MakeUseOf has published countless articles on Facebook privacy and security settings. Facebook continuously updates and changes privacy settings and options. For this post I have revisited previous stories to collect the best tips and update instructions to reflect current options. If you have lost track, this is your chance to catch up and bring your Facebook privacy settings up to speed.
1. Control The Privacy Settings Of Your Profile
Your profile contains information about yourself, your friends and family, your education and work and much more. Facebook allows you to assign privacy levels to a lot of this profile information. Let me demonstrate how to change the settings for Basic Information.
- Either click this link while logged into Facebook or…
- …click the Edit Profile button in the top right on your Facebook profile.
- Click the little icons to the right of items in your profile to select who can see the respective information.
- Repeat this for all items and sections within your profile.
Tip: Want to test how your profile looks to the public or your friends? Test it using the View As button on your profile. This tip was inspired by Angela’s 2011 post on How To Control Your Privacy With The Facebook Timeline.
2. Organize Your Friends In Lists
Creating lists of friends is the best way to maintain your privacy, if extended family members or work colleagues insist on being friends on Facebook. The ways in which you can leverage lists for selective privacy are explained in the following steps. For now let’s focus on how to set them up.
- Either use while logged into Facebook or…
- …click where it says Friends in your Facebook sidebar, while viewing your profile.
- In the list view, click the Friends button next to a name, scroll to the end of the menu and select New List…
- Create as many lists as you need. Note that friends cannot see your lists.
- Then assign your friends to lists.
This point was inspired by an article written by Mahendra in 2009: 10 Solid Tips to Safeguard Your Facebook Privacy.
3. Control How You Allow People To Connect With You
The How You Connect privacy settings let you control who can find your profile, connect with you, post on your wall, or view your public posts. If your Facebook password is the equivalent of your front door, these settings represent your windows and curtains.
- Either follow this link while logged into Facebook or…
- …click the little arrow in the top right of your Facebook profile and click Privacy Settings.
- Click Edit Settings next to How You Connect.
- Open the drop-down menus next to each item and pick the desired group of people. You can select default options or your custom lists.
The screenshot below shows my preferences. Personally, I don’t like it when people post on my wall. Alternatively, you can make wall posts from others visible only to you.
4. Customize Your Privacy Settings
You can set a default privacy setting for all your wall posts. This way you won’t accidentally post something available to the world that was only meant for your friends’ eyes. Here is how you do it:
- Go to your Facebook Privacy Settings.
- Under Control your Default Privacy select Friends or Custom.
For full control over your privacy, select Custom! This option allows you to select specific people or lists, to which your updates will be visible or invisible per default. For increased privacy, be sure to deselect Friends of those tagged.
5. Edit Your Ads Privacy Settings
Ever noticed that Facebook shows you what your friends have liked on other pages? This is called social ads and the chances are that your friends also see the products and services you have liked. The best way to avoid this of course is not to like anything. The second best way is to disabled social ads:
- Click here while logged into Facebook or…
- …go to your Account Settings and select Facebook Ads in the sidebar.
- Click Edit third party ad settings and/or Edit social ads setting.
- Select No one from the drop-down menu and click Save Changes.
For more tips and tricks that will help you protect your Facebook privacy, have a look at these:
- The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide
- The Top 5 Privacy Tips For Facebook Timeline Applications
- Concerned About Privacy? Opt Out Of Facebook App Permissions With fPrivacy [Chrome]
- 6 Simple Tips To Protect Your Privacy on Facebook
- Facebook Really Needs More Sophisticated Privacy Controls [Opinion]
- How To Tweak Important Privacy Settings For Limited-Access Facebook Pages
What do you do to protect your Facebook privacy? We would love to hear your tips!