Facebook is a social media platform that is designed to enable people to easily find and contact each other. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want everyone to have access to all aspects of your online profile. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can tailor the privacy settings of your Facebook profile to limit what information is visible to others. Here are several steps you can take to make your Facebook profile more private.
There are two ways to access the privacy settings for your Facebook profile. The first is found under the padlock icon located in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page. Clicking this icon opens a “Privacy Shortcuts” dropdown menu with three headings.
- Who can see my stuff?
- Who can contact me?
- How do I stop someone from bothering me?
- See More Settings
Clicking one of the above headings opens a submenu that provides options for changing the privacy settings related to each of the questions. However, if you want to see all of your privacy setting options at once, you should click the “See More Settings” heading located below the three questions. This will bring you to the full “Privacy Settings and Tools” page.
Alternatively, you can simply click the cogwheel icon located next to the padlock icon in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page. This will open a dropdown menu that includes a “Privacy Settings” option. Clicking “Privacy Settings” will bring you directly to the full “Privacy Settings and Tools” page.
Privacy settings and tools
On the “Privacy Settings and Tools” page you will see three primary headings with multiple related subheadings under each one.
- Who can see my stuff?
- Who can see your future posts?
- Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in
- Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public?
- Who can contact me?
- Who can send you friend requests?
- Whose messages do I want filtered into my Inbox?
- Who can look me up?
- Who can look you up using the email address you provided?
- Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?
- Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?
Adjust your privacy settings
Clicking the links highlighted in blue text at the far right of each heading will open a dropdown menu with privacy setting options. The highest level of privacy you can select under a heading will be “Only Me,” which means that only you will have access to the information found in that category. The lowest level of privacy will be “Public,” which means that anyone will be able to access the information found in that category. Other mid-level privacy setting options include “Friends,” “Friends of Friends,” and “Friends except Acquaintances.”
It should be noted that not every heading will provide you with the “Only Me” level of privacy. For example, in the “Who can send you friend requests?” subheading under the “Who can contact me?” heading, the highest privacy level setting option is “Friends of friends.” Since Facebook is geared toward helping people connect with other people, the social media platform doesn’t provide a setting that makes you completely unreachable by other users, but only allows you to block complete strangers.
On the other hand, the feature that allows search engines to link to your timeline can be completely turned off by unchecking the appropriate box under the “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” subheading. According to Facebook, turning off this feature may take a while to take effect so don’t be surprised if you see your timeline still appearing in search engine results for some time.
Open the dropdown menus for each subheading and select the highest privacy level available under each one in order to maximize your overall Facebook privacy. Congratulations! You have just made your Facebook profile as private as possible.
As previously noted, it is impossible to make your Facebook profile completely private. However, if you want the ultimate level of privacy from Facebook, you always have the option to delete your profile. To delete your profile, click the cogwheel in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page and find the “Security” button (below “General”) on the left side of the page and click it. Find the blue highlighted text link titled, “Deactivate your account.” Click the link and simply follow the onscreen instructions.
Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS