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Make Sure You’re Secure With Facebook’s New Privacy Settings: A Complete Guide

Yaara Lancet 01-01-2013

What comes to your mind when you hear the word Facebook? Maybe you’re thinking “social network” or “friends”, but for many users, Facebook also means two other things: frequent changes and privacy concerns. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Facebook, is that they’re not really concerned about what we like or our privacy Facebook Really Needs More Sophisticated Privacy Controls [Opinion] Facebook have been under pressure in recent years from all angles to make privacy options simpler and quick to change. They've actually done quite well at this, considering how complicated the Facebook privacy system is... Read More . Nor should they be. When it comes to privacy, it’s our responsibility as Facebook users to make sure we keep ourselves secure and safe while using Facebook.


As for the frequent changes, most  of these are rather coolly accepted, and when we get right down to it, most new features and interface changes come to serve Facebook’s interests rather than the users’. The latest Facebook change is one shining exception: new Facebook privacy settings Facebook's New Privacy Settings, Explained Facebook recently made changes to its privacy settings. In this article, we explain where to find these new settings and what they actually do. Read More . Like I already said, taking care of privacy is our responsibility; it’s also in our best interest.

The new privacy settings turn Facebook’s complex security settings into something much more intelligible, so it’s easier than ever before to be responsible. Let’s take a look at everything that’s changed, and see exactly what you can and can’t do with it.

New Privacy Menu

facebook privacy settings

This is Facebook’s new privacy menu, and the most significant and important addition to Facebook privacy settings. The new menu makes several settings which you previously had to dig for much more accessible and easy to control. These settings are probably the most important for any Facebook user, and include such things as who can see your posts, who can contact you, etc.

As you can see, the wording was also improved, and sounds much more human now. Whereas before you had to half guess what a certain setting does, the new wording can’t be any clearer. “Who can see my stuff?” is where you control who sees your posts (this can be changed for an individual post when you write it), and quickly access the View As options and the new activity log which we’ll touch on in a minute.


facebook privacy changes

The “Who can contact me?” is the new name to what was previously known as “Who can send you Facebook messages”. The new settings let you choose between two filters: basic and strict. The difference? In basic filtering, you’ll mostly get messages from your friends and friends of friends; in strict filtering, you’ll mostly get messages only from your friends. Notice the vague wording? It’s repeated again in the more detailed help page, and basically means that sometimes you might get messages from other people as well.

facebook privacy changes

Note that regardless of the filter you choose, the messages you miss won’t be blocked, but simply go to your Other folder, and you won’t be notified about them. You can check this folder periodically to make sure you didn’t miss anything important.


One of the most useful features of the new menu is the ability to block someone in exactly 5 seconds. Is someone bothering you? Simply enter a name in the third part of the privacy menu, find the person, and click block. This won’t take you more than 10 seconds if you tried.

facebook privacy changes

One last feature you should be aware of is the search option. Granted, the new menu won’t answer all your needs and questions, but you can perform searches straight from it and find answers and solutions to almost any other issue. Just click the magnifying glass icon on the top right corner and search for a term. The results will include all relevant Facebook help pages.

facebook privacy


A Settings Page You Can Understand

facebook privacy

The old settings page was definitely usable. If you really cared about your privacy, you could dig into it and find all the settings you needed. But why did it have to be so hard? Well, it’s not anymore. When you access your settings now, you’ll find that the page has changed completely, with a new menu on the left, clearly defined items and a complete re-wording of most of the settings. Want to control which apps can access your profile? Click on “Apps” on the left and you’re there. Amazing!

facebook privacy

While it does seem like there’s more to go through and read in your new settings, everything is much easier to understand, and it’s well worth your time to go through everything and make sure it’s all set to your liking. This is especially important if you haven’t done this in a while, due to the annoying complexity of the previous settings page.


New & Improved Activity Log


The new activity log makes it very easy to see everything you’ve posted, everything you’re tagged in, etc., and it’s easily accessible from the new shortcut menu. The activity log is chronological – you can see exactly where you are on your timeline using the time indicator on the right – but you can also filter it using several other settings. All the filters are available on the left side, where you can choose to see only photos, likes or comments, only posts you’re tagged in, only posts in groups, and pretty much anything else you can think of. You can also easily access items you need to review, such as tags you need to authorize, etc. This makes it much easier to review your timeline, make sure nothing out of the order is posted about you and re-think things you’ve posted yourself.


Found a photo of yourself or a tag you don’t like? You can easily remove it right from the activity log, with one extra perk: you can now also ask for an entire photo to be removed completely, not just your own tag. So how do you do this?


If you find something inappropriate, you can either click on the sharing indicator and choose “Report/Remove Tag….”, or, if you find several items you want to take care of, select all of them and click on the blue “Report/Remove Tags” button that appears at the top of the page.


Now you’ll get the option to remove your tags, which happens immediately, and also to request that the item be removed completely. Great for those post-party realizations.

Granting App Permissions

One of the major changes Facebook is implementing will concern app permissions – an extremely important and often overlooked subject. While I couldn’t see this change implemented yet, it will be soon according to Facebook.


facebook privacy settings

When this rolls out, you’ll get fine-grained control over permissions you’re granting apps. Each request will appear in a separate window, and you’ll have the ability to grant some permissions while declining others. I hope to see this implemented by apps very soon.

Make Sure You’re Secure!

Facebook’s privacy settings are no joke. If you choose to have a Facebook account and share information, it’s imperative that you know exactly who you’re sharing with. And this includes third-party apps to which you might have granted access. The new Facebook privacy settings are truly easy to understand and tweak, but there’s one thing they can’t do: change themselves.

You’ve seen above how simple these settings are now. It will take you all of 10 minutes to go through everything on the settings page and make sure all is in order. To make your life even easier, here’s a short list of things you should pay attention to:

  • In the Security tab: make sure “Secure Browsing” is enabled.
  • In the Privacy tab: make sure your posts are visible only to those whom you want it to be seen to. (I recommend “Friends”. Just saying.)
  • In the Timeline and Tagging tab: make sure you know who can post on your Timeline. Do you really want everyone in the world to be able to do this?
  • In the same tab: Take a minute to review all the settings under “How I can manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?” These are important.
  • In the Notification tab: make sure you’re notified when people tag you, this is something you need to know about.
  • In the Apps tab: aside from removing apps that shouldn’t be there, you want to click “Edit” next to “Apps others use” and see what information about you others can share with their apps.

These are, of course, only highlights, but if you do nothing else to protect your privacy, at least take a look at these settings.

What do you think of Facebook’s new privacy settings? Did they help you take control of your Facebook presence? Are there other important settings you think no one should skip? Share all your thoughts below.

Image Credit: key image via Shutterstock

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  1. tired of crap
    July 23, 2016 at 8:07 am

    No need to SECURE your inherently IN-SECURE Facebook account if you STOP using the service!

  2. arvilla schneider
    June 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I would like to close this account how do I do this

  3. Rose
    May 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    In your page about the Security Settings, you cover almost everything. I noticed that you did not cover "Follower" and I was wondering why. I have not been able to locate much info on this and would like more. Thank you

    • Yaara Lancet
      May 22, 2013 at 6:28 am

      I'm afraid I don't understand, what are you trying to do and can't figure out, exactly?

  4. Rodelyn C. Lachica
    February 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    This is very helpful. I am experiencing trouble with my facebook account. I can't see who are available to chat .I can't post a comment either.Thanks. I've learned many things in my reading. God bless.

  5. Globalwalyy Temilola
    January 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Nice though have done it long ago

  6. Danilo Telles
    January 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    That article introduced me to Make Use Of. Great article and great site!

    • Aaron Couch
      January 7, 2013 at 3:49 am

      Welcome to the MakeUseOf community Danilo!

  7. Ahmed Musani
    January 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    thanks a lot really really helpful and nicely explained.

  8. Sri Vastav Reddy
    January 6, 2013 at 4:02 am

    that's my first task when i logged in to the NEW F.B

  9. Usman Mubashir
    January 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    fecebook is very badly managed

  10. Igor Rizvi?
    January 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Yea but if there were any privacy setting ,why cant i as a user,playing a decent facebook game... disable options like,spamming links on chat or disabling wall new from the game,if it turn it off i cant enter the game..and i find that a little bit stupid

    • Yaara Lancet
      January 6, 2013 at 7:17 am

      When starting to use an app you can control it so only you can see posts it makes in your name, etc. This way, the app still makes its spammy posts, but your friends are not spammed.

      • Igor Rizvi?
        January 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

        Yes but what about games like 8 ball pool,that are sending links of the game and invite people to play in their inbox or if i am live on the chat?

        • Yaara Lancet
          January 7, 2013 at 6:53 am

          Well, I can only tell you what I do with such Facebook games -- I don't play them.

  11. Kim Jones
    January 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Some of my friends on facebook are telling people to hoover the mouse over their picture, go to settings, click, a list will appear, remove check on comments and likes, also on pictures. They say this will keep anyone you do not want to see your information from doing so. I heard on the news a few weeks ago that it was a scam. Does anyone know?

    • Yaara Lancet
      January 6, 2013 at 7:16 am

      I'm not exactly sure what you're referring to, but I'm not aware of a way to change such settings by hovering over pictures. You can, however, control who sees your posts and information through your privacy settings.

    • Aaron Couch
      January 7, 2013 at 3:47 am


      I've seen similar posts from my friends. The thing is, why would Facebook ever set up settings this way --- putting your privacy in your friends' control? It doesn't make sense.

      People are simply blind to 1) think that everyone would actually do this. 2) that this is the only way to "be secure" and "private" on Facebook.

      The best and really only way to know your Facebook has the correct privacy settings is to do them yourself following the steps with Yaara points out in this article.

  12. Ian Wingrove
    January 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I get a lot of full page adverts on ipad Facebook how can I control these

    • Yaara Lancet
      January 6, 2013 at 7:13 am

      You can't really control ads unless you install and ad-blocker. But you can use the Facebook app for iPad instead of the actual website, which doesn't include as many ads.

  13. Rick Michels
    January 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Way to keep us current with Facebook's ever evolving settings!

  14. Patty Ball
    January 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    can't seem to find out how to share the articles anymore. Icons are missing. Can't get any points either?

    • Anonymous
      January 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      She changed her privacy can't share this.

      Ok...just kidding. I was wondering the same thing.

    • Yaara Lancet
      January 6, 2013 at 7:09 am

      Sorry for the late reply. I'm not sure why you're not seeing the share buttons, I can see them right now to the left of this comment box, and I can also see its been share hundreds of times already, so it must be there for most people.

      Regarding points, are you sharing and not getting points?

  15. Nevzat Akkaya
    January 2, 2013 at 7:52 am

    It kinda strange needing a tutorial like this in order to use a web site and managing its security settings but the reality is so. Thank you for the tips.

    • Austin Halsell
      January 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      A little sad isn't it? I used to be so buried in the settings that I can't imagine anyone who's not tech inclined (like parents) to have ever looked for it let alone found it. I know that as soon as I did, I changed stuff for my brother and parents.

  16. Anonymous
    January 2, 2013 at 6:40 am

    thanks for the advice

  17. Douglas Mutay
    January 2, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Thanks for sharing! I really like the "how do i stop someone from bothering me?".
    I am not sure, but it's look like you can even prevent someone who is not actual in your friend list to become a friend of you in the future by blocking his future request...

    • Austin Halsell
      January 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      I thought you could do that before? I always assumed that's what the "block user" option meant when someone friend requested you, but I never used it, so I'm not certain.

      • Douglas Mutay
        January 3, 2013 at 6:34 am

        It's actually a huge improvement because that option was available only for people already in your friend list or for people that has sent you a friend request. It was only when you discard their request that you had that option. But now you can search for a fb user and prevent him to even send you friend request.

  18. Junil Maharjan
    January 2, 2013 at 5:10 am

    How much they try, they always manage to screw things up and still get lots of people visiting them.

    • Iyekeoretin Akhianmiegbe
      January 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      we are faceless... so we don't read... just like sheeps