Adjusting your Facebook privacy settings.

Adjusting your Facebook privacy settings

Facebook is sneaky. Facebook wants you to share as much information as possible. Facebook wouldn’t exist if you didn’t share! Now, whilst sharing some things on Facebook is fun, useful and in some cases, just necessary – there are other times when you want to control who can see certain pieces of content. This is why Facebook has provided various privacy settings for you to adjust. However, with Facebook’s privacy settings constantly evolving and becoming more and more customisable, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the options and end up letting some pieces of content unintentionally become more visible than you would like. I have broken Facebook privacy down into five manageable sections: General Privacy, Personal Information Privacy, Content Privacy, Photo Privacy and Content On Another User’s Timeline Privacy.
*Note: Audience Selector Tool – this is a reoccurring tool that is referred to below.
The Audience Selector Tool provides you with options for who can see what. The
default audiences are: Public, Friends of Friends, Friends, Friends except
Acquaintances, Only Me, Custom and any lists you have created.
1. General Privacy
These are the settings that are probably most widely known. Clicking on the Gear
Icon at the top of the menu bar and selecting Privacy Settings takes you to a page
with some very generic options for you to adjust. These include: Who can see my
stuff? Who can contact me? Who can look me up?
It is fairly self-explanatory – these settings allow you to determine who can send you
friend requests, send you messages and search for you on the internet.
This is the first place you should go when updating your privacy settings.
2. Personal Information Privacy
When you join Facebook, you are encouraged to submit various pieces of
information about yourself – your birthday, education, workplace, relationship
status, religious point of view, etc. All this information is collated in the About
section on your profile. Facebook allows you to customise the privacy settings for
each individual piece of information in the About section. The great thing about this
is that you can allow the Facebook public to see which city you live in, but only your
friends can see your relationship status and only your close friends can view your
email address. This provides a great filter to keeping important personal information
private. To alter your About section privacy:
• Go to your profile
• Click the About tab
• Click the Edit button next to the About section you wish to change the privacy
settings of
• Click the Audience Selector Tool next to the piece of information in that About
section you wish to change the privacy settings of
• Select which audience you would like to see that piece of information
• Click Save when done
3. Content Privacy
Facebook also allows you to alter the privacy settings of each piece of content that
you create – ie status, photos, check-ins or life events. You can apply these settings
when you post content, but you can also adjust the settings of content you have
posted in the past. This won’t change the fact that people may have seen this
content before the privacy settings were altered.
To adjust content privacy settings as you post content:
• Create the content
• Click the Audience Selector Tool near the Post button
• Select which audience you would like to see this content
• Click Post when ready
To adjust content privacy settings retrospectively:
• Locate that content on your Timeline
• Click the Audience Selector Tool located next to the date it was posted
• Select which audience you would like to see this content
4. Photo Privacy
Privacy settings work in two ways when it comes to your Facebook photos.
Firstly, when you create a photo album, you can select privacy settings that are
applied to that album and all the photos in it. However, when you add photos to a
Facebook default album – Profile Pictures, Mobile Uploads, Timeline Photos –
privacy settings are applied to each individual photo in those albums, not the
album as a whole.
To adjust the privacy settings for photos in default Facebook albums:
• Go to your profile
• Click the Photos tab
• Click the Albums tab
• Click one of Facebook default albums, say Profile Pictures
• You will see thumbnails of all photos in this album – click one you wish to change
the privacy settings for. You will see an enlarged version of this photo.
• Click the Audience Selector Tool located next to the date it was posted
• Select which audience you would like to see this content
5. Content On Another User’s Timeline Privacy
It is important to remember that content posted on a user’s timeline has that user’s
privacy settings applied to it. For example, if you posted Happy Birthday on a
friend’s wall, their timeline privacy settings would determine who sees that post – it
could be the entire Facebook public, or it could only be their friends.
It is important to keep this in mind when sharing content with a Facebook friend, for
once you do – that content is out of your control and there is no way of knowing
who may end up seeing it.
Overall Advice:
• Facebook remembers previous settings – ie if you posted a status update that
was visible to the Public, then everything else you share will automatically be visible
to the public, unless you manually change it via the Audience Selector Tool.
• Use the View As… feature frequently – this can be accessed via the Gear
Icon located on your Timeline. The View As… feature allows you to see exactly what
specific Facebook friends – or the Facebook public – can see when they view your
• Always ask yourself, “does the entire world need to see this piece of information?”
If the answer is no, then change the setting from Public to Friends Only.
• Use Lists – Lists literally let you create lists of Facebook friends, such as Family or
Work Colleagues. These lists are then added to the list of audiences in the Audience
Selector Tool. This means you could create a photo album that only family members
on your Family list can see, or add a check-in that your work colleagues can’t see.
• Remember – even if you have the strictest privacy settings, content can still leak
out. If you would rather information not be seen by certain people – then don’t post
it on Facebook in the first place!!


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