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

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facebook privacyIf 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.

facebook privacy

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.

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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”.

facebook privacy issues

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!

facebook privacy

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

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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Comments (41)
  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • Ciarran Hunter

    whats a strong password for facebook

  • Carter Brainerd

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

  • Bing Hau Yap

    This is really helpful. Thanks alot.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.