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The Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings

by on July 08, 2021
in Facebook, Computers and Software, Computer Safety & Support, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy, Tech 101, Social Networking :: 445 comments

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Privacy issues and privacy controls on Facebook are ever-changing, and I've read through hundreds of comments and emails from our readers who are confused about how to keep their information private and what specific Facebook privacy settings actually do.

For example, 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 for "third-party uses"? How do you make sure that your live video stream is seen only by people you choose?

Every action you take on Facebook has privacy and sharing implications that you need to consider before uploading that next selfie. However, it takes a lot of time to check all of your Facebook settings and, even then, it's not always clear what the right choices are to ensure your privacy is protected.

I just went through a complete review of every Facebook privacy setting currently available (Facebook is constantly making changes and I will continue to update this article). My recommendation for most people is to start with Facebook's "Privacy Checkup", which covers many of the key areas. In this guide, I will walk you through how to do the Privacy Checkup, and break it down setting-by-setting to make it easy for you to decide what you should change. I also have direct links to "hidden" Facebook settings that aren't part of the standard Checkup but have important privacy implications.  

Screenshot of Facebook Privacy Checkup main page with tiles for Who can see what you share, How to keep your account secure, How people can find you on Facebook, Your data settings on Facebook, Your ad preferences

To get to Facebook's Privacy Checkup, open the menu (dropdown arrow on laptops or triple bars in the mobile app), select "Settings & Privacy," and then select "Privacy Checkup" (for laptops) or "Privacy Shortcuts" and then "Privacy Checkup" (in the mobile app). Here, you can find an easy-to-follow walkthrough of your current settings as they pertain to:

  • Who can see what you share
  • How to keep your account secure
  • How people can find you on Facebook
  • Your data settings on Facebook
  • Your ad preferences on Facebook

Who can see what you share on Facebook

In this section, you can check your profile information, settings for Posts and Stories, and settings for blocking people. You can limit your audience to just you, your Facebook Friends or Custom lists that you create. For instance, you can create a family list, acquaintances list, or work list. Go to facebook.com/friends and click on Custom Lists to get started.

Screenshot of Facebook's Friends Custom Lists page showing Restricted, Acquaintances and Close Friends as lists. On the right is a Family custom list with images of people below.

Choose who sees your profile information

Here you can see the privacy settings – who can view your information – for your phone number, email addresses, birthday, hometown, relationship status, and other personal details about your life.

Set email addresses associated with your Facebook account

Under emails, it will show all email addresses associated with your account and who can view them. Email addresses are important because you can use any of them to log into your account with your Facebook password. Be careful to remove any old email address or ones where you're not using secure passwords, because if that email address is hacked it could compromise your Facebook account, as well.

For email addresses that you still have but don't others to use or see, you can limit the audience to “Only me.” If you find an email address that you don't want to be associated with your account, you can't delete it through Facebook's Privacy Checkup. If you want to delete an email, go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=account. Under General Account Settings, clicking on Contact will reveal a list of email addresses that you can make your primary email or remove.

Set your birthday and who can see it on Facebook

For your birthday, you can choose to share your whole birthday or just the month and day. That way, your Friends can wish you a happy birthday on Facebook on your special day without necessarily knowing your exact age. Birthdays are sometimes used as a security verification for various services, so you want to keep it as protected as possible.

You can also set your birthday by going to go to your profile page (you can access it by clicking on your name in the menu bar) and clicking on "About." In the "Contact and Basic Info" section, you can change the settings for your birthday.

Set your hometown and current city on Facebook

For your 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.

You can also set your hometown and current city by going to go to your profile page (you can access it by clicking on your name in the menu bar) and clicking on "About." In the "Overview" section, you can change the settings for your hometown and current city.

Set your relationship status on Facebook

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

You can also set your relationship status by going to go to your profile page (you can access it by clicking on your name in the menu bar) and clicking on "About." In the "Overview" section, you can change the settings for your relationship status.

Set your work history and where you went to school

You can choose to share your work history and where you went to high school, college, and graduate school. Each of these entries has its own audience setting from "Only me" up to including "Everyone." This setting may help old friends find you, it also may be used for targeted advertising.

You can also set your work history and where you went to school by going to go to your profile page (you can access it by clicking on your name in the menu bar) and clicking on "About." In the "Work and Education" section, you can change the settings for your work history and where you went to school.

Choose who can see your friends list on your profile page

If you want to limit who can see your list of Facebook Friends, you can set your audience from "Only me" up to including "Everyone." Since friend lists can be used for phishing and to create fake profiles, I highly recommend setting this to Friends only.

You can also choose who can see your friends list on your profile page by going directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy and you'll find the option in the "How People Find and Contact You" section. 

Choose who can see the people, Pages, and lists you follow

Facebook lumps people, Pages, and lists that you follow together. So it's all people, Pages, and lists or nothing. You can set your audience from "Only me" up to including "Everyone." Consider whether there are any sensitive Pages you follow that you wouldn't want the world to know about.

You can choose who can see the people, Pages, and lists you follow by going directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy and you'll find the option in the "Your Activity" section.

See how other people view your Facebook profile page

If you're curious about what your Facebook profile looks like to other people, you can go to your profile page (you can access it by clicking on your name in the menu bar) and click on the triple dots next to the "Edit Profile" button and select "View As."

Screenshot of Facebook profile page. You see in the top menu bar the person's name pointed out. Below on the right you see three dots pointed out with a drop-down menu with View as (pointed out), Search Profile, Account Status, Archive, Activity Log and Profile and Tagging Settings.

Choose who can comment on your public profile pictures and other public profile information

When you post a new profile picture or change other information that you've made available to "Everyone," you can still limit who can like or comment. This setting is not available through Privacy Checkup. If you want to limit what random people can say on your profile pictures, go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=followers, and you can select "Friends," "Friends of Friends," or "Everyone."

Add more information to your Facebook profile page

To add more information to your Facebook profile page, go to your profile page (you can access it by clicking on your name in the menu bar). In the About tab, you'll see all of the categories of information that you can add your religious views, political views, your social channels, websites, primary language, nickname, birth name, and more. For each piece of information, you can see your audience from "Only Me" up to including "Everyone." Most of this stuff seems to serve little purpose except for use in targeted advertising.

Choose your audience for Posts and Stories

In this section, you can select who can read your future posts and stories, as well as read your prior posts on Facebook.

Choose who can view your future posts

"Future Posts" is where you set your default audience for your regular posts, including text posts, photos, and videos. These are the normal Facebook options for "Friends," "Friends of Friends," "Everyone," or "Custom." My advice is to keep it to Friends unless you are trying to promote yourself to everyone or you have a specific need for a Custom setting (e.g., to exclude a toxic friend or relative).

You can choose who can see your future posts by going directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy and you'll find the option in the "Your Activity" section.

You can always override your default setting for a specific post at the time you create it by clicking on the downward caret next to the audience and selecting a new one.

Choose who can comment on your public posts

When you create a public post, everyone on Facebook can see it. However, you can limit who gets to comment on your public posts. This is not available through Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=followers, and you can select "Friends," "Friends of Friends," or "Everyone."

Choose additional people who can see a post you are tagged in

If someone tags you in a post, you can choose whether to allow additional people to view the post (e.g., your Facebook Friends) if they aren't already in the post's audience. You can also control how these posts appear on your Facebook profile.

You can choose who can see posts you're tagged in by going directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline and you'll find the option in the "Tagging" section.

Choose who can post on your profile

You can limit the people who can post on your profile page from "Only me" up to including "Everyone." This option is not available through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline, and you'll find this option in the Viewing and Sharing section. My advice is to keep it to Friends or Friend of Friends, unless you enjoy random comments from strangers.

Choose to hide comments with specific words on your profile page

If you're concerned about crude language appearing on your profile page, you can add up to 1,000 keywords that will cause a post to be hidden. The post will still remain visible to the people who posted and their Facebook Friends. This option is not available through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline, and you'll find this option in the Viewing and Sharing section. Though you're probably better off just limiting who can post to your profile above to Friends (unless your friends are the problem!)

Choose who can see what others post on your profile page

You may not want everyone to see what other people are posting on your profile page. You can change the audience from "Only me" up to including "Everyone." This option is not available through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline, and you'll find this option in the Viewing and Sharing section.

When you are tagged in a post created by someone else, choose who can see the post

If you are tagged in a post by someone on Facebook, some of your Facebook friends may not see the post because they aren't in the audience designated by the person who created the post. You can choose to make posts that you are tagged in visible to all of your Facebook Friends or a custom group of your Friends. Or, you can choose not to expand the audience by selecting "Only me." This option is not available through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline, and you'll find the option in the Tagging section.

Choose to review posts you're tagged in before they appear on your profile

If you are tagged in a post, the post defaults to automatically showing up on your Timeline. I recommend you choose the setting to review the posts before they appear. This is not available through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline, and you'll find the option in the Reviewing section.

Find and remove old posts from your Timeline that you were tagged in

Ever been tagged in an embarrassing photo from two decades ago uploaded by that old college classmate? You can remove these tagged items, but not through the Privacy Checkup. Go to your profile page (you can access it by clicking on your name in the menu bar) and click on Manage Posts.

Screenshot of Facebook profile page. On the right side, you see from the top: Edit cover Photo, Edit Profile, Life Event and then Manage Posts, which is pointed out.

In the box that pops up, click on Filters. In the Post Filters box, you can select "only show posts I'm tagged in." You can choose to hide the posts or remove the posts. First, go through and select the posts where you want to remove yourself (untag yourself), click "Next," and select "Remove Tags." Then go through and select the posts that you want to be able to view but don't want others to see in your Timeline, click Next, and then select "Hide Posts."

Choose to review tags people add to your posts before they appear on Facebook

Posting an old photo from a school or work outing? Once you share it, your Facebook Friends may want to tag more people in the photo. By default, your Facebook Friends can add tags. However, you can choose to review these tags before they appear on your post. This option is not available through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline, and you'll find the option in the Reviewing section.

Choose who can view old posts

The setting for "Limit Past Posts" only applies to Public posts. You can choose to restrict the audience to only Friends or Friends of friends. When you limit your past posts here, it will apply to ALL of your public posts. We recommend the Friends setting over the Public one. When set to Public, all of 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 that you run, you will likely want to keep your activity restricted to those you have Friended. Keep in mind that anyone who is tagged in your posts and their Facebook friends may still be able to view these posts.

You can choose who can view old posts by going directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy and clicking on "Limit Past Posts" in the "Your Activity" section.

Choosing an audience for a single old post

If you want to change the audience for specific posts, you'll have to go into each post individually to change it. 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.

Choose who can view your Stories

For "Stories," which are visible for 24 hours, you can limit your audience to your Facebook Friends or create a custom list of people with whom you want to share your stories. You can only set your default story audience within the Privacy Checkup. For individual stories, click on the cog next to "Your Story" when you create a story and you'll find the option to change your story audience for that story.

Choose whether you will allow others to share your posts to their Stories

If you tag someone in any post, that person can share it to their Story, along with your full name and a link to your post. You can disable this feature, but not through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=timeline, and you'll find this option in the Viewing and Sharing section.

Choose whether you will allow others to share your public Stories to their own Story

If your Story is public, you can allow others to share your Story to their own Story, along with your full name and a link to your original Story. You cannot turn off this feature through Privacy Checkup. Go to  www.facebook.com/settings?tab=stories to make your choice.

Choose whether you will allow others to share your stories if you tag them

If you tag someone in your Story, that person can share your Story, along with your full name and a link to your original Story. You cannot turn off this feature through Privacy Checkup. Go to  www.facebook.com/settings?tab=stories to make your choice.

Block a person from interacting with you on Facebook

Blocking a person means that you are invisible to that person on Facebook. So if a mutual Friend tags you in a post, that person won't see the post. If you comment on a mutual Friend's post, that person won't see the comment. There are a few exceptions. If you both use a Facebook app or game or if you've both joined a group, the blocked person could see you. And, the person you block won't disappear entirely from your view. If a mutual Friend posts a photo and tags the blocked person, you may still see it on your Friend's timeline. 

To block someone, go directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=blocking and add their name in the "Block users" section. 

Block just messages and video calls

If you just want to stop a person from sending you messages or attempting to connect via a video call in Messenger, you can go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=blocking and add their name in the "Block messages" box.

Block just app invites

If you just want to stop a person from sending invitations to try an app (occurs when one of your friends is trying to get free stuff in a game), you can go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=blocking and add their name in the "Block app invites" box.

Block just event invites

If you just want to stop a person from sending event invitations, you can go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=blocking and add their name in the "Block event invites" box.

Block apps

If you want an app to stop contacting you and prevent the app from obtaining non-public information about you through Facebook, you can go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=blocking and add the name of the app in the "Block apps" box.

Block Pages

If you want a Page to stop interacting with your posts or be able to like or reply to your comments, you can go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=blocking and add the name of the Page in the "Block Pages" box. You will be unable to post to the Page's Timeline or message the Page. And, if you currently like the Page, blocking the Page will automatically unlike and unfollow the Page.

How to keep your account secure

In this section, you can change your password, turn on two-factor authentication, and get alerts when there is an unrecognized login to your account. If you already have two-factor authentication turned on and alerts are set for unrecognized logins, you'll receive the message that "You're all set. No security actions are recommended at this time."

Use a strong password

Do you have a strong password for your Facebook account – one that is unique to Facebook and at least 12 characters, including upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters? If the answer is no, you should consider upgrading to a strong password. To ensure you remember your new strong password and to make it easier to use strong passwords going forward, we recommend using a password manager. Our current Techlicious Top Pick for the best password manager is Dashlane. We're also fans (and users) of 1Password, as well.

Turn on two-factor authentication

A strong password is essential, but that's not enough if it's compromised in a data breach or you are tricked into giving it away in a Facebook credentials phishing attack. That's where two-factor authentication comes in. When two-factor authentication is turned on, anyone trying to log into your account from a new device or browser would need to provide a one-time-use code delivered via an app, text message, or email. I highly recommend turning on two-factor authentication. 

You can also go directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security and find the option to turn on two-factor authentication in the "Two-Factor Authentication" section.

You should also check the list of devices and browsers that don't require a code when you log in to ensure there aren't any of your old devices on the list. You can't check this through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security, and in the Two-Factor Authentication box, click on "View" next to "Authorized Logins."

Receive alerts when there is an unrecognized login to your Facebook account

Login alerts can be sent any time that you log into your account from a device or browser that you don't usually use. I highly recommend turning on alerts. You can choose to have alerts sent via Facebook, Messenger, email, or any combination of these methods.

You can go directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security, and click on "Edit" next to "Get alerts about unrecognized logins" in the "Setting Up Extra Security" section.

You can see where you're logged into Facebook – the device and physical location – by going to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security and checking the box entitled "Where You're Logged In." If you see a suspicious login, you can click on the triple dots next to it and "Log Out" that device.

How people can find you on Facebook

This section walks you through the ways that you can limit how people can find you through search engines (like Google), or with your phone number, email or name on through Facebook.

Choose who can send you a Friend request

You have two options for limiting who can send you a Friend request: Everyone or Friends of friends. Unless you're being inundated with requests or don't want to be found, I recommend leaving the setting on Everyone so legitimate people who want to connect can.

You can access this directly by going to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy and you'll find the option in the "How People Find and Contact You" section.

Choose whether people can use your phone number or email to find you

People can look you up on Facebook with your phone number or email address, even if you have them hidden on your profile. This method make it easy for people you know to find you, especially if you have a common name on Facebook, like Jane Smith. Have the settings option set to "Everyone" or "Friends of Friends" if you want people to find you using your email address or phone number. Or, you can also choose to fully hide your email addresses or phone numbers by selecting "Only me" as the audience. The settings you choose apply to all of your phone numbers or all of your email addresses.

You can access this directly by going to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy and you'll find the option in the "How People Find and Contact You" section.

Choose whether your Facebook profile appears on search engines

You can find your Facebook profile on search engines like Google. If you don't want your Facebook profile coming up in search, you can toggle this setting off in the privacy checkup or you can access it directly by going to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy and looking in the "How People Find and Contact You" section.

Your data settings on Facebook

Facebook makes it easy to log into other websites and apps with your Facebook account. Likewise, Facebook makes tagging easy by using face recognition to suggest people to tag in photos. If these conveniences are too invasive for you, here's where to turn them off.

Using Facebook to log into apps and websites

Instead of creating a new user name and password for an app or website, you may have used your Facebook account. If you no longer use the app or website, it's a good idea to remove the connection. However, some apps and websites may hold valuable information in your account. When you remove the connection to your Facebook account, you lose access to your account. 

If you want to delete your connection, click on "Remove" next to the website or app name. In the pop up window you'll be given the option to "delete all of the posts, photos, and videos that the site or app has posted on your Timeline" and/or "Allow Facebook to notify [app name] the the login was removed." This second option may enable you to recover data in the account you created with your Facebook login. 

Screenshot of removing app from Facebook. Shows removing Golfshot game with the options to

You can remove apps and sites by going to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications. While you're there, you should  click on the "View and Edit" button next to any app and website logins you want to keep to check what data the app or site is collecting and see what information is required for the connection and what is optional. 

Turn off login with Facebook for apps, websites, and games

You can turn off the ability to use Facebook to log into apps, websites, and games, but you won't find this in the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications, and in the Preferences section, click on the button next to "Apps, Websites and games."

Turn off game and app notifications

You can turn off annoying notifications for game requests from friends, game status updates, and app notifications, but you won't find this in the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications, and in the Preferences section, click on the button next to "Game and app notifications."

Stop sending information to Instant Games you've played on Facebook or Messenger

Facebook Instant Games often harvest a lot of personal data, and they can keep on collecting it long after you've stopped playing. You can remove the game connection and prevent the developers from receiving additional information, but not through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=instant_games, and you'll see tabs for Active games, Expired games, and Removed games. Click on "View and edit" next to a game, and you'll see all of the information that you have shared. Removing the game will sever the connection so the developer won't continue to receive data. 

Face recognition

Facebook uses face-matching technology to suggest who you should tag in photos. It also lets you know when you might appear in a photo or video but haven't yet been tagged (if you're in the audience for the original post). It will only suggest people that are on your Friends list. If you don't want to be tagged when your friends are tagging photos, toggle this option off. Facebook claims to also use face recognition to prevent strangers from using a photo of you as their profile photo. However, based on the number of cloned accounts I've seen, it doesn't seem to be working very well.

You can also turn off face recognition by going to directly to www.facebook.com/settings?tab=facerec

Your ad preferences on Facebook

Facebook will show you ads – that's how they make their money. It's just a question of whether those ads will be targeted to your demographics and interests or non-targeted (and, perhaps, less relevant to you).

Hide ads from specific brands

If you're tired of being inundated with a specific company's ads, you can choose to hide them. You won't find this in the Privacy Checkup, but you can go to www.facebook.com/adpreferences/advertisers. There you will find a list of the advertisers you have seen most recently, and you can click on the "Hide Ads" button next to any offenders.

See fewer ads about specific topics

While you can't choose to see fewer ads overall, you can choose to see fewer ads in the following categories: Alcohol, Parenting, Pets, and (clumped together) Social Issues, Elections or Politics. You won't find this in the Privacy Checkup, but you can go to www.facebook.com/adpreferences/ad_topics and check the "See Fewer" box next to any categories that don't appeal to you. If you see "Undo," it means you've already chosen to "See Fewer."

Turn off personalized ads based on your activities off Facebook

You can choose to prevent Facebook from using data from its partners to show personalized ads. You won't find the option the Privacy Checkup, but you can go to www.facebook.com/adpreferences/ad_settings and click on "Data about your activity from partners." There, you can toggle off "Use Data from Partners."

However, this won't stop the off-Facebook tracking. If you want to stop sharing your off-Facebook browsing activity with Facebook, you won't find the option in the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/off_facebook_activity and click on "Clear History." This doesn't delete the data, but it does sever the connection with your account. You'll also want to click on "More Options" beneath "Clear History" and then select "Manage Future Activity." Select "Manage Future Activity" again, and you can stop Facebook from saving your activity going forward.

Choose the profile information to share with marketers

Here, you can choose whether to share your marital status, employer, job title, and level of education with advertisers. This doesn't remove the information from your Facebook profile; it just impacts the ads you see.

You can also go directly to www.facebook.com/adpreferences/ad_settings and clicking on "Categories used to reach you." There you can toggle off any data you don't want to share.

Choose which interests to share with marketers

In addition to basic profile information, Facebook uses other information you've shared with it to serve you ads. You can remove interest categories, but you won't find the option in the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/adpreferences/ad_settings and click on "Interest Categories." Here, you can click on the "Remove" button next to any categories you don't want used to target ads to you.

Choose which advertisers can use their own audience list to target you with ads

Some companies have lists of people that they want to reach with their ads. Facebook allows companies to target ads based on these lists, or even exclude you from seeing ads (for example, the DNC may want to exclude their ads from people on the RNC list). You can choose to not be shown ads using a list, as well as not excluded from seeing ads. You can't select this option through the Privacy Checkup, but you can go to www.facebook.com/adpreferences/ad_settings and click on "Audience-based advertising." There, you will see a list of all of the companies that have you on their audience list. Click on a company, and you can find out why you were included in the advertiser's audience. Click on the arrow next to the reason and you can choose whether the company's list can be used to either include or exclude you from seeing ads.

Choose whether you are shown ads off Facebook based on your interests

Facebook serves a lot of advertising on websites and through apps off of Facebook. You can turn off personalized ads for those sites and apps, but not through the Privacy Checkup. Go to www.facebook.com/adpreferences/ad_settings and click on Ads Shown off of Facebook. There, you can toggle off personalized ads.

Choose whether your interactions with a company show up in ads

Have you ever liked or followed a company, made a comment, shared a company's Page, checked into an event held by a company, made a recommendation, or joined a Facebook event held by a company? Facebook can broadcast your action as an advertisement to all your friends.

Screenshot of sample of a social interaction ad. It shows that the person liked a Page with the image of the Page's logo beneath. Underneath, you can choose

If you don't like this type of inadvertent endorsement, you can limit who can see these social interactions alongside ads to "Only me."

You can also go directly to www.facebook.com/adpreferences/ad_settings and clicking on "Social interactions." In the popup you can select "Only me" or "Friends."

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.

Still confused by a specific issue or question with your account? Ask below in the comments and we'll do our best to help you out.

Updated on 7/8/2021

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

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, NBC and dozens of other TV and radio networks.



Discussion loading

@Mentions

From Wren on August 20, 2015 :: 4:16 pm

I was commenting on a publicly posted news article, and engaged in a dialogue with another user. He was consistently using @myname to created a link back to me in his comments, but I am unable to do this with his name. Facebook recognizes it when I type @hisname, but when I hit post, no link is generated. I’ve poured over facebook settings to find where I can turn “mentions” off for myself (like this stranger apparently has done), but I can’t find anything. I have come across a third-party app called Mention Blocker which is a chrome extension. Is it possible he is using this? or is this just a setting in FB somewhere that I can’t find?

PS - I had a friend on a different computer in another state try the same thing on the same thread, and he also couldn’t successfully make a mention of this person in a comment.

Reply

remove others messages

From soha on August 21, 2015 :: 4:51 am

I want to stop receiving messages other than my friends so I want to completely remove the “message” button from my profile. I tried downgrading my fb but the privacy settings still the same :(

Reply

Other peoples comments and likes

From Annette on August 26, 2015 :: 12:34 pm

Hi, lately the amount of comments and likes of other people on posts that are none of my business start to outnumber the actual posts of friends. There used to be a time when you could uncheck ‘comments and like’ in the settings of friends, but I can’t find this anymore… Do you have any clues on how to deal with this? Thanks!

Reply

How do I stop the

From Regina Black on August 28, 2015 :: 4:42 am

How do I stop the “privacy checkup” notification from popping up? I’ve tried changing all my privacy settings and it JUUUUUUSSSST keeps telling me “Hi Regina! We care about your privacy and want to make sure you’re sharing with the right people.” It comes back every time I refresh my page. It comes back every time I go into a group. It comes back every time I go into my messages. It’s driving me crazy and I just want it to stop.

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Have you actually completed the checkup?

From Josh Kirschner on August 28, 2015 :: 2:09 pm

Have you gone through the privacy checkup walkthrough to the point where it says “finished”? Until you have, it’s going to keep popping up.

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Message settings

From Jonathan Dolan on October 01, 2015 :: 12:20 pm

I am an admin on many business pages. I recently began having an issue when I try to send a message to someone and pay the $1 for it to go to their inbox. I have been getting an error message saying that my $1 has been refunded and the message has been sent to their “other” folder.

Is there a new message privacy setting that is causing this? Is Facebook possibly testing and changing their message privacy setting relating to businesses sending messages?

Thanks in advance

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Comment privacy

From Stefan Baer on August 29, 2015 :: 3:03 am

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions.

Is there a privacy setting that I can modify that will stop Facebook from showing comments that I make to various groups and discussions to everyone on my Facebook? Right now, when I comment on specific things, it will show up to others in their news feeds . I really dislike this.

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Friends see posts I have made on other pages

From Karen West on February 21, 2017 :: 11:12 am

My friends see all posts I make on other people’s or group’s pages. However, I never see what friends post to their friends or other pages.

How can I stop all my posts on other pages from appearing on their page?

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Unfollow

From DAM on June 27, 2017 :: 12:03 pm

When you’re friends with someone you’re usually following them too.Unfollow them that way their things won’t appear on your feed

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birthday wishes tags

From Alex Boe on August 29, 2015 :: 11:10 am

why are my Bday wishes that I am tagged in only show on my timeline & not on news feed? I have checked all my settings & all are ok. thanks

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Privacy editing

From KC on August 31, 2015 :: 12:22 am

If a friend comments on my status, but then I decide to restrict their view in my privacy options and change it by adding them to the “Dont share with” list on that very status - then what happens when I reply to their previous comment? Will they get a notification??

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I would like to ask

From Boris Velikson on September 01, 2015 :: 8:46 am

I would like to ask the same question Annette asked on 8/26 and to which no answer seems to have been given: how to stop seeing all the postings a friend liked or commented? I have no interest in these.

And I would like to ask another question. Earlier there existed, I was told, an option not to see a friend’s postings. This option does not seem to exist anymore. I have friends I would not like to unfriend (so that they can comment on my postings) but whose volume of production is such that I’d like to stop automatically seeing their statuses. If you removed that option, please put it back. If you hid it, tell me please how to find it.

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"Unfollow"

From Char on September 03, 2015 :: 9:25 am

Boris:  In the top right corner of your friend’s post, you will see a “V”.  Click on that and you will see “Hide Post”, “Unfollow BLAH” and the almost irrelevant “Hide all from X”.  You can either hide the post, which would tell facebook that you want to see less from this person, or Unfollow which means you won’t see any posts from this person.  In both situations they will still see what you post, unlike unfriending.  They won’t know that you’ve hidden the post or that you’ve unfollowed them.

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Thanks...

From Annette on September 07, 2015 :: 10:50 am

...Char for your tip, I will try the ‘Less posts’ option and hope it works!

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Is business page always public even if personal page is set "friends only"?

From Gabriela on September 01, 2015 :: 5:04 pm

I have private profile set for “friends” only. I have recently created a business page but I do not see privacy option specifically for business page. Does it mean that business page will have the same setting as my personal profile “friends” only or does it mean that personal profile is whatever I set it to be and independently to it business page is always public?I just don’t want people who see my business page had any insight to my private profile. Please help!

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Friends know when I've logged on using mobile

From Char on September 03, 2015 :: 7:29 am

It never fails- I check Facebook messages when I’m out and about, and my friends see that I’m online using my mobile phone and they send me about 20- messages in less than 2 minutes, expecting me to respond immediately.  I’ve turned off chat, so I don’t know how they’re seeing that I’m on Facebook.  Aside from deleting these overly self-centered friends (tongue in cheek), how do I stop them from seeing that I’m using my mobile?  I’ve turned off chat so I don’t know why it’s showing up at all.

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Facebook messenger video calling

From Anti on September 05, 2015 :: 12:35 pm

I noticed that people I don’t have friends can send me a request for video call. How can I remove the icon of the camera that exists on the right part of the cover photo to avoid that. Just in case you need to know, I have not the facebook video call plugin.

Plus, was always sending messages possible for everyone? I think that in the past you could chose those who could send you.

Thank you.

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Someone is keeping bothering me

From S on September 06, 2015 :: 10:44 am

Someone is keeping bothering me by sending messages even when I block that person..he makes a new profile and send me in the “others” folder again and again >.<
So how can I stop receiving messages from unknown/unfriend and prevent that others folder!!!

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privacy on friends wall

From Shari on September 07, 2015 :: 9:49 pm

Hello,

Any way to be private to my friends friends list?  I’m active on a pal’s wall but do not want her friends to see posts, tags, etc.

Thanks

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Tagging photos, photo descriptions, likes and comments

From Wendi on September 09, 2015 :: 9:08 am

Hello- When I now post a photo as my status update, tag someone and add a description, I have many strange things happening.  1.  On my page the photo and description appear as my update, but when I go to the friends page that I tagged, the photo is there, but no description. 2.  When one see’s my photo/description as a part of their feed, they can like or comment without clicking on the photo (which is typical).  However, when you then click on the actual photo, they can like or comment there, but it acts as a completely separate like or comment.  3.  So, these separate comments are now the comments that appear under the photo on my tagged friends pages, but not under my page.  They are only under the photo when you click on it.

I’m not sure if you are following me, but I can always show it to you via my FB page as well.  This is driving me crazy and has to be one of my settings.  I just cannot figure it out.

Help please!

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Comments on News pages?

From Lisa on September 09, 2015 :: 10:55 am

This piece is very helpful. I’m trying to figure out how to keep my job from being posted next to my name when I comment on my local newspaper or, say, The Huffington Post. I could ostensibly set up a fake account for HP, but my local paper is tied to my subscription. Thank you!

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How to impose restrictions for my personal account viewing by people who view my page

From Shikha on September 10, 2015 :: 12:17 am

I have created a page through my personal fb account n i want to display that page to some of the fb groups of which i m a member on my personal account.How can i restrict those group people to view my personal account pics n posts but they should be able to view pics posted on my page.

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Add a Friend on facebook

From Nana Trujillo on September 14, 2015 :: 11:54 am

I am not able to add two friends on facebook eventhough we have 15 friends in common with one and 5 eith the other. In both the add friend button does not show up, only the one to send a message. About a month ago the add a friend button was available on both of them but last week was not available anymore. I noticed last week my facebook was updated. It is only happening with this two friends I want to add, but not to others. Why this could happened?

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Stopping constant E Mails from Face book

From H Rea on September 23, 2015 :: 7:08 am

How do I stop Face Book sending me requests from friends requesting confirm or delete? I don’t want to delete the names as it seems unfriendly. I just don’t want Face Book to send me 3 e mails daily (cluttering up my in box) titled ‘have more friends on Facebook than you think’! Thanks

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I liked or comment anyone post, anyone will not able to see that without me?

From Jayesh Jaiswal JJ on September 28, 2015 :: 6:31 am

Useful suggestions but I liked or comment anyone post, anyone will not able to see that without me? Plz help me

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Family Relationships

From Linda Gourley on October 06, 2015 :: 1:58 pm

Love the info you provided. So much better than what Facebook provides. But I have a question that requires your opinion. Should you refrain from listing family relationships? What’s the downside of that, realistically?

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viewing profile and postings

From Dalene Berger on October 10, 2015 :: 5:28 pm

how come someone that is not my friend cannot see my profile or postings?  I have not blocked them or had them on a restricted list

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Limiting stranger comments on my public posts

From Kia Eccentric McCool on October 14, 2015 :: 8:46 pm

Hello. How can I stop people who are not friends from commenting on my public posts? I know it can be done because I’ve viewed content on peoples’ pages but couln’t comment unless I was their friend.  I just cant figure out how they do it and it sucks. Please help?

Thank you so much for your time.

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pages post

From Joe on October 16, 2015 :: 11:47 am

If I set the privacy settings on my profile of who can see my posts, but I post something to a public fanpage like a comment, that will still appear on that fanpage correct?

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Correct

From Josh Kirschner on October 16, 2015 :: 11:54 am

Privacy on Fan Pages is controlled by the page owner, not by your personal settings. Generally speaking, anything you post on a fan page will be public.

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Can't find a deleted friend to refriend again

From Yolanda Mendez on October 16, 2015 :: 2:57 pm

Hello Josh:

Wanted to ask for your help, I’ve been searching all over the internet for several days how to add (once more) a friend that I deleted 6 days ago. He was on my list of acquaintances and we got into a stupid discussion where I ended up deleting him from my list of friends, but it was s joke. I want to add him back and can’t find him anywhere not on search, mutual friends (we have more than 100) or anywhere, it seems as if he doesn’t exists. He tried to add me too and has the same problem. We haven’t blocked each other so don’t know what is going on. I even open others people pictures where he is tagged and messages we had, and his name is in black and I can’t enter his profile to add him back.
I’ve really tried everything, even a mutual friend suggested him as a contact and I didn’t receive her suggestion…weird.
Do you know if Facebook has a “time out” friendship period? For example a week or so and I’ll be able to see and add my friend soon.

Please help me.

Many thanks!

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Facebook privacy setting "FRIENDS" does not work!

From Mike J Baron on October 19, 2015 :: 5:34 pm

I have FRIENDS selected for my privacy setting.

Using a stranger’s computer (someone who is NOT my fb friend) I verified that ANYONE can see my fb posts!

So your instructions only repeat what facebook claims, and it is not true!

Facebook instructions are a lie! Anyone can see all your business. I recommend you delete your instructions and warn your readers that fb’s privacy instructions DO NOT WORK.

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Check you setting for the individual posts

From Josh Kirschner on October 19, 2015 :: 9:30 pm

What is the privacy setting for the individual posts you made? Is it Friends or Public? Are these posts you made in your timeline or are they comments on other peoples’ posts or on fan pages?

If you post a link to where you claim your private posts are public, I’ll take a look. Facebook’s privacy settings do work, so I think the issue is with your settings or posting location.

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friends list

From Tom on October 19, 2015 :: 7:06 pm

Is it possible to hide certain friends from some people? Example; the friends list says 103 friends but I can only see 76.

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Liking someones comment

From Kimm on October 20, 2015 :: 4:37 am

Sometimes I hit like on a political page to support the person who posted the comment but I really would prefer it isn’t publicized for my friends to see. How do I prevent this.

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You can't

From Josh Kirschner on October 20, 2015 :: 8:34 am

Privacy on other people’s pages/posts is controlled by that person. So if you’re taking actions on a public page or post, your actions will be public. Plan accordingly.

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Stopping non friends from commenting on my posts

From Linda on October 23, 2015 :: 12:43 pm

Hi, 
  When I post something on FB my fiends will comment but in many cases there are comments from people I dint know. I have gone to my privacy settings but dint see anything that I can select to change this. I have ‘friends only’ setting. What can I do to have friend comments only. Thank you.

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limit my tracking

From Glenn Kessler on October 23, 2015 :: 12:53 pm

I have a family member that is friends with me and is following me.  He can see every comment I leave on other people’s FB posts even when he is not tagged or friends with that person.  If he can track every comment I make on facebook, then others can as well.  I only want my friends to see what I post on my own timeline and what I post on their timeline. I don’t want friends to see comments that I post on other peoples pages.  How can I adjust my settings to stop this?

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likes and comments on my public posts

From Barry on October 25, 2015 :: 8:36 pm

Hi there,
How can I allow others (fiends of friends, everyone) to be able to like and/or comment on the public posts on my timeline? Right now people who are not my friends can only share my public posts and also I don’t allow people to follow me.

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Public posts

From Glo on October 31, 2015 :: 7:33 am

Can I block one specific person from seeing posts I set to ‘public’?

Thanks!

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Too many comments and likes

From Linda van den Berg on November 02, 2015 :: 4:06 am

I’ve seen the same question twice and still no response. I would also like to know what to do if friends write something on some one else’s wall (maybe only their friends)shows on my news feed. It is not only one specific person, so I can’t just hide posts of that person. I don’t want to see what friends write to each other. I’m only interested in things they write to ME.

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Not much you can do

From Josh Kirschner on November 26, 2015 :: 12:23 am

Facebook controls what appears in your News Feed and how it is prioritized. There is little you can do to change that other than blocking or prioritizing specific people.

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"Liking" Privacy setting

From Kate Sells-Greer on November 25, 2015 :: 12:36 am

I entered into a contest and I made my post public (I Have to get as many likes as I can) Yet only my friends can like my post.

If we are not friends you only have the option to share it. Any suggestions? 

Thank you,
Kate

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frustrating

From fay on November 29, 2015 :: 4:35 pm

Please could someone tell me why a friend can only see things I have tagged them in and not any other of my posts?

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Share

From M Ramya on December 09, 2015 :: 10:23 am

The post is public. But I am not able to see the no. of shares of the post by Friends of friends

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Friends

From Linda on December 10, 2015 :: 8:29 pm

Hello! I have a quick question.

First of all thank you for the guide.

I would like to hide my friends as well. I dont want anyone except my friends to see who I’m friends with. Is that possible?

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Hiding from timeline?

From Simon on December 16, 2015 :: 7:12 am

Hello, I can’t find an answer to this: I know if I reply to a public post everybody can see it but can I prevent this activity from my timeline? I don’t always want all my friends get a ‘noticifaction’ that I replied to something like “Simon replied to this”.
Thanks.

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Differentiation between personal and fanpage privacy

From Lisa @ Fun Money Mom on December 27, 2015 :: 8:26 am

Great post!  I have the same question as Gabriela.  I have both a personal page and a fanpage for my blog.  I’d like my personal page to be set to “friends” and my fanpage to be set to “public”.  I don’t seem to be able to do this.  Do they both have to be set to the same privacy setting?

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Privacy for your personal and fan page are completely separate

From Josh Kirschner on December 29, 2015 :: 4:00 pm

Privacy settings for your personal page and fanpage are completely separate, so not clear why you’re having an issue. Just make sure that when you go to your fanpage, you are “using Facebook as [fanpage name]”, not your own name, when you go to the privacy settings. You control this using the little dropdown arrow all the way at the top right of Facebook.

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Setting up a business page

From Susan on December 28, 2015 :: 8:44 pm

I need to set up a business page but I do not have a personal page.  It looks like I have to set up a personal page and then add the business page - how do I do that without people seeing my personal page information - because I certainly have no intention of using the personal page and don’t want anyone to be able to access or see it.

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Business page won't show your personal page info

From Josh Kirschner on December 29, 2015 :: 4:13 pm

By default, Facebook business pages DO NOT show Page Admins. So no one, other than other page admins, will be able to see who controls the page.

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