Facebook’s long list of privacy options may seem daunting, but there are only a few settings you need to change to better protect yourself. Here are some things to check now.
While most of these settings can be changed through the Facebook app on iPhone and Android, the settings themselves may appear slightly different when accessed from within the app.
Remove your profile from search engines
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To change the setting, open Facebook in a browser and click the downward-facing arrow in the top-right corner, followed by Settings & Privacy. Select “Settings” and then click “Privacy” in the sidebar that appears on the left side of the page.
Scroll down to the “How people can find and contact you” section and disable “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile” by clicking the Edit button.
Shortcut: Facebook > Settings > Privacy > Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?
Make your friends list private
By default, your friends list is visible to everyone, including people you are not friends with. Having a list of your friends can help people find you, and not everyone is comfortable with this. You probably don’t want Joe Public to be able to look up a list of your close friends, relatives, or romantic partners.
You can change the visibility of your friends list under Facebook settings. Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook, then select Settings & privacy > Settings. Click “Privacy” in the sidebar and scroll down to the “How people can find and contact you” section.
Change “Who can see your friends list” to a setting you’re more comfortable with. You can choose between ‘Public’, ‘Friends’, ‘Only Me’ and various custom inclusive and exclusive settings. Choose “Only Me” to keep your friends list private.
Shortcut: Facebook > Settings > Privacy > Who can see your friends list?
Massively limit the visibility of your older posts
If you initially created your Facebook account when it was an invite-only college network or shortly after the service opened to everyone, you may have forgotten some embarrassing older public posts you posted.
You may not realize that some of your older posts were made public when Facebook went through one of its many overhauls. Luckily, you don’t have to dig through years of embarrassing updates to quickly restrict who can see your old posts.
Click the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook and select Settings & Privacy > Settings, followed by “Privacy” in the sidebar on the left. In the “Your Activity” section, look for “Limit audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of Friends of Public?”
You can use the “Limited Past Posts” link to change the visibility of these older public posts (and those shared with friends of friends) so that they are only shared with your direct friends list.
Shortcut: Facebook > Settings > Privacy > Restrict the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of Friends of Public?
Enable Timeline Review
By default, anyone can tag you in a post and it will be added to your Facebook timeline right in your profile next to the updates you’ve written yourself. This happens for both posts (like someone tagging you because you met for coffee) and photos.
If you prefer to have more control over what appears on your profile, you can choose to manually view all future tags. To do this, head over to Facebook and click the downward-facing arrow in the top right corner. Click Settings & Privacy > Settings and then click “Profile & Tagging” in the sidebar that appears on the left.
Under ‘Tagging’, turn on ‘See posts you’ve been tagged in before the post appears on your profile?’ by clicking the Edit button. When you’re tagged in the future, you’ll get a notification and you can decide whether to approve or hide the post from your profile.
You can also manually view all open messages under Activity Log. Go to your profile and click the ellipsis “…” button and then choose Activity Log.
Shortcut: Facebook > Settings > Profile & Tagging > View posts you’ve been tagged in before the post appears on your profile?
Disable facial recognition
Facial recognition has a number of benefits on Facebook, but not everyone is comfortable with it. With facial recognition enabled, Facebook can suggest you as a tag when a friend uploads a photo, or suggest your own photo tags.
Perhaps even more useful is the ability to receive a notification when Facebook detects that your likeness is being used in a profile picture. If the account is really trying to impersonate you, you can report it and hopefully have the content removed.
If you prefer to disable this setting, you can do so by clicking the downward-facing arrow in the top right corner of Facebook and clicking Settings & Privacy > Settings. Click on “Face Recognition” in the sidebar on the left, then use “Edit” to select the option “Do you want Facebook to recognize you in photos and videos?” to turn off. choice.
Shortcut: Facebook > Settings > Face Recognition > Do you want Facebook to recognize you in photos and videos?
Limit how you are found on Facebook
While you can’t hide the name you enter in your profile, there are other ways you can limit how you’re found. Facebook uses any phone numbers or email addresses you provide to help people find you, so if you want to stay (mostly) incognito, make sure you turn this setting off.
Click the downward-facing arrow in the top-right corner of your Facebook feed, then click Settings & Privacy > Settings. Select “Privacy” in the sidebar on the left, then scroll down to the “How people can find and contact you” section.
Check “Who can look you up with the email address you provided?” and “Who can look you up with the phone number you provided?” as needed. You can manage your contact details in your profile under the ‘About’ section.
Shortcut: Facebook > Settings > Privacy > Who can look you up with the email address/phone number you provided?
Rate Connected Apps & Websites
Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal was only possible with the help of a connected app called “This Is Your Digital Life,” which eventually collected information from some 87 million profiles. Users log into the app using their Facebook profile as the social login, which is common.
While Facebook has made changes to how data is handled, it’s still important to know which apps and websites are associated with your account. Make sure that only apps you trust and actively use can access your account.
You can view your list of connected apps by clicking the downward-facing arrow in the top-right corner of your Facebook feed and then choosing Settings & Privacy > Settings. From there, click on “Apps and Websites” in the sidebar on the left, then check out any “active” logins you have.
If you don’t recognize a connected app or website, or if you haven’t used the service for a long time, please uninstall it. You can always reconnect the app in the future and you wouldn’t lose any data since nothing is stored on Facebook anyway.
Shortcut: Facebook > Settings > Apps & Websites.
Finally, preview how others see your profile
Facebook allows you to see how your Facebook profile appears to other people. This allows you to see what information you still have for the public to see.
To access this feature, go to your profile page and click on the ellipsis “…” icon just below your name. Select “View as” from the drop-down list and look around your profile. If you’re not comfortable with anything still on the screen, click “Exit View As” and enter the information you want.
Shortcut: Facebook > Profile.
Remember that Facebook is still a kind of wild west and protecting your personal information is essential if you want to use the service securely. Beware of this Facebook scam.
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