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The Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings

by on April 27, 2020
in Facebook, Computers and Software, Computer Safety & Support, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy, Tech 101, Social Networking :: 408 comments

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The Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings

Privacy concerns and privacy controls on Facebook are ever changing. When you post a picture of your kids at a family gathering, which one of your Facebook friends can share it? What private information are those Facebook game apps collecting on you for "third-party uses"? How do you make sure that live video stream is seen only by people you choose? Every action you take on Facebook has privacy and sharing implications that need to be considered before you upload that next selfie.

Fortunately, thanks to vocal demands for transparency from both Facebook users and government regulators around the world, Facebook has been making the process of managing your privacy easier. Below is our step-by-step guide to taking full control of your Facebook privacy settings.

Facebook Privacy

The basic privacy options

If you’re not ready to dive into Facebook’s substantial settings menu, there’s a more user-friendly guide through the more vital privacy settings. Click on the question mark symbol in the top right of any Facebook page when you’re logged in, and select Privacy Checkup, an easy-to-follow walkthrough of your current settings as they pertain to Posts, Apps and Websites, and Profile.

(Alternately, for an even quicker speed-tuneup, you can adjust who can see your posts, send you friend requests, or block users by hitting the question mark symbol and selecting Privacy shortcuts.)


Starting with Posts, you can check your default sharing setting. (You'll find this under Settings > Privacy > Your Activity > Who can see future posts, if you're not going through the Privacy Checkup.) We recommend the Friends setting over the Public one. When set to Public all your posts can be seen by anyone on or off Facebook. Unless you're a celebrity or running a page that is used to generate interest in a business you run, you will likely want to keep your activity restricted to those you have Friended.

The Friend setting has a few tweaks you should be aware of as well. By clicking on the triple dots, the sharing setting button, then the More Options button, you will see the Custom option. Click on that, and you will see that you can include all your Friends while excluding the names of certain Facebook friends you don't want to see your updates. It is also important to note that the Friends of anyone tagged in your post or photos will be able to see that post unless you uncheck the option in this window.

Facebook Privacy: Check Your Status Update Settings

If you have joined any Facebook groups or made lists of Facebook friends, you can restrict the posts that way or hide your posts from those groups and lists as well. Want just your college friends to see your late night party pictures? Want to make sure your work friends don't see your selfie at the beach when you called in sick? These restrictions could come in handy both on a per post basis or as an overall option. You can even go back to change settings of previous posts by clicking on the selecting Limit Past Posts.

Finally, remember that you can change the sharing settings of any individual Facebook update by clicking on the triple dots, then sharing button to the left of the Post button.

Limit audience for a single post on Facebook


Here you can see the privacy setting on your phone number, email addresses, birthday, hometown, relationship status, and other personal details about your life. Under emails, it will show all email addresses associated with your account and who can view them. If you find an email address that you don't want associated with your account, you can delete it. After completing the Privacy Checkup, go to Settings > General > General Account Settings in Settings, you can add and remove email addresses and change your primary email address. 

For your birthday, the sharing settings are split between the day/month and the year. That way your Friends can wish you happy birthday on Facebook on your special day without necessarily knowing your exact age.

For hometown, this setting only affects what your Friends can see. Advertisers and others may still access this information, especially if you are using the Facebook app, which tracks your location automatically.

Finally, if you have set a relationship with another Facebook user, it will be shared unless you set it otherwise.

It's important to note that this is only a partial list of the information you're sharing. To see the full list, click the My About Page button, which will take you to your profile page. On there, you can review the various sections—Work and Education, Places You've Lived, Contact and Basic Info, Family and Relationships, Details About You, and Life Events —and make changes hovering over each and clicking the link that appears.

Apps and Websites

Remember the Facebook game you played too much last year? Each app on the site you agreed to install has permission to post to your Friends list unless you told it otherwise at the time you installed it. Can't remember? This part of the tool shows you each app attached to your account and what sharing permissions it has. These settings also control who can see that you have the app installed.

If you don't use the app anymore, just delete it by clicking on the box next to it and select Remove. Delete all apps that you're not actively using and review the sharing permissions of the remaining ones.

Privacy options

Privacy Settings and Tools

To get to the advanced privacy settings, click the drop down arrow in the top right on any Facebook page, click Settings, and then Privacy in the left navigation column. 

Here you can exert more control of what is being shared with whom, which is never a bad idea. You've likely gone through this at least once in the past, but it's a great idea to review your settings at least once a year.

Who can see my stuff? (Find out in Your Activity)

Who can see your future posts?

Select Edit and you can take complete control over who sees your posts. Use the predefined categories, like Friends and Friends of friends, or create a custom group. 

Review all your posts and things you're tagged in

Ever been tagged in an embarrassing photo uploaded by that distant college classmate? You can use the Activity Log page and select the Posts You're Tagged In (in the left column) and the Photos > Photos of You (also in the left column) to check out what you've been tagged in. You can then remove the tag (click the drop-down arrow on the left of the post or photo and then click on the the Remove Tag button at the top of the page) or simply click Hide so they don’t appear on your Timeline.

Limit the audience for posts you've shared with friends of friends or Public?

If you select Limit Past Posts, all your previous posts from Public or Friends of friends will revert to just Friends. But if you've tagged a Friend in one of your posts, their Friends can see that since that is the default setting when tagging someone. 

If you originally shared a post with a custom audience, like Close Friends, this tool will not change the audience for those posts.

How people find and contact you

Who can send you friend requests?

The default is Everybody, and the only other choice is Friends of Friends.

Who can see your friends list?

The default is Public, but you can customize who can see the list, including setting it to Only me.

Who can look me up?

Who can you look you up with the email address you provided?

If someone has your email address they can look you up, but only if your email is Public.  You can restrict it to Friends of Friends or just Friends if you don't want to be bothered.

Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?

Same as the email address.

Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?

Your first impulse may be to turn this off, but Facebook only allows information you've marked as Public to be shown to other search engines. They see it as a way for friends not on Facebook to find you. Whatever you choose, anyone will still be able to find your profile simply by looking up your name in Facebook search.

Access Your Information to review all of your Facebook actions

Here's where you can keep tabs on everything you've ever done on Facebook. Select Access Your Information and you'll see a large list of types of activities for easy access to see what you've done. For instance, read through all of your Comments on your posts, other people's posts, or in Groups you belong to. Scroll through Likes and Reactions to see posts, comments and Pages you've liked or reactive to and edit those actions. Review Photos and Videos you've shared or been tagged in and report the photo or remove the tag. See all of you Saved Items and read them, mark them as read or delete them. See a list of Event invitations you've received and responded to, and edit your response. 

In the section entitled Activity Log, you can scroll through all of your activities chronologically to view, edit and delete them. You can also see what the audience is for your activity, for instance is that comment seen by the person's friends, friends of friends or public. 

Manage how your Off-Facebook Activity is tracked

Manage how your Off-Facebook Activity is tracked

Facebook receives data from third parties when we visit sites or use apps that use Facebook's tools for tracking activities, including making purchases and logging in. Tracking your activity across the internet gives Facebook a fairly clear picture of your day-to-day activities, which it uses to serve ads and recommend content it thinks you’ll like. To manage your Off-Facebook Activity, select Off-Facebook Activity and then Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity. Once you've input your Facebook password, you can see a list of every site and app that’s shared information with Facebook. Click on any site and select “turn off future activity” to stop it from adding data to your Facebook profile.

Timeline and tagging Options

Facebook Timeline and Tagging Settings

In Timeline and Tagging you can control exactly who sees what on your timeline, who can post to your timeline, and who can tag you in photos and posts.

To customize your timeline settings, click on the down arrow in the far upper right corner to reveal a drop-down menu, and select Settings.

What people can see and add to my timeline

Who can post on your timeline?

It's set by default to Friends, and the only other option is to allow only yourself to post on your timeline.

Who can see what others post on your timeline?

You have flexibility with options ranging from Everyone to Friends of Friends to custom lists. Using this in conjunction with manually approving what photos and updates you've been tagged in goes a long way to keep prying eyes away from more sensitive Facebook updates.

Allow others to share your posts to their stories? 

Facebook defaults to allowing anyone to share your Public posts to their story. And if you tag someone in a post, they can share it to their story. In both cases, your full name and a link to your post will be visible for 24 hours. If you don't want others to be able to share your posts, Disable this option.

Hide comments containing certain words from your timeline

If you're concerned about certain words appearing in comments on your timeline, you can establish a word, phrase and emoji blacklist. Comments that contain banned content will only be able to be seen by the poster and their friends.

Who can see posts that you're tagged in?

Who can see posts you're tagged in on your timeline?

You have a great deal of flexibility here, with options ranging from Everyone to Friends of Friends to custom lists. Using this and the below setting in conjunction with manually approving what photos and updates you've been tagged in goes a long way to keep prying eyes away from more sensitive Facebook updates. 

When you're tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren't already in it?

This one sounds more complicated than it is. Often a Facebook friend of yours will make a post and tag you in it. The option here allows all of your Facebook friends to see an update or photo you've been tagged in by someone they aren't friends with themselves (the Friends of Friends function). You can choose to remain tagged but have none of your other Facebook friends see that update, limit who sees that update to certain groups of friends, or you can outright block certain Facebook friends altogether by using the Custom option.

Manually review other people's posts you're tagged in and tags before they appear on Facebook

Review posts you're tagged in before the post appears in your timeline

If you are concerned about getting tagged in a photo that you don't want all your friends on Facebook to see, this is the setting for you. Once enabled, you'll have to manually approve any photo or posts you are tagged in before they appear on your timeline. Note that this only affects your timeline; those updates will still appear in searches, the news feed, and other places unless you un-tag yourself. (Alternately, you can extricate yourself from incriminating posts by clicking on the offending post, then the arrow in the top right to Remove Tag.)

Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?

This applies only to photo tagging by your Facebook friends. You'll always be notified if someone who's not your friend tags you in a photo.

What do my posts look like to other people?

Review what other people see on your Timeline. 

Click View As for the perfect way to check that your mother or boss won't see what you don't want them to.

Manage blocking

Facebook Manage Blocking

If you want to take steps to keep people away from your profile, the "Blocking" is the section for you.

Restricted list

If you don't want to un-friend somebody but also don't want them to see all of your information, you can add them to the Restricted List. This means they can see your public information, but they have no way of knowing you’ve limited their view (unless they happen to see someone browsing your profile who isn't restricted).

Block users

You can also just straight up block somebody. This means this person cannot be your friend. This is an excellent setting if you have stalkers or other people consistently bothering you. Note that this does not stop them from interacting with you in apps, games, or groups you're both a part of.

Block messages

Block messages If you’re receiving unwelcome messages and video calls from someone, you can put a stop to that here – and it carries over to the Messenger app too. However, the pest in question will still be able to post to your Timeline unless you block them as a user (above). 

Block app invites

In addition to blocking and restricting people from your profile, you can also block app invitations on a user-by-user basis. So if your Aunt Jackie keeps bombarding you with annoying apps, you know what to do.

Block event invites

Tired of your nephew inviting you to his New York City raves every weekend? Typing the name of the Facebook user into this section will stop you from seeing any future event invites from that person.

Block apps

Some apps and Facebook games are great fun at first, but after a while, you want to drop them. You can remove the app or game (see the Apps you use section, below) or block the app, which means it can no longer contact you or get non-public information about you through Facebook. If you are getting emails from the app, you will have to use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.

Block pages

Is that discount fashion site you liked bombarding you with updates from its Facebook Page? Block ‘em here, where you’ll also automatically unlike and unfollow the Page. You can also block other Pages (i.e., public pages for businesses and celebrities) from commenting on or liking your posts.

Turn off face recognition

Facebook uses face-matching technology to suggest who you should tag in photos, prevent strangers from using a photo of you as their profile photo, and let you know when you might appear ina photo or video but haven't been tagged (if you're in the audience). It will only suggest people that are on the user's friends list. If you don't want to show up as an option when your friends are tagging photos, set this to No.

Public post filters and tools

Facebook follower privacy settings

If you’re lucky enough to have people hanging off your every post, you can decide to widen your net of followers here. Friends follow by default, but you can change it to the only other option - let Everyone view your public posts (you can set public-ness each time you post). 

Check on apps and websites you've logged into with Facebook

Facebook Apps and Websites

Here you can find out which apps and sites you've logged into with Facebook. The important tab is the Active tab, which means these apps and sites currently have access to whatever data you opted into providing. Click on the box beside any app or site that you are no longer interested in accessing and then click Remove. For the rest, click on View and edit for each one to check on what information you're sharing and update your sharing preferences.

If you're not interested in using Facebook to connect with outside apps and sites, you can scroll down to Preferences and click on the Edit button in the Apps, Websites and Games box to turn off access. 

Check on Instant Games you've logged into with Facebook

Like with Apps and Websites, you can see which Instant Games you're logged into with Facebook and check on what you've agreed to share.

Find out what is determining the ads you see

Facebook ad preferences

Your Interests

Facebook compiles a list of your interests based on your activity on Facebook and your engagement with Pages hosted by businesses and ads. These interests will determine what ads you see in your Newsfeed. You can delete any interests by selecting the interest and choosing Remove.

Advertisers and Businesses

Here you will find a list of advertisers who have uploaded a list with your information, who has advertised to you, whose website or app you've used, whose ads you've clicked or blocked and more. 

For businesses who uploaded a list with your information and advertised to it, you can choose to Hide all ads from this advertiser. Facebook matched your profile with the advertiser's needs and showed the ad without revealing your identity.

For businesses who have uploaded and shared a list with your information, you can see how those businesses data resulted in ads shown. While you can see the businesses the uploaded the information, you can only choose to opt out of ads from advertisers who used the uploaded data.

Advertisers using lists with your information

For businesses whom you've visited, whose website or app you may have used, and whose ads you've clicked, you can choose to hide all ads from that advertiser.

Your information

Under About you, you can turn off whether details such as your relationship status, education level or job title can be used to target advertising to you. However, this does not stop Facebook from using this information to categorize your profile for advertisers, or from ads being shown.

Under Your categories, you can find out what descriptors that your activity on Facebook and outside has revealed about you. Most of my fields were related to factual items such as “WiFi Users”, though there were a couple of interesting deductions too, such as “Potential mobile network or device change”.

You can delete them all to start fresh, or if you want no interest-based ads on or off Facebook. Just click the X on the right of each item.  

Ad Settings

Ads based on data from partners

Nearly anywhere you click online, and in some cases where you shop in stores, is used to build a profile of you that Facebook can then sell to advertisers so they can show targeted ads to you while you’re browsing Facebook. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can choose Not allowed here. You’ll still see advertising on Facebook, it just won’t be based on all those running shoes you were looking up.

Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere

Since Facebook operates its own ad network of sites, it can also target you with ads even when you’re not browsing Facebook – essentially, at any site that uses its ad technology. But the permission is trickily worded – it asks if it can use your Facebook ad preferences, so choose Yes and make sure you review the section below entitled Ad Preferences. Even if you’ve always turned off targeted ads based on browsing (above), Facebook can use information in your profile to create ad preferences.

Regardless, you’ll most likely still receive targeted ads outside Facebook that are based on your age, gender, and location, as well as browsing activity on sites that are part of other ad networks. If you want to stop seeing-based ads in general, you can opt out at the Digital Advertising Alliance - though it notes that the opt-out can only apply to participating companies.

Ads that include your social actions

If you like, comment on or share a Page (say, owned by a business or brand), Facebook can broadcast it as an advertisement to all your friends.

Facebook social ad example

This also applies to apps used (for example, Spotify) and events joined (say, if you hit attend for a café’s Veggie Fridays). You can flip the audience for all this between Only my friends and No One.

Hide ad topics

If you really don't want to see ads for specific types of products or categories of products, you can choose to hide them for six months, a year or permanently. If the topic you object to isn't one that Facebook had made available for censorship, you can click on Suggest Other Topics to let them know.

And that's Facebook Privacy in a (gigantic) nutshell

That covers your privacy setting options on Facebook. If you want to dig in even further, Facebook has a page explaining the basics of Facebook privacy tools as well as Facebook's latest data policies.

Updated on 4/27/2020

[shocked woman with laptop via Shutterstock, all other images via Facebook]

Natasha Stokes has been a technology writer for more than 7 years covering consumer tech issues, digital privacy and cybersecurity. As the features editor at TOP10VPN, she covered online censorship and surveillance that impact the lives of people around the world. Her work has also appeared on BBC Worldwide, CNN, Time and Travel+Leisure.

Discussion loading


From Anonymous on April 05, 2015 :: 3:05 am

Very useful guide, especially the part about App Privacy. Thanks for pointing that out.


privacy settings

From Anne Daft on February 14, 2017 :: 1:59 pm

I post a lot to help market shelter and rescue dogs.  I always want them to be public.  I have checked the settings multiple times and I have everything chosen as public.  However, about 50% of the posts only show up to me or a few of my friends,  If I go to the “Who can see my stuff”, it says public, but when I to the section that provides a “view of what people see when they look at my timeline”.....half of the posts do not show up.  I see them, but 90% of my friends or public do NOT. Reminder:  I have my privacy settings set to allow Public….all. It’s very frustrating and I have checked the settings a dozen times. Can anyone help me figure out what I’m doing wrong??  Thanks.


Check your individual post settings

From Josh Kirschner on February 14, 2017 :: 6:55 pm

If you’re not seeing the posts in your public view of your timeline, make double sure that the individual posts are set to “Public”. However, even if everything is set to Public, Facebook won’t show all of you posts, even to your friends. The Facebook algorithms only show a subset of your posts based on how “interesting” it thinks they are likely to be. The more people have interacted with your posts in the past, and the more engagement a post gets, the more likely is to get shown.



From Derek on March 06, 2019 :: 11:39 am

What’s the point of posting or not posting if the people you were intending on seeing it, may or may not see it, depending on who Facebook decides can see what you posted?

Who can contact me?

From Masum Billah on February 28, 2017 :: 5:36 pm

Hello! My name is masum billah and I am Bangladeshi . If you help me I will be grateful to you. My problem is. How do I stop frind request?  Thank you.


Too late

From Tom on April 02, 2018 :: 6:30 pm

Thank you for the comprehensive security guide. Unfortunately, it is too late for me since deactivated my FB acct over a week age with expexctations of my acct being terminated by FB after two weeks. After much deliberation I decided to stop using FB due to so many fake news stories,  negative over argumentative name calling trolls who could not have an adult conversation without abrasive ad hominem names and labels. Then the breach deliberate/apathetic breach was allowed to happen being the last straw. I choose to be unplugged because FB was becoming too stressful and no longer fun.


Private posts to friend

From Johnson Harvey on November 11, 2019 :: 10:07 pm

post on a friend and make it private that only he can see it.



From Cameron Collins on August 13, 2020 :: 1:00 pm

When you comment on a post of another, how do you make your profile private so those that are not your friends cannot go to troll your page? I am tired of not being able to make my profile private from people who are not my friends.


Profile information is always public

From Josh Kirschner on August 14, 2020 :: 1:26 am

Profile information is always public, by design. Otherwise, there would be no way to find your friends to friend them. But you can control who can post to your timeline, and you can block people on an individual basis to hide your profile from them entirely.


Thanking you and

From Sharon on June 07, 2015 :: 12:38 pm

Thank you for this information.  Do you really answer questions, please?



From Josh Kirschner on June 08, 2015 :: 10:19 am

Yes, we do. grin


sharing posts

From David Coleman on August 24, 2015 :: 8:10 pm

I posted something to someones business page, but others don’t seem to be able to share it. How do I change that?


settings for posting on friends timeline

From Cindy paine on June 08, 2017 :: 9:37 am

I tried to post on friends timeline who asked me to and I got blocked on that and others. What settings should I have to post on friends and they can share it?


From Derek on March 06, 2019 :: 11:43 am

Then answer them!!!!!!!!


Quick question

From Courtney on June 15, 2015 :: 2:46 am

Do you know how I can stop my friends from seeing my posts to business pages in their own news feeds?


Don't believe you can

From Josh Kirschner on June 18, 2015 :: 11:06 am

Since you don’t control the privacy settings on business pages you don’t control, you can’t limit whether Facebook chooses to show those posts to your friends. However, if your friends use the dropdown in the news feed posts to “Hide all from [name of business page]”, that should stop them from seeing it in the future.


Activity log

From Debra perry on November 22, 2017 :: 9:04 am

Hi Josh
Sorry to bother you. I’m new to Facebook. On my activity log where a friend has waved to me ...underneath in light grey print it has the setting sign and says hidden from timeline, I have never hidden this friend and am happy to let him see my stuff. Does it mean I’m hidden from his timeline



In your timeline settings

From Josh Kirschner on November 25, 2017 :: 1:17 pm

Hi Debra,

In your Timeline and Tagging Settings on Facebook, there is an option to review posts you’re tagged in before they appear in your Timeline. If you have that on (and you probably should to control what appears), you’ll need to review and manually approve before it shows up.


whose settings?

From s. on June 17, 2015 :: 11:59 pm

Recently someone saw a status I posted, even though I did not include them in the list of people I wanted to be able to see the post. He saw it because he is friends with one of the approved people who commented on my post, and it showed up as “[name] commented on a post” in the unapproved person’s feed. Is there a way to ensure that other people’s comments on my posts are treated with MY privacy settings, and not the commenters’ settings? Thanks!


Are you sure you didn't tag it with 'Friends of friends"

From Josh Kirschner on June 18, 2015 :: 11:09 am

WHat privacy setting did you use for the post? Are you sure it wasn’t set for “Friends of friends” or “Public”?

Also, if you tagged someone in a post, they will be able to see it, even if they are not included in the privacy settings.


Who can see my response?

From Jeani on December 29, 2016 :: 3:45 pm

My friends can see when I respond to someone else’s post, even when they are not friends with each other. Like “[name] commented on a post” from previous post. I have noticed that some of my friends can even comment on another (not mutual) friend’s post after I have commented. Can I stop that?


Depends on privacy settings of post

From Josh Kirschner on December 29, 2016 :: 4:56 pm

If the person who made the post set the privacy to Public or Friends of Friends, then your friends may get a notification when you comment on it. And no, you can’t stop that from happening.

I had the same issue

From up on January 12, 2019 :: 9:11 am

I posted some pics of my child and tagged the people who were with us when the pics were taken (this was a year ago).  Just yesterday I see a person I don’t know “Liking” all my kid’s photos.  This freaked me out.  I went to the post & noticed I had indeed used a custom setting “Friends” and had unchecked the box allowing friends of those tagged from viewing before posting.  What went wrong here? I’m really freaking out, some of my friends & family use the same FB page for business & pleasure meaning they, themselves don’t know who is viewing their posts or posts they are tagged in.  HELP.


Extremely Helpful

From John Bother on June 18, 2015 :: 7:17 am

I have tried many of the site for this information but after lots of searching i was still not able to collect the comprehensive help on this problem. Your page did it very amazingly and the information here was stunning. Thanks a lot for sharing.


Privacy Loophole?

From Ben on July 06, 2015 :: 8:42 pm

When posting pictures, if I without the privacy to a select group of friends, yet select it as viewable to friends of those tagged, and some of those on my restricted list are friends of those tagged, will those people be able to see the pictures?



I'm not sure I fully understand your question, but think "yes"

From Josh Kirschner on July 10, 2015 :: 1:39 pm

If I understand correctly what you’re asking, you want to post a photo that is set to only be seen by a specific group of friends. But, if you tag your friends, will their friends be able to see the photo, too?

The answer is “yes”. If you tag someone in a photo then their friends will be able to see that photo.

According to Facebook, if you don’t want your photo, post or other content to be visible to the friends of the person tagged, you can turn this setting off for each post when you post it. To do this, click the audience selector next to the story, select Custom, and uncheck the Friends of those tagged box.



From Ben on July 10, 2015 :: 4:32 pm

Thanks for your response—I understand that, but let’s say some of the friends of those you tag in your picture are on your limited profile view.  Will those people still be able to view the picture even if you restrict them, because you set the photo visible to friends of those tagged and they are a friend of a tag?



Friend suggestions and phone contacts

From Ray on July 09, 2015 :: 10:22 pm

I know Facebook is using my contacts email addresses and phone numbers to suggest friends despite having set every privacy setting possible. I’ve explicitly removed contacts and set it not to import them. The proof came today when I added a coworkers cell and personal email and then called and emailed them. Then lo and behold, they appeared as a suggested friend.

Any suggestions?


Check this setting in the Facebook app

From Josh Kirschner on July 10, 2015 :: 1:34 pm

In the Facebook app on your phone, there is a setting called “Continuous Contacts Uploads”. See if that is set to Off. Otherwise Facebook will continuously upload your address book and suggest them as Facebook friends.


no privacy in fb

From George on April 02, 2016 :: 6:09 pm

my continue contact upload is off but again i see unwanted contacts in suggest friends in my fb account. plz help me thanx


I want to turn off

From faith mcleod on January 29, 2017 :: 11:24 am

I want to turn off the time ive been away from facebook/messanger I dont want anyone knowing that im actually on facebook/messanger how do I do this?


Suggested Friends

From Ivy on July 27, 2015 :: 1:17 pm

Your guide has been tremendously helpful, thank you for putting it together and making it public.

My question relates to the one from Ray. Is there a privacy setting I can select to prevent me from appearing as a ‘suggested friend’ in non-friend’s feed? This is particularly frustrating as I try to keep my FB account siloed and personal from my professional contacts.



Unfortunately, no.

From Josh Kirschner on July 30, 2015 :: 10:12 am

Facebook doesn’t give you the ability to stop your name from appearing in “suggested friends” lists. The best you can do is limit who can send you friend requests to “friends of friends” in your privacy settings (far from ideal, I know).

That said, as long as you keep your privacy settings as “friends” for all your posts, no one will be able to see anything on your timeline unless you have friended them.


keeping things separate

From mark on July 30, 2015 :: 3:33 am

I have a friend who is adopted.

He knows his birth siblings and birth mother and is friends with them on facebook.  His adoptive parents want to join facebook but are relying upon my friend (and I) to get them on as they aren’t very tech savvy.  The problem is that the adoptive parents know the names of the members of the birth family. 

We’re trying to figure out how to shield the birth family from the adoptive family because if the adoptive family finds out they will be crushed and their relationship with my friend will be destroyed. 

I’ve gone through everything and just can’t find out how to do the above.  My friend keeps saying, “There’s got to be a way,” and I keep responding, “I don’t think so.” 

What do you say?


Nearly impossible to do completely

From Josh Kirschner on July 30, 2015 :: 10:21 am

There are so many ways that someone can stumble on a connection through Facebook - from viewing friends list, to seeing suggested friends, to seeing items other have posted in your timeline, or photos where you’ve been tagged - that trying to maintain two separate groups of friends who never cross will be nearly impossible.

That said, I’m surprised that this is as big an issue an issue as your friend thinks it is. It’s perfectly natural for someone who is adopted to want to know more about their birth families. He’s obviously been friends with his birth family for some time and that hasn’t impacted his relationship with his adoptive parents. They raised him and, presumably, he loves them as though they were his natural parents. I didn’t love my first child less, when I had my second and third kids.

This sounds like a situation where the solution may lie in open communication, not technology.


Thanks for getting back, Josh!

From Mark on September 08, 2015 :: 1:32 am

Thanks for getting back, Josh!  I actually agree with you - alas technology can’t solve everything.



From Stuart B on August 03, 2015 :: 5:04 am

Recently, but only on my mobile devices, I’ve been bombarded by “suggested apps/pages/posts” I see nearly as many of these as I do friends posts. My family and friends aren’t having this problem - just me! I’ve tried reporting as spam/harassment etc to FB but they still keeps showing.

I’ve followed your steps and deleted all of my “liked” pages, time will tell if this works.

Any help or ideas would be most welcome.




I get the same thing.

From Josh Kirschner on August 03, 2015 :: 12:40 pm

Yep, lots of suggested whatever ads on mobile (but not nearly as many online, oddly). You’re already taking the right steps to delete your liked pages and interests, because that’s what many advertisers use to target their messages, but there’s no way to eliminate it completely. You could try setting your birth year to the 1800s in your profile, so you won’t be picked up by any advertisers targeting by age (except those promoting products for centenarians).


Prevent tag removal

From Nathan Airchime on August 04, 2015 :: 7:04 am

How do I prevent a friend from removing my tag of him from my post? His girlfriend keeps removing my tags of him. I want to prevent anyone from removing my tags of them from my posts. How do I do this?


You can't

From Josh Kirschner on August 04, 2015 :: 8:09 am

You have control over where you are tagged on Facebook to help protect your privacy. Others can’t force you to be tagged if you don’t want to be.


Liking posts is causing problems.

From Porshe on August 04, 2015 :: 1:19 pm

Lately I’ve noticed that things other people have pressed like on has been popping up on my FB. And the things I press like on have been popping up on my friends and families facebook, is there any way to restrict that? I will sometimes thumns up things that I wouldn’t want my friends and family to see, like political views Ect. Please help!


Welcome to Facebook.

From Josh Kirschner on August 04, 2015 :: 3:33 pm

You actually can edit the privacy settings for your likes, but not through your Privacy Settings (because that would be too obvious).

Instead, go to your Timeline and scroll down to where your likes are (or, using the menu at the top of your Timeline, click More and then Likes). You’ll see a little edit button in the top right corner - click that and select Edit Privacy. From there, you can edit the privacy settings for each category of your Likes, but not for individual likes. And, since you don’t know what category Facebook is assigning to a particular page, you can’t be sure which privacy settings will apply to it.

Therefore, if there are things you would rather others not see, it’s safest just not to Like them.


Editing Privacy of Your LIkes

From Maria on April 02, 2017 :: 8:21 pm

Hi, I wanted to set up a custom setting under “Edit Privacy of Likes”. When I select to set up the Custom setting I see the note “Anyone tagged will be able to see this post”... does that mean when I like a page it will tag those people or ONLY the people that I add to this custom setting will see this on their timeline AS WELL as anyone I chose to tag? Thank you!


Let me amend that...

From Josh Kirschner on August 04, 2015 :: 3:38 pm

What I described is how to set privacy settings for pages you Like. For posts you Like, that’s a different story. Those privacy settings are determined by the poster, not the Liker. So if you have mutual friends or the post is set to Public, others you know could see your Like, too. There is no way to prevent this other than not Liking.


Privacy when somene posts on my wall

From Sonia on August 04, 2015 :: 7:22 pm

Hi, iI have set the option to REVIEW when others post on my timeline or tag me in photod, and it generaly works, the problem was that today a friend shared on my wall an old post that Facebook told her was from a year ago that we shared together and I WAS NOT GIVEN THE OPTION TO REVIEW this post… Since it is already on my wall for all my friends to see I cannot simply hide it, or else she might feel hurt.

I would simply like to change THIS particulary Post so that ONLY SHE and I can see it on my wall, but to hide it from everyone else, the same way I can to when I publish my own posts.

Any ideas?


You can't for individual posts from others on your timeline

From Josh Kirschner on August 05, 2015 :: 10:07 am

You can’t change the privacy settings for individual posts from others - it’s either on your timeline or not and uses your timeline privacy settings. But if you don’t want others to see it, hide it from your timeline. She didn’t ask you before she posted it, you don’t need to feel bad for removing it.


Customized posts to FB

From Ctrem on August 07, 2015 :: 6:16 pm

If you had previous posts using custom settings, but then removed the customization for your most recent post, can those people (whom you had previously not allowed to see those customized posts) now see your old posts?


Limited Posting

From Michael Pelletier on August 12, 2015 :: 12:45 pm

Your article touches on limited posting seemingly for the general public but I have used it for specific people in the past and I can not find it now to remove it .

I started recently using the new restricted or public option and one of the people who I have put on this older limited viewing of posts are not seeing my public posts in their feed but only in their notifications , it would be nice if I could reverse that old setting so I could manage with the restricted or public option


How To Hide Family Members in "about"

From Frank R Gabelman on August 12, 2015 :: 6:03 pm

I can’t seem to find how to hide my family members in the “about” section on Facebook. There seems to be people out there that will contact family members as retaliation for disagreeing in a comment section on the web. Thanks.


You can change privacy for individual relationships

From Josh Kirschner on August 12, 2015 :: 7:06 pm

You can’t change your privacy settings for Family & Relationships as a whole, but you can change it for individual relationships. Go to the Family & Relationships section of your profile. Highlight a specific relationship with your mouse, ad you’ll see an edit button appear in the upper right corner. Click on that and you can save the privacy settings for that relationship.

FWIW, I’ve never heard of someone contacting family members in retaliation for comments on the web, but if that’s a concern for you, that’s how you fix it.


RE: You can change privacy for individual relationships

From Frank R Gabelman on August 21, 2015 :: 6:27 pm

Thanks, Josh! I really appreciate you getting back with me. Your advice certainly did the trick.


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