Your Facebook Privacy Explained
Updated on February 7th, 2013
If you are managing a Facebook page there is an expectation that you will have strict security on your personal account so it can not be hacked. Therefore understanding the Facebook privacy settings for a personal account is paramount. So here is a step by step guide of what they all mean and how to change your settings.
Step 1. Log in to your Facebook account and then click on the drop down arrow next to “Home” on the far right side of your page and then select “Privacy Settings“.
Step 2. You will now see the “Privacy Settings” page. The first main setting you will see is “for mobile apps without the inline audience selector…” This means that some apps like Facebook for Blackberry does not allow you to specify who is allowed to see your posts. This setting is usually set by default to friends. You can choose from the following options:
Public: This means that your posts are there for the world to see and for Google to use. This is not suggested in a personal page, especially if there is a business page attached as you have a higher chance of having someone who is not authorised to access your account.
Friends: This means that only people that you have agreed to connect with will see your posts. They will be able to comment and share all of your content. This is not searchable by
Custom: If you select custom you will be taken to a new window with the following options. “Make this visible to ….. these people or list”. On Facebook it is possible to have lists of people which is a great way to categorize friends and colleagues. The default option is Friends and this is based on your friends list.
You also have the option of Friends of Friends which means any content that you publish can not only be seen by your friends list but also their friends on their list. (I would be careful with this setting. You can always trust your friends but you may not trust your acquaintances or people you have never met before)
Specific People or List: This is when you can select a particular list or specific people that you would like to see your content. If you are a mum or dad and are wanting to keep an eye on what your child is doing, then this your best friend. Make sure you write your name, this will make sure you see every post!
Only Me: Only me is also an option however this quite an odd setting. If you are trialing doing posts on Facebook and are not ready to talk to the world yet, then this is the setting for you.
Hide This From: If there is anyone that you would like to make sure that they do not naturally see your content, then place there name or the lists that they are placed in here.
Be sure to save changes once you are happy.
Step 3. Now let look at your settings for “How You Connect” . The first setting is who can look you up using the email address or phone number you provided. In the search bar on Facebook, if you are looking for someone you have the option to type in their name but if you are looking for an exact match and not the 10,000 Mary Smith’s on Facebook you can type their email address or mobile number. The options Everyone, Friends of Friends and Friends are fairly explanatory.
Who can send you friend requests? If you are conscious of people who don’t know who you are trying to connect with you, then selecting Everyone may not be the best option for you. The only other option here is Friends of Friends.
Who can send you Facebook messages? This means you can select out of Everyone, Friends and Friends of Friends who have the ability to send you a private message. Due to Facebook controls it is extremely rare if not non existent that you will ever get spam. My suggestion however is Friends of Friends or Friends.
Step 4. Now click on “Edit Settings” next to Timeline and Tagging. The first setting is Who can post on your timeline which means who are you authorising to write content that will be displayed on your personal Facebook profile. The options that you have here are Friends and No one. If you can trust your friends to post good content then this one is for you.
Who can see what others post on your timeline? If you are concerned about some of the content a friend may place on your account then you can use this field to select everyone, friends of friends, friends, friends except acquaintances, custom, close friends and lists. These settings apply to photos, status updates and other posts.
If you are wondering how Facebook defines Acquaintances this is it: The acquaintances list is for friends you don’t need to stay in close touch with. People on your acquaintances list will rarely show up in your news feed.”
Custom: This will give you the option to exclude certain people but allow others.
Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline. Don’t want your boss to know that your not really sick and just attending future music festival? If you mark yes you will be sent a notification to review and agree to being tagged in that post before it is seen on your timeline.
Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline? There are alot of options here: Everyone, friends of friends, friends, friends except acquaintances, custom or list”. These options are completely up to you but for safety reasons I would never select Everyone. You don’t exactly want everyone to know where you are. I would suggest friends, or friends of friends.
Review tags people add to your own posts on Facebook: This will allow others to tag them selves in photos are on particular posts. This is one that I would suggest.
Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded? When a photo that looks like you is uploaded, Facebook will suggest that you are tagged in the photo. The only two options here are friends and no one .
Step 5. Ads, Apps and Websites.
Do you remember that Facebook app you used to use but have completely forgot about? Farmville? When you agreed to use those apps you also would have agreed to allow them to access your basic information and possibly even more. Even though you may not be accessing these apps anymore, they can still access you. So it is best to do a clean up now and then. Tip: If you have not accessed the app in the last 6 months ditch it!
Apps you use: To remove any old apps, simply click on Edit Settings and the press the x icon next to the app to remove it.
How people bring your info to apps they use: “People on Facebook who can see your info can bring it wit them when they use apps. This makes their experience better and more social. Use the settings below to control the categories of information that people can bring with the them when they use apps, games and websites.”
Personally, I can not see any reason why you would want you need to allow your friends to access this information to assist their gaming experience. I leave mine blank, but this is up to you. Facebook also has this to say “If you don’t want apps and websites to access other categories of information (like your friend list, gender or info you’ve made public), you can turn off all platform apps. But remember, you will not be able to use any games or apps yourself.”
Instant personalisation: “Lets you see relevant information about your friends the moment you arrive on select partner websites.” There is quite a lot of information about this on Facebook and there is a video that explains this step https://www.facebook.com/instantpersonalization/ .
Public Search: “Public search controls whether people who enter your name in a search engine will see a preview of your Faccebook Timeline. Because come search engines cache information, some of your timeline information may be available for a period of time after you turn public search off”. I would suggest against enabling public search. If you wanting a branded page with all those bells and whistles I would suggest creating a business page on Facebook.
Ads: Currently Facebook does not give third party applications or any ad networks the right to use your name of picture in an ad. However if Facebook were to change this setting without telling you this is where you would specify if that was allowed. This one should be No One! If any kind of advertising company was going to use your name or photo they should pay for it!
Step 6. Block People and Apps.
If you have wanted to block access to your profile either from an ex-boyfriend or the in-laws this is how to do it.
Add friends to your restricted list: Anyone that is placed on your restricted list will only see what you have publicly published. You can see those people you have already marked as restricted when you click edit list. To add a person to this list, simply type there name in the search bar.
Blocked users: If you are looking to block someone from being able to interact with you on your timeline then this is the way to do it. Once you block someone that person can no longer be your friend on Facebook or interact with you (except within apps and games you both use and groups your are both a member of). Here you have the option to enter a name or email address here. If you have already blocked anyone, there name will appear below this section.
Block app invites: Once you block app invites with someone, you’ll automatically ignore future app requests from that friend. To block invites from a specific friend, click the “Ignore All Invites From This Friend” link under your latest request. Here you have the option to type the name of the friend that you would like to block apps from.
Block Event Invites: Once you block event invites from someone, you’ll automatically ignore future event requests from that friend. Here you have the option to type the name of the friend that you would like to block invites from.
Block Apps: Once you block an app, it can no longer contact you or get non-public information about your through Facebook. To do this place the name of the application in the specified area.
If you should have any questions feel free to post them as a comment below.