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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 :: 431 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 whether friends of people tagged in your posts can see your posts

If you tag a Facebook Friend in a post, the person you tagged's Facebook Friends may also be able to view your post. You can choose to prevent Friends of people tagged in your posts from seeing your posts.

You can choose whether friends of people tagged in your posts can see your posts 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

stop notifications to friends when I join a group

From CS on August 31, 2016 :: 12:20 pm

So annoying - just can’t find any information anywhere on how to stop friends from getting a notification whenever I join or request to join a group - any ideas? thanks….

Reply

Can you hide a specific friend from just one other person.

From Greg Zeller on September 04, 2016 :: 9:09 am

I am divoreced and still friends with my ex on facebook for the sake of our kids. Recently I started dating someone new but I do not want my ex to see the the new persons profile. Is there a way of hiding/blocking just my ex from seeing just her profile in my friends list or her likes on my posts/shares?

Reply

Privacy

From Cher Herzig Baggett on September 05, 2016 :: 9:02 am

Hello, I don’t want people to know when I’m on facebook.  How do I hide myself from the “online now” list? I have a friend who waits to see that I’m on facebook and immediately starts messaging and texting me.  I just want some privacy.

Reply

Custom List & Friends of Friends Tagged

From Anonymous on September 05, 2016 :: 8:33 pm

Hi.  My question is this: if I allow an album to be visible to my friends + friends tagged, but also use the custom option of “Don’t share with these people or lists” ... and I input names of friends that I have that my tagged friend in the album also has (mutual friends,) will those in the “don’t share with” list still see the album since the “friends of anyone tagged” is checked?

Reply

why can everyone see my stuff?

From Robin Privett on September 12, 2016 :: 8:43 pm

Hi
I only want my profile pic to be visible when someone searches my name.  But everything I have ever posted still shows to complete strangers.  Help! and Thanks

Reply

Why can't I block someone?

From Donna Edmond on September 13, 2016 :: 9:26 am

Help!I have tried every option to block someone and facebook says that i can’t. Why is that? How do I get around that?

Reply

privacy

From Robin Privett on September 13, 2016 :: 5:22 pm

Hi, my daughter and I and tested something out to prove what we feared.  We unfriended each other and then searched each other.  When finding a link to our names and clicking we can both see everything on both our pages.  We have tried to set our pages to Private so only our profile shows and that’s it.  What are we doing wrong?  We don’t want non friends or browsing random people to be able to see our pictures and posts.
Thank you!!!!

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Public posts

From Helen on September 16, 2016 :: 6:19 pm

If I post a comment on a public Facebook site does that allow anyone who sees it to access my Facebook? Or can they only see that one public post? I have privacy set to friends only but wondered if such a post would give others access to my posts on my Facebook.

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Josh, Do you understand what I am asking here?

From Helen on September 22, 2016 :: 10:34 am

I recently attended a play and wanted to go on their public website and post a picture and comment about how great the play was. But will that allow anyone who can see my post to see my Facebook page. I have it set to friends only. Thank you.

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I have a business Page

From Adam on September 20, 2016 :: 4:19 pm

Hi I have a tech support business page, would it be ok for me to post a link on my page to this page as a lot of people ask me about facebook security and this is about the the best guide iv’e seen?

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Of course

From Josh Kirschner on September 21, 2016 :: 10:27 am

You’re always welcome to add a link to our articles on your pages if you find them helpful.

Best,
Josh

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How do I stop Facebook from allowing sites I shop from to send my information to the online messages

From J on September 20, 2016 :: 9:27 pm

I purchased two things today from outside sites, under a different name and email address than my FB account, and I received notifications from the companies in my Messages. Not Messenger, I don’t use that. Apparently, there is a new plug in Facebook has provided to retail sites that automatically links the two. How do I turn off THIS privacy invasion?

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Friends of Friends and use of Restricted List

From Ann on September 26, 2016 :: 1:45 pm

I’ve previously set all my posts to public because I have nothing to hide, and I run a home business where it helps for potential customers to get to “know” me before we go further in a transaction.  But, I have a few people who need to be on a restricted list.  If I switch my posts’ privacy settings to the custom “friends” and “friends of friends”, are the people on my restricted list unable to see those posts.  Which is my intention.  If I set posts to custom, then clients and potential clients can still see enough about me to get to know me.  But, I really want that restricted list to only see my public posts now.  All info about restricted lists, only mention that they can’t see my posts marked friends.  But, they don’t mention if they can see my posts marked friends of friends.  Any help is appreciated!

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Yes, you can restrict friends of friends

From Josh Kirschner on September 26, 2016 :: 3:30 pm

Yes, you can restrict people from friends of friends in the custom settings, but I would strongly encourage you to rethink that approach. Especially once you start spreading out to friends of friends, it makes it increasingly likely that someone on your restricted list will see or find out about your post. Facebook is a social platform and things you post can get spread around, so act accordingly.

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Restricted List & Friends of Friends

From Ann on September 26, 2016 :: 3:47 pm

So, just to clarify.  I can put these two people on my restricted list, and if I change all pertinent posts to friends of friends, they still cannot see it themselves.

Luckily, my posts are all G rated and positive.  But, these two are trolling to knock negative vibes into my positive posts.  But ... they’re family.

UGH.

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Yes, that would work

From Josh Kirschner on September 26, 2016 :: 5:31 pm

According to Facebook, they would not see your posts unless they are tagged in it or you post as Public if they are on your restricted list.

Thank you!

From Ann on September 26, 2016 :: 7:54 pm

Since I was only seeing the restricted list pertain to “friends” and not “friends of friends”, I just wanted to make sure.

grin

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Different settings for different pages I manage?

From Elmarie Tredoux on October 01, 2016 :: 9:01 am

I want to make business pages public, but keep my personal profile private (friends only). how do I do that?

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Those have completely separate privacy settings

From Josh Kirschner on October 05, 2016 :: 10:16 am

Your business page privacy settings have nothing to do with your personal settings. Business pages are public by default. Changes you make to your business page will only affect that page ad not impact the privacy settings for your personal page.

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Why is a blocked person showing up as my friend on my friend's suggested friend's' list

From Michele on October 08, 2016 :: 3:43 pm

I’ve had a person blocked for over 6 months.  Today on my fiance’s page it showed I was friend’s with the blocked person (we have 4 mutual friends)  and suggested that person as a friend to my fiancĂ©.  If the person has been blocked for 6 months, why is my fiancĂ© receiving a post on his page showing I’m friend’s with the blocked person and suggests they be friend’s?  How can I prevent this from happening again with other people I have blocked?

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unfriend

From Margaret Woodward on October 09, 2016 :: 6:33 am

How do I unfriend someone on my Facebook account?

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Easy

From Josh Kirschner on October 11, 2016 :: 1:01 pm

Just go to that person’s profile page and you should see a dropdown box near the top that says “Friends”. Click that and you can “Unfriend”. Or go to your profile pages and find that person under your Friends section. You can also Unfriend from there.

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Facebook business page privacy settings

From Pete Ormsbee on October 10, 2016 :: 3:43 pm

Hi, I recently set up a business page and I would like the privacy settings to be different than the settings I have for my personal page. With my personal page, I set it so I don’t show up in search engines. Obviously, I want my business page to show up. Is there a way to do this?  Thanks!

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They are separate setting

From Josh Kirschner on October 11, 2016 :: 12:57 pm

Facebook business page privacy settings are completely different than your personal settings. All business pages will be visible by default unless set to “unpublished”.

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Posting in a Secret Group

From Mike on October 20, 2016 :: 4:56 pm

Hello,

I have made posts in a ‘secret’ group and assumed that only people within that group would be able to view them. It seems, however, that the same post appears on my timeline and therefore all my friends(who don’t belong to the original group) can see the posts too. Is there a way o rectifying this so that my posts in the secret group are NOT visible to my other friends?

Thank you.

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How i can see daily updates of that person, who not add me in his friend list

From Khushbu Shah on November 03, 2016 :: 12:34 am

Hi
Want to check one person’s daily updates and all, but we are not friends, so i can’t see his all post, because of his privacy settings.
But because of some reason, i want to see his daily updates.
So what can i do for this ?

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Friends-of-Friends sometimes unacknowledged as having Mutual Friends

From Prince of Parties on November 07, 2016 :: 4:47 am

From time to time, I notice that one or other of my Friends will have a Friends-only post that has either Comments or Likes from people that are either:
- not on their Friendlist; or
- do not show our Mutual Friend as a Mutual Friend on their Timeline when I look at it.

I have noticed this with both Friends that allow me to see their Friendlist and Friends that do not.

I realise that between the Comment or Like being made, and my viewing of the Post that the Friend-of-a-Friend may have Unfriended my Friend, or been Unfriended by my Friend.  However, I have witnessed it many times, and sometimes the Post may only be a few minutes (or seconds) old.

What is going on?

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Public

From Aaron William Quinn on November 15, 2016 :: 8:44 pm

Even though I have chosen ‘Public’ in the Privacy Settings, almost all of my posts are still hidden. I noticed that the setting said it will apply to all of my future posts but I would like my whole timeline to be visible. I don’t post very much and I want what I post to be seen publicly. How can I change that?

Thanks.

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Posting a URL in a page I am an Admin of

From Brandon Swarthout on November 17, 2016 :: 10:40 am

When I try to post a url in a page I manage as that page the browser times out. This happens in ie, chrome, and Firefox. When I try to post as myself it works fine. I created a new facebook profile and added that profile as an admin and it works fine. This leads me to believe that some setting in my profile is preventing this. I know all the other admins of this page do not have the same problem. This was working a week ago.

Thanks,
Brandon

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Restricted or not?

From Faith on November 29, 2016 :: 2:33 am

Recently a friend of mine posted something and I ‘Like’ the page. After a few hours when I log in again, my Like button doesn’t show up. Am I restricted or not? Is there anyway a friend can undo the like button? I am positive that I hit the Like button.

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Privacy settings for joining events and groups / pages

From Scott on November 30, 2016 :: 8:48 pm

I’m trying to figure out how to prevent every event I RSVP for from automatically appearing in the news feeds of all of my friends. I know I can click on my activity log and change the privacy setting for that particular event after the fact, but I need to remember to do this each time. Is there a way to change the default setting? From what I gather searching around on Google, there used to be a way to do this, but there doesn’t appear to be any more. Is that accurate?

Also, are my friends notified in their news feeds every time I join a page or group? If so, is there a way to stop this?

I know that if the events/groups/pages are public, my name will appear in the list of members or attendees, which is fine. But that doesn’t mean that I necessarily want to publicize my participation.

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People I have blocked still able to see what I have posted....

From Tracy on December 10, 2016 :: 5:14 pm

So when I post, tag someone, or respond to a comment people I have blocked can still see this on mutual friends FB page…how do I stop this?

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Please help - Status, Photo/Video, OfferEvent+ Missing

From Tim on December 11, 2016 :: 7:04 pm

I just set up a new business page under my personal profile and Status, Photo/Video, and OfferEvent+ options are missing on the bar above the “Write something…” area. In addition, I am also seeing 6 boxes with options to “Advertise Your Business,” “Get Phone Calls,” “Get Messages,” “Create an Event,” “Create an Offer,” and “Write a Note” below the “Write Something” area.

On my other business page, the Status, Photo/Video, and OfferEvent+ are visible and they are also visible on my personal page. These two do not have the 6 boxes below (“Advertise Your Business..” etc.). Please help! Thank you!

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Seeing my profile pic instantly but is not a friend of FB

From Me on December 15, 2016 :: 9:24 pm

Hi,
I’m having this issue, where every time I change my profile pic, and I know profile pics are Public, but this person I know but am not friends with on FB, sees it and gets a alert about it. I think she’s using google alerts, but am not sure How can i prevent this? She’s basically stalking me!

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Cant find 'My Profile' as indicated above

From Kerri S on January 03, 2017 :: 12:28 pm

Ive tried every section. I DID find how to add things like life events, education, etc. I want the section like you have above, but not steps listed how to get there. To check my email, who can see it, etc. The ‘Your Profile’ and who can see it, etc. I tried Googling and FB for the answer too, Im sure its easy, I just cant find it.

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Restricting old posts

From Laurie on January 05, 2017 :: 1:15 pm

If you add a new friend and restrict thier view.  How can you stop them from seeing the old posts before they were friends

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Manually change privacy for every old post

From Josh Kirschner on January 18, 2017 :: 3:30 pm

If the old posts were set to “Friends”, then the only way to restrict a new friend from seeing them is to manually change the privacy of every old post to restrict them. Doesn’t sound very practical…

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Friends

From Anna on January 18, 2017 :: 2:03 am

Just wondering how I can find or set up “the new friends I made in a given year” for myself without having to look through my activity log for an hour (which I already did).

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That's the best approach

From Josh Kirschner on January 18, 2017 :: 3:37 pm

The activity log is the place to do it. However, to make it much easier, you can filter the activity log to show only “friends”. Once in the activity log area, just click Friends in the left column to filter.

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Friends

From Anna on January 18, 2017 :: 6:34 pm

Thanks!  I used the filter on the activity log and it’s much easier than before.

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Question about facebook member using a persons info

From Teresa on January 31, 2017 :: 10:58 pm

Someone on facebook is writing a book and is using my information from facebook in their book. Can they be allowed to do this without my concent or knowledge? What rights do I have and how can I stop them from doing this?

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It depends

From Josh Kirschner on February 10, 2017 :: 11:12 am

Depending on where you live, your rights may be protected by privacy laws. Also, depending on what content they’re using, you may have copyright protection of your posts, photos or other creations.

This, however, is a question best addressed to an attorney who can help you assess your rights in this particular situation.

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Close friends and tagging

From Liz on February 09, 2017 :: 11:08 am

Hi. If i set a post to close friends only, but tag a friend in the post, im assuming their friends can then see the post? How do i stop this please?

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Yes, but you can stop it

From Josh Kirschner on February 10, 2017 :: 11:16 am

According to Facebook: When you tag someone, that content (ex: photo, post) may be shared with the person tagged and their friends. This means that if you haven’t already included their friends in the audience, their friends may now be able to see it. For example, if you tag Jane in a photo shared with your friends, the audience expands to Friends (+) to include your friends and Jane’s.

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.

For more details see: https://www.facebook.com/help/240051956039320?helpref=faq_content

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nic nisgchal

From Nishxal Kto on March 02, 2017 :: 4:11 am

Nice nishchal

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Friend Request: Friend of Friends - NOT !

From Howard Haradon on March 05, 2017 :: 7:12 pm

Hi, I have no friends on facebook.  I set my friend requests to come only from friends of friends (that means nobody).  Why do I continure to receive friend requests from various unknown people?
Thanks for any ideas.
HH

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Are you sure about you're seeing friend requests?

From Josh Kirschner on March 07, 2017 :: 11:55 am

I looked up your profile on Facebook (I assume the url is the “not.howard” one) and I cannot send you a friend request. So it seethe privacy setting seems to be working as intended. Are you sure you’re getting friend requests and not Facebook messages or something else? Are you sure they are “requests” (something someone actually sent you) and not “suggestions” (people Facebook thinks you may know, for one reason or another).

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Hide/disable wall

From Sharon on March 10, 2017 :: 1:44 am

Hi there,

Wondering if there’s a quick and easy way (without deleting individual posts) that you can hide your entire wall, even from your friends, so that you only have the message & photo functionality of facebook?

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Not really

From Josh Kirschner on March 13, 2017 :: 5:29 pm

You can hide “Sections” from your wall, so that these things won’t appear in your timeline. However, individual stories posted to these section may still be visible to friends. The only way to make individual posts not visible is to change each post’s privacy settings.

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Blocking Page Followers from Friending Me

From Elodie Turpin on March 10, 2017 :: 4:50 pm

Hi, thanks for the info! I am an admin of several business pages and would like to block people who follow my business page from friending me personally. Is there a setting for this?
Thanks!

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Yes, you can block people from following

From Josh Kirschner on March 13, 2017 :: 5:37 pm

Via Facebook: To manage who can follow you and who can see your posts:
- Click at the top-right corner and select Settings.
- Click Public Posts on the left.
- Select Friends or Public next to Who Can Follow Me.

Your only choices, though, are “public” and “friends” (who follow you automatically, anyway). You can’t target any more specifically.

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