Facebook puts privacy right in front of users

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 22, 2012
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Facebook

The problem with making changes on a popular site like Facebook is that there will always be a part of the user base that does not agree with the changes and dislikes them. It may be different for Facebook's latest change on site as it aims to give users of the site better control over their privacy settings.

While there have been some privacy related information right in front of users all the time, for instance information about who can see a post that you have made on the site, the bulk of privacy related settings was hidden deep in the options.

Once your account has received the upgrade - Facebook seems to still roll it out at the time of writing - you will notice a new icon next to Home and the settings button that is called Privacy Shortcuts. First time you open it it may look similar to what you see on the screenshot above.

facebook privacy shortcuts

There are three main groups of settings here, indicated by a white background, and in each group a selection of blue background items that provide you with privacy related account information and management options.

Who can see my stuff

  • Who can see my future posts
  • Where can I review all my posts and things I'm tagged in?
  • What do other people see on my timeline?

Who can contact me

  • Whose messages do I want filtered into my inbox?
  • Who can send me friend requests?

How do I stop someone from bothering me

  • Option to add a user to the block list
  • View block list

The options that you have here appear to be the most common privacy related options on Facebook. The company uses basic language to make it as easy as possible for everyone to check and configure those settings. Some settings can be configured right in the menu, like who can see your future posts or the inbox message filter, while others take you to a new page where you can check and configure them.

The privacy shortcuts are always displayed at the top so there is no chance for you to get lost somewhere in the depth of the Facebook website.

Activity Log

The Facebook Activity Log has been improved. It highlights all your major activities on the site. You see where you left a comment for instance, who tagged you in a photo, or with whom you became friends recently. A filter is available at the top that you can activate to include "only me" activities. Those activities are only visible by you.

Facebook highlights the visibility of each item that you appear in on the page. You can click on a review button at the top to review posts you were tagged in to add them to your timeline or hide them instead.

facebook activity log

What other Facebook users see on your timeline

The option to browse your timeline as a public or specific user has been improved as well. When you click on the What do other people see on my timeline link you are taken to your timeline to view it as a public user. Here you see all information and posts that everyone (meaning friends and non-friends) can see.

It is definitely a good idea to browse your Timeline profile at least once, especially the information section where you reveal information about yourself to make sure you only reveal what you want to. The view as specific person option gives you the option to browse your profile as if you were a specific friend. You can check what your mum can see when she browses your profile, or your boyfriend or class mates.

facebook timeline

Blocking people on Facebook

It has become a lot easier to block users on Facebook as the option is now available to you right from the privacy shortcuts menu. A click on "How do I stop someone from bothering me" opens a form where you can enter the username or email address of a Facebook users to block them from contacting you directly on site.

block facebook users

While this does not block them from interacting with you on third party posts or applications, it prevents them from messaging you directly and seeing things you post on your timeline.

Closing Words

The new privacy shortcuts on Facebook move major privacy settings right in front of the user. While it may still be easy enough to overlook, chance that this is happening is less than how privacy was previously configured on the site.

While rolling out the new privacy controls, Facebook also announced that it was testing options to give users of the site options to send messages right to another person's inbox and not the other folder. Non-friend messages appear in the other box automatically by default, and the new feature enables users of the site to send them to the inbox instead. It comes at a price though, with Facebook charging $1 for that privilege currently.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, https://www.ghacks.net/2023/03/31/whats-gif-explanation-and-how-to-use-it/#comment-4562919 (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IYl1sTIOHI

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/09/how-to-send-gifs-on-iphone-two-different-ways/]. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current ghacks.net is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, ghacks.net has changed in quality.
    >> ghacks.net/2023/09/02/microsoft-is-removing-wordpad-from-windows/#comment-4573130
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    >> ghacks.net/2023/08/31/in-windows-11-the-line-between-legitimate-and-adware-becomes-increasingly-blurred/#comment-4573117
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin: ghacks.net##.hentry,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))
    >> ghacks.net/2023/09/01/windows-11-development-overview-of-the-august-2023-changes/#comment-4573033

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.
    >> github.com/martinrotter/rssguard#readme

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

  9. sean conner said on September 27, 2023 at 6:21 am

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.