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Facebook’s Privacy Cleanup tool has triggered a massive push in profile cleanups, which is great, however some people are following up with a cleanup trend and not liking the results too much.
The new trend for “cleaning up” Facebook profiles is often by un-liking every single page, deleting all apps and fixing a few privacy settings. However, this approach leads to unmanageable home feeds as Facebook will re-recommend all of those pages and apps back to you, with no real way of avoiding the recommendations. What a nightmare! With that in mind, there are some better ways to “clean up” your Facebook profile. Here’s what to do.
Firstly, consider why you’re cleaning up your timeline. Is it to stop telling other users so much about yourself? Is it to stop Facebook knowing so much about you? Is it to avoid highly-targeted advertising by making sure advertisers don’t know so much about you?
What I’m about to suggest will stop other users knowing so much, but it won’t help too much with the other two points. That’s because Facebook already knows these things and there’s no taking it back, and the advertisers don’t directly get to know these things about you (unless they target a campaign at something highly specific and you respond by signing up for their deal). The advertisers never actually see who fits their criteria, only who responds to the ads. So, if you don’t respond you’re fine.
Cleaning Up Your Facebook Timeline
What we’ll do now is make sure other users on Facebook don’t know quite so much about you. We’ll clean up your Facebook timeline from a number of angles.
Clean Up Facebook Likes
The best way to stop sharing your “Likes” with people is to manually dictate who can see them. Head to your About page and scroll down to sections of stuff you’ve “liked”, such as movies, music and TV. Click on the top-right and choose “Edit Privacy” to choose who is able to see these likes from your friends and friends lists. Don’t forget there’s a section called “Likes,” which will let you manage the privacy of all those other likes. Once you’ve determined this, you can use the same menu to hide the section, meaning people viewing your about page won’t see the section there, even if they’re technically allowed to see the items that would be in it.
Stop Being Used in Adverts
You will also want to change the setting to share social ads in Settings > Ads > Ads And Friends. Change the setting to “No-One” and then your name won’t be used to promote pages you like with your Facebook friends. Better still, convince all of your friends to do this and Facebook won’t know what to show you!
Just below this is another advert opt-out. This will stop you from seeing adverts that were targeted at you because of sites you’ve visited that use Facebook’s social login. These companies don’t actually learn anything about you, as it’s all done via Facebook automatically. But it wouldn’t hurt to turn it off if you’re uncomfortable about it. You may also want to opt out of sharing browsing data with Facebook’s advertisers.
Clean Up Facebook Applications
Head to Facebook.com/apps and navigate to your settings (or use this link). From here you can set the visibility of each and every app you use or are logged into. That, or you can delete the app and remove it from your account using the little cross when you hover over it. For some apps, a straight delete will do. If it’s an app or a social plugin for a site you use a lot, change the privacy setting to “Only Me” and no-one will know you use it. This is also useful if the app is spamming socially. Change it to just your best friends or “Only Me” to stop being annoying to people.
At the bottom of this page is the “Apps Others Use” setting, which is a very important privacy setting. This tells Facebook what information of yours to share with friends using Facebook apps. Privacy-conscious people don’t like their friends’ apps to see much at all, as they don’t have any say in which apps the friends install. Personally, I’ve un-checked all but whether or not I’m online.
Clean Up Home Feed
Cleaning up your home feed is essential for your sanity while using Facebook. The easiest way to do this is to create Friends Lists with just the people you really care about and to access your home feed directly through a bookmark to this Friend List.
Also be sure to click in the right-hand top corner of any adverts or posts about apps and games in order to tell Facebook you’re not interested in these things and to “Hide all from [this application]”. Do the same with noisy friends and acquaintances in your home feed, too.
Clean Up Your Facebook About Page
Head to your About section of your Timeline and check every piece of information you’ve added. In the edit screen there will be a little gear icon to the right when you hover over an item. If you hover over the gear it will show you who can see this piece of information. If you click on it, you can set which friends or friends lists can (OR CAN’T) see this information. It’s really important to make sure these things are set correctly.
Facebook Privacy Checkup Tool
And finally, do check out Facebook’s new Privacy Checkup tool. To do this, click on the padlock in the top-right and choose the dinosaur-friendly Privacy Checkup option. It’ll take you through the app settings, your About page information and check on what the visibility of your next post is. This is a neat way to quickly check the most important stuff.
Did You Clean Up Your Page?
Have you just gone through this process of cleaning up your Facebook timeline? Were you horrified at some of the pages you’ve liked that were publicly viewable? Or were you one of the people who actually deleted all of your liked pages in a massive purge, as the trend seems to be? If so, why?