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facebook privacy settingsMakeUseOf 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 How To Control Your Privacy With The Facebook Timeline How To Control Your Privacy With The Facebook Timeline While the new Facebook timeline looks fantastic, there are a few privacy concerns worth keeping in mind. For most people, certain things will need adjusting before you can be completely sure that your posts aren't... Read More .

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 this link 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.

facebook privacy settings

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This point was inspired by an article written by Mahendra in 2009: 10 Solid Tips to Safeguard Your Facebook Privacy 10 Solid Tips to Safeguard Your Facebook Privacy 10 Solid Tips to Safeguard Your Facebook Privacy Read More .

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.

facebook privacy issues

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.

facebook privacy issues

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.

facebook privacy issues

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.

facebook privacy settings

For more tips and tricks that will help you protect your Facebook privacy, have a look at these:

What do you do to protect your Facebook privacy? We would love to hear your tips!

  1. Ron Payne
    August 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Seems your instructions do not follow my page(s). Even the images do not agree with what I see on my Profile page.

    • Tina
      August 5, 2012 at 10:26 am


      The article was written in March. Facebook has changed its interface in the meantime. Sorry!

      • Ron Payne
        August 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm

        Oh, I'm sure it is outdated,but the link was published in " “Cool Websites and Tools [August 3rd 2012]” plus 9 more" dated 4 October 2012 for my email received. Just would have been nice to update the information for users since I like to post to my FB page information related to FB privacy.

        • Tina
          August 6, 2012 at 7:59 am

          Well, the link was within a recent article of another writer. We frequently link to older articles, but unfortunately we can't always check whether the information is still up to date. In this case, the information isn't completely outdated, it's just that the user interface has changed. Sorry for the inconvenience!

  2. schneider amaral
    April 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    So ficarei satisfeito com o facebook,depois de recuperar minha conta que esta bloqueada.

    • Tina
      April 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      I guess!?

      • nikhil
        June 30, 2012 at 5:44 am

        Is there any way to know who views your facebook profile?

        • Tina
          June 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm

          No, I'm afraid there is no way.

  3. arvind sing
    March 19, 2012 at 10:42 am


  4. Robin
    March 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Have you ever done a survey on what FB privacy options people would like to have? I'd be very curious. I am rather fanatical about FB privacy and these days my #1 pet peeve is tagging. For me it's not enough to approve tags. I want to turn off the ability for friends to tag me, period. Otherwise it's a two step process: (1) you don't approve the tag on your timeline, then (2) you go to the image and untag yourself. This is seriously annoying.

    • Tina Sieber
      March 17, 2012 at 12:29 am

      That's a pretty good idea, Robin. Will suggest it to Yaara, who runs our polls.

  5. Mat Bridget
    March 15, 2012 at 12:17 am

    This Facebook privacy issue is really scary! Look for example at on of those Facebook search site, - I logged out from my Facebook account and it seems that this search can see my profile! or maybe I miss something??

  6. Amit Chahar [ ]
    March 14, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Didn't know about the ads settings. Thanks a lot. :)

  7. Tina
    March 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Hey Ben,

    not sure why Facebook would do that. Maybe just remove your place of work from your information?

    • Khan
      March 24, 2012 at 1:28 am

      Thanks for taking the time to post. It's lifted the level of dbteae

  8. Ben Wallis
    March 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    How do I stop my place of work from being displayed on third-party sites that use Facebook Comments?

    I set it to only display to friends but I think it always gets displayed to everyone.

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