With more than 500 million users, Facebook connects you to a vast network of people across the globe. It’s natural to be concerned about your privacy when posting personal information and photos online. But like the off-line world, the best approach is to use common sense. With that in mind, we’ve created this user guide to make you aware of how to set your privacy settings on Facebook.
By being proactive about your settings, you ultimately have more control over what you share. However, there is much more to Facebook’s privacy settings than we have covered in this guide. We encourage you to read more about these features to select the degree of security and privacy that makes you feel the most comfortable.
To access and change these settings, log in to your account, click on the dropdown menu in the top, right-hand side of the main page, and select “Privacy Settings.” View the screenshot below for additional guidance.
Facebook now offers the ability to customize your audience whenever you share content, such as a status update or information on your profile. Before you share something, be sure you have selected the right audience from the Audience Selector tool (it looks like a circular gear). Facebook encourages people to be social and share information, so remember: the people you choose to share you information with can also share that information with others.
Unless you want to share with everyone on Facebook, it’s wise to select the “Custom” setting as your default. You can then fine-tune the people you want to share with. Facebook will remember the audience you select for each post, and will default to that setting with your next post—so if you select “Public,” it will default to “Public” indefinitely until you change it via Audience Selector.
This section gives you the ability to control who can contact you, find you in a search, post on your Wall, and other settings. In most cases, it is best to select “Custom” or “Friends” and only choose the people with whom you are comfortable sharing your information. If you want to reconnect with old friends and wish to make your profile more visible, however, you have the option to select “Everyone.”
Tags are a great way to share photos with friends by identifying (or “tagging”) them in the photo. But it’s best to enable “Profile Review” and “Tag Review” in your default privacy settings because it notifies you when you have been tagged and gives you a chance to approve or deny the request.
Facebook will default to the “Friends” audience for any information you share as a result of downloading apps and games. However, you can change this by selecting Account from the dropdown menu, clicking on “Account Settings,” then “App Settings,” and finally, “App privacy.” You will never be required to share your Social Security Number or credit card number unless its requested by an authorized vendor for a legitimate purchase.
This setting allows you to convert anything that was previously posted with an audience of “Public” to an audience of just “Friends.” It is a simple and easy way to scale down your visibility to only the people you have authorized as Friends.
When you add someone to your Restricted list, they will only see posts you have designated as “Public.” When you add someone to your Blocked list, they can no longer be your friend on Facebook or interact with you through Facebook.