A Brief Guide on Privacy Settings for Facebook

Zoe Bishop
Apr 3, 2011
Updated • Apr 16, 2015

When it comes to social networking these days, privacy is of the utmost importance. Nowadays, the most popular social networking sites are Facebook and Twitter. If you use either of these websites for anything then it is important that you understand the privacy settings fully.

If you do not then you are putting yourself at risk of several things happening. The first thing that you are putting yourself at risk of is hackers.

Hackers will do whatever they can to gain access to your personal information. They will stop at nothing, and if you are not using the privacy settings that are available then you are making yourself an easy target.

Cyber bullying is another risk. There are so many people out there who have had their information accessed by bullies and posted all over the internet. Of course, nobody wants either of these things to happen to them which is why it is a good idea to make sure that you know exactly how these privacy settings work.

Firstly, let’s take a look at Facebook. By logging into your account and clicking on the ‘Privacy Settings’ tab, you will see this page. You can alternatively use this link to go to the privacy page directly.

facebook privacy settings and tools

As you can see, this menu is entirely customizable. If you do not want anyone who is not on your friends list to access any of your information then you can do this from here.

If you don’t mind if friends of friends also have access to your profile then this is an option too.

The following options are provided on the page:

  1. Who can see your future posts.
  2. Option to review all posts and things you are tagged in.
  3. Limit the audience for posts you've shared with friends of friends or Public.
  4. Who can send you friend requests.
  5. Whose messages do I want filtered into my inbox.
  6. Who can look you up using the email address you provided.
  7. Who can look you up using the phone number you provided.
  8. Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?

First of all is the ‘Who can see my stuff’ section. This will include any status updates that you write, any wall posts that you make, or any photos that you upload. Obviously, the most sensible thing to do here is to set this to ‘Friends only’. This is because you do not want people that you do not know getting access to things that you have said, or your personal information or images.

There you can also review past posts and tags, and remove them if they are not appropriate anymore or if you don't want them to be visible anymore to a specific group on Facebook or the public.

Facebook modified the privacy settings page recently. It moved part of what was available on it to the profile page instead.

There you find for instance options to select who can see your birthday, religious views or language.

privacy information facebook

For example, if I wanted everyone to be able to see when my birthday is then I would first open my profile on the site and click on update info on the profile page.

I'd then switch to contact and basic info, scroll down until I find basic information and hover over the birth date and birth year fields. Facebook highlights the current visibility status of each entry, a click on edit allows you to modify it.


The ‘details about you’ section is up to you whether or not you would like to make this section private. However, it is important to remember that you may be putting private information about yourself in the Bio section which others will be able to see if you do allow this section to be public rather than private.

The ‘Family and Relationships’ section is another one that is best kept private. The reason for this is because if you allow this information to be public then everyone can see members of your family which not everyone would be comfortable with. Of course, it is up to you, but it is best to be on the safe side. The rest of the information in this section of the privacy settings would usually be better if it were set to ‘Friends Only’ or even 'Only Me', because it is all personal information.

You need to switch to the Timeline and Tagging settings when it comes to tagging and posting preferences.

timeline tagging

For example, if you would like to be notified when somebody tags you and you want to be able to give them permission then you can do this on this page.

The who can post on your timeline preference is usually best to be kept as ‘Friends Only’ or even "Only Me" so that you don’t get random people writing things on your wall.

Wall posts by friends is usually OK left as ‘Friends Only’ or ‘Friends of Friends’.

Other options you find on the page include the following:

  1. Option to review what other people see on your timeline.
  2. Define who can see posts you've been tagged in on your timeline.
  3. Define who can see what others post on your timeline.
  4. Option to add others to the audience of posts that you are tagged in.
  5. Configure who sees suggestions when photos are uploaded to Facebook that you are in.

You should remember that when you first sign up for Facebook your privacy settings will be set to default. What this means is that settings on your profile may be visible to people you don't know.

This means that anyone with access to the internet will be able to see everything that you have on your Facebook profile, including your contact information. This is why it is a good idea to change the settings before you actually start adding information to your profile.

A Brief Guide on Privacy Settings for Facebook
Article Name
A Brief Guide on Privacy Settings for Facebook
A quick overview of privacy settings on Facebook that provide you with information on where to find them and how to set them properly.

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  1. Hotrao said on April 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I think the guide is useful despite the fact that this brain confusing level of security that is implemented by Facebook for me is still unreliable and difficult to understand by average user.

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