads tab.
Set both options under Ads shown by third party applications and Ads shown by Facebook to No one to avoid appearing in any advertisements on Facebook.
#16: Understand Difference Between Deactivating and Deleting Account
These privacy changes in Facebook have prompted some users to quit Facebook altogether. If you decide that Facebook is not your cup of tea, you must understand the difference between deactivating and deleting your Facebook account.
From Settings > Account Settings, you will see an option to Deactivate Account. Deactivation simply puts your Facebook account in a suspended state. All your profile information, pictures, friends, and wall posts remain intact on Facebook servers, but are not accessible to other Facebook users including your friends. You can resume using Facebook as before simply by logging into Facebook again.
If you wish to permanently delete your account, you need to submit your request on this page. This will remove all your information from Facebook’s servers, and there will be no way to access or recover your account and profile information again.
This completes our guide to how you can regain your privacy in Facebook to the extent possible, while also explaining which Facebook privacy controls are no longer available. How are these changes affecting your Facebook experience? Do you have any other tips to share? Shout out in the comments!