Unless you are a total social media geek (like myself), you are likely not up-to-date on all of the recent privacy changes on Facebook. Many people ask me: “How do I make my Facebook page as private as possible?” In response to the demand, (and to make your life easier) here is a step-by-step guide on Facebook Privacy.
Step 1: This is where you start!
Take a look at the top right corner of your Facebook page and click on the arrow pointing down. You will see a drop down menu. Click on the “Settings” button.
Step 2: We are just beginning!
Completing step 1 will bring you to the “General Account Settings” page. Here, you will see several options on the left hand side — click on “Privacy.”
Step 3: Who can see my stuff?
This section pertains to your future posts. You have several options on who can actually see what you post on Facebook. One tip that most people don’t know about is that you can create a custom group. For example, you can create a group called “family,” where you can post about an upcoming birthday party location and only people in your chosen family group will see that post! Even with this added feature, I suggest selecting the “Friends” setting.
Step 4: Who can send you friend requests?
This section gives you two options – “Everyone” or “Friends of Friends.” Personally, I wish there was a “No One” option! Since this option doesn’t exist, the next best choice is to select “Friends of Friends.”
Step 5: Whose messages do I want to filter into my inbox?
This section doesn’t, technically, have anything to do with privacy, but I thought it should be explained. You have two options here: “Basic filtering” and “Strict filtering.” I have mine set to “Basic,” because I always forget about the other inbox. If you really don’t want people who are you aren’t already connected to messaging you, then you should select “Strict.”
Step 6: Who can look you up?
This section only applies to those who can not see your email address. If you have your email address posted on your profile then you should select “Friends.” (I, personally, do not want strangers to be able to see my email address, so I don’t have it on my profile.) If you want people to be able to find you, then you should select “Everyone.”
Step7: Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?
This step is similar to Step 6. To stay super private, select “Friends.” If you don’t mind some of your friends’ friends having access to your phone number, click on “Friends of Friends” option.
Step 8: (The final step!) Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?
This is the most important privacy setting for Facebook. When people use Google (or Bing) to search for you with your name, your Facebook profile will show up in the search results. If you want to stay private, do NOT check this box! As for me, I don’t have this box checked, because I don’t want others finding my page.
If you choose the most private option in all of these steps, you have upped your settings to be as private as Facebook will allow. For those who don’t think this is enough, consider avoiding posting personal information on your Facebook page (personal photos, email, phone number, etc.). Some users will even change their names on their account, so they aren’t as easy to identify. As for reasons why you should try to keep your account private, many are concerned with identity theft.