With so much personal information available on Facebook, including birthdays, jobs and family updates, it’s no surprise you don’t want all of your information shared with the world. When you want to exercise more control of what other Facebook users see, especially those who are not your friends, it’s incredibly easy to do. Follow these few steps to make your Facebook private.
How to Make Your Facebook Profile Private
To start moving your profile toward complete privacy, make sure all of your posts are limited to being viewable to just your friends.
1. Log in to your account and select the drop-down arrow in the upper-right corner of the Facebook screen. As the drop-down menu appears, select “Settings & Privacy,” then choose “Settings” again. When the Settings screen appears, look on the left side and locate and click the option for “Privacy.”
2. Look for the “Your Activity” section. It’s here that you can select things like who sees your posts or who can see the pages and people you follow.
3. Next to “Who can see your future posts?” if it says “Public,” make sure you click on the “Edit” button to set it to “Friends” so only those on your friends list can see what you publish. To go one step further, you can choose “Friends except” and add people on your friends list who won’t see any of your posts. You can instead choose “Specific friends” and only show your posts to a select group of people. The latter two options are definitely more private than the larger “Friends” but also require more manual setup.
4. If you want to be extra cautious, you can also do a sweep of all of your older posts and “Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public” historically. If you choose this option, all of your previous posts will now only be viewable by your friends. Any friends or non-friends (Public) will no longer be able to see the post.
5. Right below the option in the previous step is another setting for “Who can see the people, Pages and lists you follow?” This is a good step to ensure as much privacy as possible by setting this option to “Only me”. You can also set it to the same set of groups in step four with Friends, Friends except, Specific friends, etc. but each of those offer limited privacy. The best choice here is “Only me,” as that way you can be sure nobody can see a good chunk of your profile.
How to Limit Who Can Contact You
In the same way you locked down your posts in the steps above, it’s time to do the same with your friends list.
1. Start by clicking on “Who can see your friends list?” and making sure it’s set to “Only me”. Again, you have a few choices here, but if privacy is your biggest concern, choosing “Only me” is the best for your peace of mind.
2. There are a few other options here that you should manually set to “Friends” or “Only me.”
- “Who can look you up using the email address you provided?” It’s best to set this one to friends, as they likely already know your email, but you can also choose “Only me” for strict privacy.
- “Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?” The same thought as above applies here. “Only me” is the most private, but “Friends” is probably okay since your friends likely already know your digits.
- “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?” This one is a definite no. You don’t want your profile to be discoverable through Google, Bing, etc.
How to Control Privacy Settings on Facebook App
Your Facebook an be easily made private on the mobile app, too.
1. Begin by launching the Facebook app on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. At the bottom right of the screen is a three-line menu you can tap on. Scroll down until you see the menu option for “Settings & Privacy” and tap on that so a list of options appears. “Settings” should be at the top of the list. Tap on it and scroll down until you see “Privacy.”
2. Under Privacy, tap on the very first option, “Privacy Settings,” then tap on the first option labeled “Check a few important settings.”
3. In this menu, the first box on the left is “Who can see what you share.” Tap on this and on “Continue” to locate the settings for “Friends and Following.” Here you should change both of these two settings, “Who can see your friends list on your profile?” and “Who can see the people, Pages and lists you follow?” to “Only me.”
4. Once changes have been made, tap on Next and edit “Future Posts” and “Stories” to “Friends” for the best privacy level. Similar to the desktop, you can also see “Limit Past Posts” to remove non-friends from previously-tagged photos or posts. Tap Next again to save all of the changes and go back to your Facebook feed.
Facebook is an incredible tool that has connected billions of users around the world. Instead of sharing with the public, it is best to make your Facebook private and only share with your friends. You can easily change your settings to do that, and reversing the process is just as easy. And if you ever feel like getting rid of your account, know that you can still view content without a Facebook account.