Less Used Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook privacy is a hot issue but let’s face it, this social-network service has become a very important part of our networking lives. Our family relatives, friends, acquaintances, and even business contacts are using Facebook. But so are the unwanted, the annoying, the trolls, and those people who loves to piss us off yet we do not want to be harsh against them.

Blocking and reporting them aside, are there other ways to keep them off our timeline and status updates without totally alienating them, or worst, let them know about it?

There is or are. We are going to combine the different not-so-obvious features of Facebook to enable us to control who gets to see our status updates, our shares, and even who gets to comment and tag people.

Get a coffee or tea because this is going to take a few minutes. Ready?

Obviously, before you follow the instructions below, be sure you have logged-in to your Facebook account. Done?

Option I: Facebook Privacy Settings

  1. Click on the wheel icon in the upper-right corner of your Facebook screen, then click on “Privacy Settings” (see Figure 1.1)
    FB-Privacy-Fig1.1.png

    Figure 1.1
  2. Once you are in the “Privacy Settings and Tools” page, you have to change the following settings (see Figure 1.2)
    FB-Privacy-Fig1.2.png

    Figure 1.2
    1. Who can see my stuff?
      • Who can see your future posts? – Set this to “Friends”.
        FB-Privacy-Fig1.3.png

        Figure 1.3

        The setting above is overridden if you change your post privacy when making a new post or re-share (see Figure 1.3)

      • Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public? – This is optional but strongly suggested. What this option does is set all your past status updates to: “Friends”, including your apps (more on this later).
    2. Who can look me up?
      • Who can look you up using the email address or phone number you provided? – Set this to “Friends” to reduce the number of people finding you on Facebook.

        For example, I am trying to find out who owns a particular phone number. All I have to do is to enter it in Facebook search and it will show the accounts with that number. If you set this to “Friends”, then only your existing Facebook friends will receive a successful search result.

Option II: Timeline and Tagging

FB-Privacy-Fig2.1.png

Figure 2.1
  1. Now click on “Timeline and Tagging” on the left side menu of Facebook (it is just under the “Privacy” tab)
  2. Once there, just set the following to my suggested settings (see Figure 2.1), of course you can set it differently, but for now set it based on my suggestions.
    1. Who can add things to my timeline?
      • Who can post on your timeline? – Set to “Friends”
      • Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline? – Set to “On”
    2. Who can see things on my timeline?
      • Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline? – Set to “Friends”
      • Who can see what others post on your timeline? – Set to “Friends”
    3. How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?
      • Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook? – Set to “On”
      • When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren’t already in it? – Set to “Friends”.

        This means that your other friends who weren’t tagged in the same post you were tagged in, can also see the post. But being able to comment on that tagged post depends on the settings of the original post-owner.

      • Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded? – Set this to “Friends”. Useful to avoid photo-tag spammers.

Option III: Blocking

FB-Privacy-Fig3.1.png

Figure 3.1
  1. Again, on the left side menu, click on “Blocking” (just below “Timeline and Tagging”)
  2. There are many useful blocking features in this tab, but for now we are only concerned on “Restricted List” (see Figure 3.1)

    This is a very useful feature that is more appropriate to be placed in the “Privacy” tab. Any connected friends you put in the “Restricted List” will only see posts you made “Public” or where they were tagged. Put those connected friends to this list, typically people you do not want to know or read anything about you unless you explicitly want them to know. No, they will never know you placed them in your “Restricted List”.

Option IV: Followers

FB-Privacy-Fig4.1.png

Figure 4.1
  1. Next, click on the “Followers” section in the left side menu of Facebook (see Figure 4.1)
  2. Turn On Follow – check the checkbox to activate it
  3. Follower Comments – you can set it to “Everybody”, “Friends of Friends”, and “Friends”

What is “Follow” feature?

What is this feature anyway? This feature is useful if, like me, you do not want to approve all friend requests but you do not want to alienate them from reading your Public status updates. Or the other way, it is also useful to those people who does not want to add you as a “friend” but likes to follow your status updates.

You can leave it disabled but it does not mean no one can read your Public posts. The difference is that, non-friend users will have to visit your profile manually to see your Public updates.

What is “Follower Comments”?

If you turned-on the Follow feature, then you have the option to set it if your “Followers” can comment on your, again, Public posts.

Extra: Apps

FB-Privacy-Fig5.1.png

Figure 5.1

Let’s talk about apps. Recall that earlier I mentioned about it when you “Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public?” When you do that, it affects all your apps as well, which is correct in my opinion.

To go through each of your apps and set the privacy to your own preference simply, plus two equally important settings:

  1. Click the “Apps” section on the left side menu of Facebook
  2. Then click the “Edit” link, per app, and change it to “Public”, “Friends of Friends”, “Friends”, or “Only Me”
  3. Apps others use

    Most Facebook apps use the information entered by “friends” to work. A good example is one of the “birthday” apps available. This setting “Apps others use” allows you to control which of your filled-up information can be used by these apps.

    Let’s say you disabled the sharing of your birthday. You friend who started using a birthday app will not be able to see your birthday in that app. But your friend can still see your birthdate when s/he visits your profile manually.

    There are plenty of options to turn-off so you should take time to check it out.

  4. Old versions of Facebook for mobile – set this to “Friends of Friends” or better yet “Friends”

    There are still some apps (fewer today) that doesn’t use or weren’t coded yet to the latest guidelines and requirements of Facebook App/Developer. As Facebook said in their description, apps such as outdated version of Facebook for Blackberry, which usually are fixed or locked-up to a certain version.

    By setting this feature to “Friends of Friends” or “Friends” or “Only Me”, you are making all such apps to follow that particular privacy setting. You will never be able to set it on a per app basis, unless Facebook adds that feature. Even though there are fewer of such apps, it is best practice to still set it to your choice of privacy.

Tip: When Posting / Re-Sharing

After all these changes, there is one very important tip I’d like to share. If you want to keep (total) privacy, you will have to change your habit when posting status updates, uploading photos, adding a new app (or playing games), or re-sharing. These are:

  • As was shown in Figure 1.3 earlier, you now have to make sure that when posting an update or re-sharing your friend’s greatest post ev’r, make sure that it is set to “Friends” or “Friends of Friends” or “Custom” (you get to choose which of your friend list will see it; or choose individually) or “Friends, except Acquaintances”. If you post it in Public, everyone will see it, like it, and depending on your setting, even comment on it.
  • When your latest photos, always go to your Facebook Photos section/tab and check the privacy/permission setting of (a) each album; and (b) each photo. The privacy/permission setting of your uploaded photos depends on the per photo setting or the album setting.
  • You also have to remember that all posts where a person liked your post, was tagged, or commented on, will not be affected by the privacy settings you did earlier – even if you unfriend them, put them into your “Restricted List”, or set all your posts to “Friends” only. Untagging and deleting their comments will work but there is no way to make them unlike your old posts.

Basically, change your habit. Even after all the Privacy features and measures you did or will do, if you do not change your habit all of it will be for nothing. In Facebook’s case, stop posting in “Public” mode, stop approving friend requests, and start filtering your friends into friend lists.

I hope it helped you as much as it helped me.

Hat tip to JF for the idea to write this how-to.

Is a self-confessed bibliophile and technophile other than being an early adopter, an avid gamer, a geek, nerd, role-player, anime otaku, and trekker.

His first online project was in 1998 when he launched the unofficial website for Ansalon MUD and his own community forums Laibcoms.Community. By 2003 he created his work blog GM-Yukino which grew into gameshogun™, Snoworld™, and techmagus™.

His website is jcsesecuneta.com and 1way.faith. He also owns Clean Real Food, YourOnly.One, Adorable & Beautiful, and other online properties.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Less Used Facebook Privacy Settings by Yuki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Legal Notice.

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