How To Hide What You Read Outside Of Facebook [Facebook Tip/Hack Of The Week]

facebook icon   How To Hide What You Read Outside Of Facebook [Facebook Tip/Hack Of The Week]If you love using social apps for your favourite blogs and newspapers, yet worry about your privacy then you’ll love this tip. How often have you seen notifications from friends which you swear they never would have wanted you to see? You know, the sorts of updates which give away their embarrassing tastes or desires, which you know only got to your eyes because the other person doesn’t have a clue how to hide it from you. Do you secretly fear that one day it will be you? That’s why it’s good to know how to hide things in advance.

Here’s a guide to ensuring your reading habits stay private. It’ll teach you how to hide what you read for a given application and give examples of the sorts of applications you might want to set this for.

Why Hide What You Read?

To give an example of why you might want to sort out your reading privacy, I once saw an update from an older, married guy I know on Facebook. He’s a grandfather and an upstanding citizen, who would probably like to keep that reputation clean. He’d been reading trashy newspaper articles about teenage celebrities and various wardrobe malfunctions.

I’m still not convinced that he really wanted all of his friends and family to know of his active interest in such things. He could really have done with learning how to hide what you read on Facebook.

Secret shutterstock 44543710   How To Hide What You Read Outside Of Facebook [Facebook Tip/Hack Of The Week]

There are other reasons, too. Perhaps you’re a young childless woman who happens to be reading a lot of articles about parenting. Is it too early to tell your boss that you’re pregnant? Do you really want them to guess? Or maybe you’re reading a lot of political articles but just don’t want to get into arguments with friends who don’t think the same way as you do about certain issues.

Why Not Delete The App?

But why not just delete the applications? Well, sometimes we like to sign up for these things in order to see what our friends have been reading and to get decent recommendations for more articles while we’re on certain websites. Other times, people are tricked into thinking they need to add the application in order to read the article that their friend just read. Then all of a sudden all of their reading habits are public too.

How To Hide What You Read

So what do you do? Go to your application privacy settings by clicking on the arrow in the top-right of Facebook, then choose “Ads, Apps and Websites” and “Edit Settings” for the apps that you use.

For each and every application which might potentially share your reading habits you change the application privacy settings to “Only Me“. If you’re a little more public about what you read, you could potentially change it to your “Close Friends” list, but that won’t protect you from slip-ups. For the best results, use “Only Me”.

Change Post Privacy   How To Hide What You Read Outside Of Facebook [Facebook Tip/Hack Of The Week]

To be extra careful, you might like to disable “Instant Personalisation“, too. This is not quite the same thing, as it is only making it easy to find things you’ve already made public, but you might also be looking to hide these things.

Which Applications Should Be Protected?

To protect your reading privacy, you need to change the settings for every newspaper and website which shares what you’ve read with your friends. In fact, do it for every newspaper and website application, regardless of what they share right now. You never know what you’ve pre-approved them to do later. Get them all updated now, then make it a habit to add these applications with privacy set to “Only Me” in the future. Then you’re set!

Example Apps   How To Hide What You Read Outside Of Facebook [Facebook Tip/Hack Of The Week]

What embarrassing privacy slip-ups have you seen while noting what your friends have read?

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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41 Comments -

0 votes

Ron Morrow

All this crap should be turned off by default. I was pissed off when I kept seeing my yahoo news stories I read posted on my facebook. Never knowingly opted into that “service”. Lame lame lame.

MakeUseOf to the rescue though :)!

0 votes

Harry G

indeed!!

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

So true. This is not the sort of stuff people expect to be sharing automatically.

0 votes

Neil

Possibly silly question, but does this affect the articles I choose to post through he website. For example, since I found this article helpful, I’m likely to click on the Facebook button on this article and share it with my Facebook friends. If I click “Only Me” on “Posts on My Behalf” in Facebook, does that mean that if I share this article, only I’ll see it, and thus my friends won’t?

0 votes

Chris

Yes, the post will only be seen by you but your like will still be seen by your friends.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

Likes are a little different, in that you actively choose to promote them and they’re posted in a different method to app postings (I think by Facebook itself). They should be visible to everyone, regardless of your settings for that page’s app.

0 votes

Neil Blumengarten

Okay, a follow-up to my last comment, since I gave it a shot myself. If you choose “Only Me” and go to post a webpage through the app on that webpage, such as the Facebook button above, it defaults to “Only Me.” You can change the setting for that particular post on the bottom of the screen that pops up.

The hassle of remembering to do this every time might make some consider not changing the option for pages you post from often (or doing the manual way by copy/pasting the URL into a status update on Facebook). However, if you want control, you’ll just have to remember to adjust the setting each time you go to post.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

Sharing the article should do this, yes. But I think changing the settings from “only me” to something more public manually is a better option than accidentally over-sharing. :)

0 votes

Neil Blumengarten

Okay, a follow-up to my last comment, since I gave it a shot myself. If you choose “Only Me” and go to post a webpage through the app on that webpage, such as the Facebook button above, it defaults to “Only Me.” You can change the setting for that particular post on the bottom of the screen that pops up.

The hassle of remembering to do this every time might make some consider not changing the option for pages you post from often (or doing the manual way by copy/pasting the URL into a status update on Facebook). However, if you want control, you’ll just have to remember to adjust the setting each time you go to post.

Lastly, this might be something MakeUseOf might want to think about, since one of the steps of your contests is to post to a Social Network. Now, technically since I’ve chosen to “Only Me” I can technically still enter a sweepstakes, post to Facebook, but not have any of my friends see it.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

Hah, good point. Honestly, I don’t think we could stop you doing that if we wanted to. However, most people understand that giveaways and free manuals cost us money to make available to people, so sharing with friends is more a gesture of goodwill to help us out in return. I’d like to think most of our readers would support us in this way – even if it’s just to a subset of close friends. :)

0 votes

Rigoberto Garcia

Great tip Angela. Thanks…

0 votes

Cristian Lucian

i hust need some points;)

0 votes

tarzan2001

Usually the unintended sharing from my FB friends involves some sort of “hot pic” or “hot video”. Not surprising, but still not something that they would want to share with the world, I’m sure! ;) A few friends also got duped by that “virus/scam” that put some more explicit links into the home feed while preventing the actual victim from seeing what’s going out to their friends. That was annoying for a while, but I think FB has gotten it under control mostly.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

Yeah, that one got a few of my friends too. Poor things!

0 votes

Aditya Roy

There are always updates on my wall about some friend watching a video on dailymotion which i am sure he doesn’t want anyone to know about.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

That’s embarrassing!

0 votes

Âdil Farôôq

useful tip :)

0 votes

josemon maliakal

One of the main disadvantage of facebook is privacy problem, by default they does not support strict privacy..it makes common people troubled

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

I know. It would be prudent of them to set the standard for other social networks and to make all default values quite secure. But no, they have other interests.

0 votes

joefitness

Does it drive anyone crazy that the apps aren’t listed in alphabetical order?

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

Yes!!

0 votes

Carrie

It makes me crazy that NOTHING is in alphabetical order! I can’t even find the few friends I care to hear from. Every time I try to find someone in one of the too many groups, they’re listed in some random, idiotic way. I now get on FB about once every few months…

0 votes

S. Ebbs

Thanks for this info. It seems harder and harder to keep up with the privacy settings on Facebook. But I keep trying, one tip at a time.

0 votes

SKK

Actually most of the people included me hate Facebook.They really do such things which is unbearable like too many notifications,photo tags and then too many notification even on mobile too many notification of photo tags.
One more things i can’t able to remove tags from some photos.So
i totally i hate this…

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

You can set things so that no-one can tag you in photos – or that you have to approve them before you’re tagged.

0 votes

Carrie

Yes, I pretty much despise FB now. Some seem to think that those who do are just trying to be cool. No, they KNOW it’s an invasive annoyance that somehow makes us socially inept.

0 votes

Kurt Decker

I agree with the last post. Facebook would be much more lucrative if they would realize that privacy is one the one valuable things on the internet.

Thanks to MakeUseOf for keeping us on the ball.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

You’re welcome!

0 votes

echantrea

Great ideas for piracy.

0 votes

Donna Shaw

This is awesome! Thanks for the tip!

0 votes

Vociferous Carmichael

This is really insightful. Thank you.

0 votes

Anjan Bhushan

Pirivacy is becoming scary issue since Facebook wants to publishes everything. Thanks for the tips.

0 votes

Joses Lemmuela

Ha, privacy is always a problem nowadays. Great article by the way, but shouldn’t these be the basics of facebook, which, all of us techies probably already know? Of course, it’s still useful for the average person :D

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

Even some techies don’t know the ins and outs of Facebook just because they’ve got more pressing things to do with their time. And Facebook doesn’t always make it easy. :)

0 votes

Bing Hau Yap

This is really helpful. Thanks alot.

0 votes

Carter Brainerd

Nice, I have always wondered how to do this. People are nosey.

0 votes

Ciarran Hunter

whats a strong password for facebook

0 votes
0 votes

Ali Lou

Helpful article indeed. Is there a way to stop notification of friends you make being sent to everyone of your friends? I think who you become friends with should not be sent out to others.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

I don’t think it can be automatically hidden anymore, sorry. However, after you friend someone you can remove that entry from your timeline straight away by clicking the x in the corner.

0 votes

Nancy B

Great advice for lots who haven’t checked out the new privacy settings.

I’m one of those anal types who checks out everything every time they change the look or settings, and already did this last year, but a good reminder to check your lists once in awhile to make sure they aren’t adding things on your Timeline or Feed list!

Thanks for the reminder!