Facebook Privacy Overview

DISCLAIMER: This is just a guide, not a fool-proof solution for everyone. My privacy settings and the suggestions I make, may not suit everyone. So, please use this information with caution.

Facebook is well-known for changing their privacy settings on a regular basis and unless we the users pay attention, it is quite easy for us to forget that our pictures and information are up for grabs to anyone on Facebook, unless we spend some time and make the effort to go through and customise our privacy settings. My attempt here is to help you do just that and to give you a rough idea on how to secure the information and content you post on your Facebook account.

Click on the thumbnail images to see the big picture 🙂


Log in to your Facebook account. Then, click the arrow on the top right and select “Privacy Settings” from the menu.


Control Privacy When You Post

This is just Facebook letting you know that when you post anything (status update, picture, link etc), you can individually control the privacy for that item by selecting “Custom” and making the necessary changes.


Control Your Default Privacy

*Public – Not my favorite. Shouldn’t be yours either.

*Friends – Only your Facebook friends can see what you post.

*Custom – If you want to allow some people and restrict others. See below for further explanation.

If you select “Custom”, you are presented with this window.

If you click on the “These people or lists” drop down, you are presented with a few choices:

* Friends of Friends – Friends of your Facebook friends can see your stuff.

* Friends – Only your friends can see your stuff.

* Specific People or Lists – If you select this option, it will then allow you to enter individual names and list you have created, ALLOWING access to only those individuals or people in the selected lists.If you click in “Hide this from” box, you can enter individual names or lists you have created, PREVENTING them from accessing your information. In this case, I have entered the “Restricted” list as an example. This means that everyone who is in my Restricted list will NOT have access to my posts.

Once you are done, click “Save Changes” to return to the main settings page.


How You Connect

Click on “Edit Settings”

My screenshot shows you what you will see if you were to click on each of the drop downs against the items here.

In my case, I have allowed “Everyone” to look up my profile, to send me Facebook friend requests and messages. As you can see, who you can allow to do these things is not consistent. Select the appropriate group as per your preference.

The last setting “Who can see Wall posts by others on your profile?” is the only one that allows for any customisation. Here, I have allowed my Friends to see posts by others on my wall. If you only want certain people to have that permission and want to deny other people or groups, then you would select the “Custom” option.

Once you are done, click “Done” to return to the main settings page.


How Tags Work

Click on “Edit Settings”

Except for “Maximum Profile Visibility”, all other settings only has an On or Off option.

*Profile Review – If someone tags you in anything they post, you can check it before approving it to appear on your profile. I suggest “On”.

*Tag Review – If someone tags you in something on your wall, you can approve it before it’s accepted. I suggest “On”.

*Maximum Profile Visibility – Who can see posts that you are tagged in. In my case, I have allowed “Friends”. As you can see, this setting allows you to customise, like some of the other sections.

*Tag Suggestions – If a friend uploads a picture and Facebook recognizes you in it, this setting can be used to allow or deny Facebook to suggest your name. I suggest “Off”.

* Friends Can Check You Into Places – Specific to those who use mobiles. Can allow or deny friends to check you in when they are checking themselves into a location. I have allowed it. Unless you go places you are not supposed to, this shouldn’t be a big deal for you.


Apps and Websites

Click on “Edit Settings”

*Apps you use – This may not be what your page looks like. But as you can see, these are apps and third-party sites that I have ALLOWED access to my Facebook information. If you click “Edit Settings”, you can see what each of these apps/sites have access to and you can limit each one individually, according to your preference. Except for the “Required” information, I normally remove everything else. Your case may be different.

*How people bring your info to apps they use – See below.

*Instant personalization – “Edit Settings” will allow you to either “Enable” or “Disable” access to Facebook partner sites. Not much customisation available on the Facebook end, though it says that each of the partner sites would allow you to turn personalization on or off. I have it enabled in my case. Thus far, it hasn’t caused my any grief. Not to say it could change tomorrow. Use with caution.

*Public search – Do you want people to see a preview of your FB profile when they search your name in Google or Bing or Yahoo? If not, you may want to “Disable” this setting. I have it enabled.Click on “Back to Privacy” to go to the main settings page.


Clicking on “Edit Settings” next to “How people bring your info to apps they use” section will give you this window. From my understanding, this basically is where you decide what access your friends have to your information, outside of Facebook.With all the sharing and collaboration going on between various sites and services, it’s quite important that you are careful with what you share outside of Facebook.In my case, I have only allowed limited access to my information. Your preferences will depend on what you decide to share.

Click “Save Changes” to go back to the “Apps, Games and Websites” section.


Limit the Audience for Past Posts

Click on “Manage Past Post Visibility”

Clicking on “Limit Old Posts” will make all old posts visible to your “Friends” group.Now, what Facebook classifies as “Old Posts” may very well be every post prior to the very second you click this button. I don’t know, so be careful!

Clicking “Limit Old Posts” or “Cancel” will take you to the main settings page.


Blocked People and Apps

Click on “Manage Blocking”

* Add friends to your Restricted list – Don’t want some of your friends to see certain information on your Facebook profile? Click on “Edit List” and add them to the “Restricted” list. Simply adding them to this list will not do the trick. You have to go over all the previous sections we have covered and choose the “Custom” option where possible and enter “Restricted” in the “Hide this from” box!

*Block users – Enter names and email addresses of those you don’t want to hear from.

*Block app invites – Not a huge fan of receiving those games/apps invite from your friends? Add their names here and you will no longer get any app/game invites from them.

*Block event invites – Same as above, except for blocking event invites from friends whose name you enter here.

*Blocked apps – Block apps from pestering you. Yes, I am not a fan of FarmVille, so I have blocked it. To block a certain app, you have to go the app’s FB page and click on “Block App” link on the left.

That’s it! I hope this guide will prove useful to at least some of you out there.

If you have any questions or comments or feedback, please use the “Contact Me” form to get in touch with me!

A happy and wonderful 2012 to you all!


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