How To Hide Your Personal Information On Facebook

facebook logo 300   How To Hide Your Personal Information On FacebookIn the age of the Internet, privacy is a luxury and you have to constantly be on your heels to maintain it. Facebook makes it particularly hard for users to guard their personal data. Despite many changes, Facebook privacy settings remain complicated. Moreover, past updates have unexpectedly made previously private information available to the public.

Well, no stranger needs to know your email address, phone number, or see your family pictures. In this article I show how you can check what the public can see of you on Facebook. I also explain how you can control which of your information is visible.

What Information Can The Public See?

Do you think your profile is all locked up and the public cannot see anything they shouldn’t? Well, how about we check it out, just to be sure!

Go to your Facebook Timeline, i.e. the page that is shown when you click your own name on Facebook. While you are logged in, you will of course see everything. In the top right of your profile summary that heads the Timeline, you should see a Settings icon next to the Activity Log button. Click Settings and select View As…

View Facebook Profile As   How To Hide Your Personal Information On Facebook

This reveals what your Facebook Timeline looks like to a complete stranger. You can also test the view for specific people, by entering their names in the respective field in the top left.

Timeline to Public   How To Hide Your Personal Information On Facebook

The Timeline is one thing, but what you should really check is your About page. So while viewing your Timeline from the public’s perspective, click About in the bottom left of the header. This is where Facebook potentially reveals your contact information, your employer, your education, where you live etc.

Something else you should check is what other parts of your Facebook profile are available to strangers by clicking the About button in the top left. This could include your friends list, your photos, your likes, subscriptions, events you are attending, your notes, and music.

So did you spot anything you didn’t want the public to see?

How Can I Remove Items From Public View?

For most content, Facebook makes privacy control fairly easy.

Let’s start with your About page. Return to this page in your normal logged in view. Notice there is an Edit button in the top right of every box. An exception is your history because it only aggregates available information. Click Edit for an item you want to change, then click the little symbols next to each entry to control who can see this information. You can choose from a few default options, including Friends or Only Me . You can also make the information available to custom lists of friends. Don’t forget to hit Save every time you change a setting.

Facebook About Page Privacy   How To Hide Your Personal Information On Facebook

Curious about how to create custom lists of friends? Find out how you can use Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles.

Next, we will look at Photos. You can control the privacy for each photo individually. This is good to know because you cannot control the privacy level for the Profile Pictures album. To change its visibility, open a photo and click the Edit button on the right. Now you can change the description, location, date, and select who can see the photo. Click the Done Editing button to save your changes.

Facebook Photo Privacy   How To Hide Your Personal Information On Facebook

Fortunately, you can easily change the visibility of your custom photo albums. You will find the menu icon to change who can see an album, next to the number of photos in the respective album.

If you do not want others to see photos you were tagged in, review the 3 Things You Need To Know About Photo Tagging In Facebook to find out how to control tags.

Finally, to control what else people can see of you, including photos you were tagged in, let’s look at your overall Privacy Settings. In the top right of your profile, click the little arrow and select Privacy Settings. This page allows you to customize privacy settings ranging from who can find and contact you on Facebook (How You Connect) and who can see posts you have been tagged in to social ads.

Facebook Privacy Settings   How To Hide Your Personal Information On Facebook

More Resources to Protect Your Facebook Privacy

One article cannot cover everything. If you have a feeling that there is a lot more you need to learn about guarding your Facebook privacy, you are probably right. Here is some material that will help you along the way:

What are some of your biggest privacy concerns with Facebook? Is there any personal information you wish you could control that wasn’t mentioned above?

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29 Comments -

0 votes

Adrian Rea

I do worry about how many companies expect you to become friends so they can push more advertising on you. And I am even a little dubiuos of sites that get you to login via FB, Y! and the like as you may share more than just your name!

0 votes

Imya Last

My solution is very simple.Just stop to put all your personal info on the web.This is very very dangerous.

0 votes

Tina Sieber

I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous in general, but nevertheless, one should be careful.

0 votes

Mac Witty

Maybe the old rule: don’t say anything on Internet that you can’t see on the frontpage of a paper.

0 votes

Jan

That is a very good idea

0 votes

Thomas Vercamer

True that!

0 votes

shaurya gupta

Nice article…but who does not know this.

0 votes

Robert Gorman

Hi Shaurya
Those who are starting out for the very first time?
or
Silver Surfers?

I had a relative who was elderly and had heard all about the internet, Facebook and all

She wanted to keep in contact with relatives who lives a good distance away and keep up with all the goings on.

I rigged up an old Netbook and installed Ubuntu and taught her how to use it to surf and the basics, she wanted to set up a Facebook account,.

That’s the type of people “who does not know this” I had to teach her not to give out the incorrect/personal information that could lead to others using her personal Information for, shall we say Illegal purposes.

P.S She is going great guns now and enjoying every moment, its never to late to learn new things and how to be safe while doing it.

0 votes

Tina

Thank you very much for sharing your story, Robert. It’s always great to hear about people who are eager to try and learn new things, regardless of age or other limitations.

0 votes

Tracy

Although you can change your privacy settings globally, if you change your audience in one post – it carries to the next. For instance; I have a bunch of lists on my FB page – in my global settings, I have made the majority of my posts set for only certain people (friends) to see them – while the majority of people (strangers/acquaintances) are blocked – BUT – I’ve posted things that I wanted to be ‘public’, so changed my setting for that particular post — only to realize that the next posts I’ve written automatically went out as PUBLIC!

I agree you shouldn’t post anything you don’t want on the front page of the paper – but some things are too funny (and totally inappropriate) not to share — and I don’t want to offend my older, younger, more conservative ‘friends’ – so, lists USUALLY work for me….again, gotta keep a hawks eye on FB & it’s privacy settings! Good luck if you are posting from a phone though – I haven’t found a way to change the privacy setting of an individual post from my phone :-(

0 votes

Tina Sieber

Thanks for the heads-up regarding audience setting for posts, Tracy!

What phone do you have? Mobile apps often don’t offer the same functionality, but maybe it’s just very well hidden.

0 votes

Vishal Mishra

It’s a good article to spread awareness about privacy, but i don’t understand why facebook do not allow us to hide cover photo from “public”.

0 votes

John Schmitt

I just make up fake information…

0 votes

Jack Cola

Hiding is one thing, no uploading your information on the web would be better than hiding.

I put together a quick FAQ of some of the tactics I do to protect my self online http://www.jackcola.org/faq?catid=2&faqid=37

In particular, check out item 9, 14 tips I do to help prevent uploading personal information.

0 votes

Gerhard Tinned

Well, if you want to keep you stuff private:

DONT POST IT ON THE INTERNET !!!

0 votes

Sirelkhatim Nugud

Extremely valuable, i will apply it.
Thanks

0 votes

Siddhant Radhu

this is not sufficent information

0 votes

Tina

What do you think is missing, Siddhant?

0 votes

Daniel Reising

good article – as I assist residential end users with their personal computing devices, I feel a sense of surprise…….so many people just take for granted that no matter what they post or share in Facebook, the content remains their own, I have yet to experience even one person who has really taken the time to read the EULA when signing up for an account with Facebook – when I show these folk how to enable settings within Facebook to ensure a greater level of security with their accounts, they are truly amazed…..not by my “wizardry” but when they experience an epiphany concerning the level of privacy that isn’t there by default – thank you for taking the time to create and post this Tina

0 votes

Tina

Most welcome, Daniel!

0 votes

omar elshal

what about Facebook pages’ seen by feature…is there any way to disable it ?

0 votes

Saeef Alam

One good thing FB have done is make is easier to download the archive of information you’ve uploaded to date. I want a copy for my backup, but I’m not downloading it while I’m at college since I have a feeling it’ll use up a LOT of my bandwidth allocation.

0 votes

Edward Bellair

Just add a disclaimer. This is not an invisible site.You are not the invisible man. Get your act together.

0 votes

Colleen Werner

I am very much a user of the friends lists feature on Facebook. It’s (almost literally) a lifesaver, since I’m a not-entirely-out lesbian and atheist. Also, it’s kind of nice to not have the whole world see where I went to high school and stuff like that.

0 votes

c smith

This information is useful to newbies like me. I need to know all the pitfalls. I have a facebook account, not by choice, I had to accept membership when I was enquiring about something I considered useful online. It will be handy to keep a file on all the do’s and dont’s plus other commentators assistance, which I enjoy reading as it expands meagre my knowledge on this subject.

0 votes

sam

Hi this is great post about How To Change Your Name On Facebook and people really benefit for this.

0 votes

Jim Spencer

Personally, I have long since given up on Facebook guarding my privacy! The prudent thing to do, at least for me, is to limit what information I do place on their web site!

0 votes

Deb

I would like to know what companies are doing with my Facebook information when I “Like” them and/or install an app?

I do not always remember to go back and uninstall a app or unlike a company. How long should I leave them on.

Most importantly what are they doing with my information.

I don’t put a lot of information on my page, but I do want to enter sweepstakes and contests and like companies for their coupons and offers. More and More if you don’t you are out a opportunity.

It is too bad it has to be used dishonestly. that ruins it for everyone

0 votes

Tina

Deb,

Have a look at this article: Managing Apps On Facebook – What You Need To Know

It doesn’t really explain what they do with the information, no one but them can tell you. But at least you know what information they have and how you can let them have less of it.