Protecting your privacy in the age of social media can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the features of your profile. I’ve noticed many people still don’t know how to manage their privacy settings on Facebook, especially since these features are constantly changing. It’s important to know how to limit your audience and protect your information so that you don’t fall prey to online frauds – or you can just avoid having the wrong people see your posts.
Maintain your privacy and protect your information with the help of this no-bullshit guide to managing your privacy settings.
Checking and changing your basic settings
It’s easy to check what your current privacy settings are. Just login to your account and click on the padlock on the upper right hand corner of your window – this is the icon for Privacy Shortcuts. The first item you’ll see is the Privacy Checkup, also known as the blue dinosaur.
From here, you’ll see three shortcuts: who can see your stuff, which lets you change the default privacy settings for all your posts; who can contact you, which lets you select who can send you friend requests and messages; and how to stop someone from bothering you, which let’s you block specific users. These are the basic privacy settings you need to change.
To ensure that your future posts are only seen by your preferred group, edit the privacy settings on your wall. This becomes the default privacy setting for all posts.
Setting Up Your “About Me” Privacy
After taking care of your basic privacy settings, it’s time to decide what shows up in your About Me section. You can change the privacy for your profile sections individually, so that you can show your Current City to everyone but keep your birth date to a customized list – and even hide the year so that only you can see it!
Just go to your profile and click the About tab, and click on the Edit link for each section to open the items and set the privacy settings for each. This is especially important because your email addresses and phone numbers may be displayed in your public profile if you don’t change the privacy settings. Take the time to check each detail and set who has access to your information accordingly!
Privacy Settings for Older Posts
Now that you’ve taken care of your future posts and your profile privacy settings, it’s time to handle the settings for your older posts – especially those posted back when Facebook didn’t offer in-line privacy selection. This was the case for older versions of Facebook mobile and Facebook for Blackberry. Unless you’ve individually changed their privacy settings, these older posts might be set in public.
You can revisit the posts and change their settings or you can pull everything from the public view first before customizing their privacy settings one by one. To do that, just make your way to the privacy shortcuts and click on “See more settings”. Under “Who can see my stuff,” you will find an option to limit past posts. You can change this so that only your friends can view the posts.
Removing Third-Party Apps
One of the most intrusive things on Facebook that take your information and share it with advertisers are third-party apps. In order to limit the information you provide each app (or remove apps that you don’t use altogether), you have to go to your extended privacy settings. Click on See More Settings in the Privacy Shortcuts and navigate to Apps. You will see this window:
From here, you can change the permissions on each app that is associated with your Facebook. You can also unlink an app to your Facebook so it will stop reading your data.
After fixing your privacy settings, you will also want to protect your account to ensure your information stays safe. Activating third-party authentication on your phone or login notifications on your email will help you keep track of when your account is accessed and from where. This will help ensure that your privacy is protected.