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facebook privacy settingsMany changes have been made to Facebook’s privacy settings in the past few months – enough to make your head spin.  If you’re like me and have been just “hoping for the best” as changes are continually rolled out, a new tool is available to clearly visualize and modify your privacy settings on the popular social networking site.

[NO LONGER WORKS] PrivacyDefender is a new web application from identity-protecting superpower ReputationDefender.  PrivacyDefender makes it easy to view and change your Facebook privacy settings, and allows you to easily reset your privacy settings to ensure you have total control over what others can see.

Why is this needed amidst Facebook’s newly-simplified privacy settings?  Simply put: PrivacyDefender does a better job of showing you exactly who can see and use your information and provides simple predefined settings to establish your privacy.

Using PrivacyDefender

PrivacyDefender can be enabled in 4 very simple steps.  To get started, visit the PrivacyDefender page on Facebook and click the Allow button.  This will give PrivacyDefender access to your information which is necessary to properly analyze your settings.

facebook privacy settings

Next, drag the grey PrivacyDefender button to your bookmarks toolbar.  If your bookmarks toolbar is hidden, you can easily enable it:

  • Chrome: Press CTRL + B or click the wrench icon in the top right of the browser and select Always show bookmarks bar.
  • Firefox: Click View –> Toolbars –> Bookmarks Toolbar.
  • Internet Explorer: Click Tools –> Toolbars –> Favorites Bar.

The PrivacyDefender button is a bookmarklet 20 Must-Have Bookmarklets For Your Web Browser 20 Must-Have Bookmarklets For Your Web Browser Read More , which is a small string of Javascript code that can interact with websites.

facebook and privacy

Now that the PrivacyDefender button is sitting comfortably in your bookmarks toolbar, click it to evaluate your current privacy settings.

facebook and privacy

After PrivacyDefender does some thinking (it can take a few minutes to calculate your Facebook privacy settings, be patient), you’ll see a graph of concentric rings illustrating your current privacy settings.  As you can see, I have some work to do.

facebook and privacy

Understanding The Privacy Graph

facebook privacy

PrivacyDefender’s privacy graph shows you exactly what information is available to the world.  Each ring of the graph represents a privacy tier, i.e. “Who can see what”.  The core is only you, followed by friends, friends of friends, and everyone.

The graph is also broken up into “slices”, with each slice representing information on your profile such as photos, profile pictures, and contact information.  Your current Facebook settings are colorized, so when your information is available to everyone it will be bright red as a warning.

It is also very important to note the boxes to the right of the privacy graph.  These three boxes show you information regarding what your friends can share about you and how advertisers can interact with your profile.  Even if your profile seems secure, it can still be possible for your friends to share information about you (we’ll fix this next though, don’t worry!).

facebook privacy

Fixing Your Privacy Settings

If you see a privacy graph like mine and are now a bit skittish about how exposed you are, this is the part where we make it all better.  PrivacyDefender identifies three different privacy tiers, My friends, My Social Network, and Everyone but not everything, so you’ll have plenty of flexibility when picking your privacy settings.

facebook privacy

Check out the following settings and identify which one best suits you:

My friends: You use Facebook solely to interact with your existing friends and are not looking to add more.

My Social Network:  You use Facebook to grow your network through your friends but don’t want to share any of your information with the public.

Everyone but not everything:  You don’t mind if your Facebook profile is public but you still don’t want to share your birthday, contact information, or photos.

To change your Facebook privacy settings, simply drag the slider to the area where you feel most comfortable.  You will immediately see the result of this change in your privacy graph above the slider.  Since I’m only mildly paranoid and don’t mind friends of my friends interacting with me, I opted for the My Social Network setting.

Once you’re finished, click the Fix My Privacy! button.

facebook privacy settings

(Note: Some privacy tiers only allow certain groups to find you in Facebook search and add you as a friend.  If you want your profile to be searchable to everybody, visit Facebook’s privacy settings page, select & click view settings under Basic Directory Information, and make the appropriate changes).


Facebook privacy settings can be tricky, and even with Facebook’s simpler controls it can still be difficult trying to figure out which settings are right for you.  PrivacyDefender takes the guesswork out of the equation and keeps your information accessible to only the people you choose.

For more information about PrivacyDefender, check out [NO LONGER WORKS] their FAQ, and make sure to check out the rest of our articles about Facebook and privacy topics!

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