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Facebook Privacy Settings you need to know

Privacy Settings for any online service is a very sensitive issue. Facebook is one of the social media service which is always in news. So I think its important for you to know about Facebook privacy settings in detail.

You must have came across the news like:

All these news make you think whether you should use these “Social Media Platforms” or you should quit. It’s easy to quit but thats not a good solution.

If you quit then how would you connect to your distant friends, family, and relatives? Who will update you about the happening in their life? How you will be updated about the news, jokes, memes, health tips and more?

In this post, I will try to answer almost all your questions about Privacy and Security Settings on Facebook. This will help you to protect your Facebook profile from breaches.

FAQs about Facebook Privacy Settings

Why do you need to change your Facebook privacy settings?

First, let’s throw some light on the question “Why do you need to change your Facebook privacy settings?”

Whenever you log in for  Facebook, sometimes you share your moments and sometimes you share what you are feeling? Now the question is how sure you are about your sharing to the friends whom you really want to share with? And what if Facebook “accidentally” resets your settings, like what happened in 2011.

To help you out, I am going to answer most important questions on Facebook Privacy and Security Settings.

1. Concerns about Facebook Password?

Passwords are the most common way to prove your identity when using websites, apps, email services and other online services. Passwords ensure the security and confidentiality of data stored on various servers across the world.

Why Do you need a strong password?

The use of strong passwords is necessary in order to protect your security and identity. Make sure you use a strong password and do not share your password to anyone else. When it comes to creating complex passwords people often feel the fear of forgetting them.

So, here is a way for you. For example, If your name contain the alphabet a use as “@“, for S use as “$”, number as “#” and add numeric of your birthday or memorable date in “password” that will be easy for you to memorise.

Another solution, you can use Password generator or Password Manager like Dashlane Password Manager, to safeguard your passwords.

Dashlane Password Manager is also among our list of recommended apps for Android.

Next natural question is how to change Facebook Password?

How to change your Facebook password?

We divide it into 3 parts based on your device.

Desktop Website

Step 1: Sign in your Facebook account.

Step 2: Select the arrow at the upper-right corner and select “Settings” and click on “Security and login

Step 3: Tap on the “Edit” in the “Password” section.

Step 4: Enter your current password, then enter your new password in the “New” and “Re-type New” fields.

Step 5: Click on “Save Changes”.

Your Facebook password is now set to a new password.

How to Change Facebook Password?
How to Change Facebook Password?

Mobile Website

Perform these steps:

Step 1: Sign in your Facebook account.

Step 2: Click on the button located at the upper-right corner.

Step 3: Scroll downwards and select “Settings”.

Step 4: Select “Security and Login”

Step 5: Click on “Change Password”

Step 6: Enter the “Current password” and then enter a new password and re-type the new password.

Step 7: Click on “Save Changes”

iOS App

Step 1: Tap on the menu button placed at the lower-right side.

Step 2: Click on “Settings & Privacy” and select “Setting”

Step 3: Under “Security” select “Security an login”

Step 4: Click on “Change Password”

Step 5: Enter the “Current password” and then enter a new password and re-type the new password.

Step 6: Click on “Save Changes”

 Android App

Step 1: Sign in Facebook app.

Step 2: Click on the Menu button at the upper-right.

Step 3: Choose “Account settings“. and select “General“.

Step 4: Click on “Password“. Enter your current password, then enter your new password in“New” and “Re-type New” fields.

Step 5: Now click on is “Save Changes.”

2. Concerns about external apps using your Facebook data

You might be logged in to hundreds of apps with your Facebook account. According to Facebook, those apps can see your friends list, your profile picture, networks you belong to and any other public information on your profile.

How to find which apps have access to your data?

  1. On the desktop or in the mobile app, tap menu on the top-right side of Facebook and select “Settings”.
  2. Select the “Apps and Websites” option.
  3. Once you click on it you have three options with you “Active. Expired and Removed Apps lists”
  4. On clicking a particular app, you will get to know about, what information is being shared with an app like “Friends list, Date of birth, Page likes and e-mail address, etc”. 
Apps which have access to your Facebook data

How to deny access to your Facebook data to unwanted apps ?

Step 1: Determine the app which is using your data too much.

Step 2: Click on the name of the app, this will give you more details about what data is being shared with that app.

Step 3: You will see various switch buttons which determine what data is being shared. You can turn off the switch buttons to deny the sharing of that information.

Step 4: You can edit who can see the posts of this app. Options are Public, Friends, Me, Custom Lists.

Step 5: After you have made your changes, you can click on Save button to finalise the changes.

Info shared with individual app from your Facebook Account

How to disable Facebook Integration with apps permanently?

Step 1: Determine the apps which have your data using the above steps.

Step 2: Select the app (which you want to deny or remove) using checkbox.

Step 3: Click on Remove button on top right of the grid which displays the list of apps and websites.

Unfortunately, the data that you’ve previously shared will still be obtained by the app, but it won’t get updated with any new data.

3. How to run Facebook privacy checkup?

The Privacy Checkup helps you review who can see your posts and information (like your phone number and email address). To set with whom you want to share your information, you can review and adjust your privacy settings 

Open Facebook Privacy Checkup

Step 1: Click on help icon on top of any page of Facebook.

Step 2: Select Privacy Checkup Option. Following figure explains better.

Facebook Privacy Checkup Tool
Facebook Privacy Checkup Tool

You’ll be guided through a set of Steps to review your current settings, you can change them and click next to save.

Facebook Privacy Checkup - Profile
Facebook Privacy Checkup – Profile

Once you complete all the steps, you should be assure that most of your security settings are correct.

4. How to control who sees your Facebook Posts?

You can do this using audience selector(figure below) that you can find in most places where you share status updates, photos and other posts.

Audience Selector on Facebook Post
Audience Selector on Facebook Post

Click on it and you can choose from the options like Public, Friends, Friends Expect, Specific Friends or Only me. It automatically remembers the audience you shared with the last time unless you change it. 

5. How to control who sees your app activity on Facebook?

App visibility setting controls who on Facebook can see lists of app you are using. To adjust visibility of your app activity, follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to Apps and Websites section in your settings using this link https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=applications

Step 2: Search and Select the app whose visibility you want to change.

Step 3: Scroll down to App visibility section and adjust the audience using audience selector as explained in previous point on this post.

Control App Activity Visibility on your Facebook Profile
Control App Activity Visibility on your Facebook Profile

Step 4: Click on Save button to commit your changes.

6. How to hide birthday on FB?

Suppose you don’t want your birthday announced on Facebook, what would you do? Follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to your Profile Page or open this link in your web browser https://www.facebook.com/me

Step 2: Click on About tab.

Step 3: Then, choose Contact and Basic Info.

Step 4: In the Basic Information section, you can edit your birth date and birth year and also the audience who can see your birthday.

From the audience selector dropdown, choose Only Me. This way, no one else can know about your birthday from Facebook.

Hide Birthday on Facebook
Hide Birthday on Facebook

Click on “Save changes”. That’s it.

Now nobody can know about your birthday from your Facebook profile without your consent.

7. How to turn off birthday notifications on Facebook?

Using Website

Step 1: Open Facebook Settings and Click on Notifications.

Step 2: Click on Edit button on the right side of “On Facebook” row.

Step 3: Find Birthdays’ option. Choose Off from the dropdown on the right.

That’s it. See image below to understand better.

Turn off Birthday Notifications
Turn off Birthday Notifications

Using Mobile App

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Notification Settings
  3. Click on Birthdays
  4. You’ll see various Switch buttons for settings like push notifications, email, SMS, upcoming birthdays or belated birthdays.
  5. Turn off “Allow notifications on Facebook”

Thats all you need to do.

8. How to hide a new Facebook post from timeline?

There may be posts on your Facebook timeline, which you want to hide from your friends or public. You can hide them from your timeline.

Step 1: Go to the post and over the top right corner of the post, you will see 3 dots as shown in image below.

Step 2: Click on the 3 dots and choose “Hide from timeline” option from the dropdown.

HIde Post from Timeline
HIde Post from Timeline

9. How to stop others from sharing my photos on Facebook?

Currently there is no direct way to do this. You can simply hide the photo from others in order to avoid sharing.

You can follow steps mentioned in Point 4 of this post about How to control who sees your Facebook Posts?

10. How to check my public Facebook profile?

Sadly, it is not possible at the moment. Facebook used to have “View As” button, where you could see your profile just like others would.

But recently Facebook scraped this feature due to security breach.

11. How to permanently block someone on Facebook?

  1. Go to Facebook settings screen or open URL https://www.facebook.com/settings in your web browser.
  2. Click on Blocking option from sidebar.
  3. Search the person’s name by typing the name in search box provided and click Block.
Block Someone on Facebook from settings screen
Block Someone on Facebook from settings screen

From the same screen you can also block messages, app invites, event invites, pages or apps.

There is one more simple way of blocking someone on Facebook.

  1. Go to the timeline of person who you want to block
  2. Click on 3 dots (options) on the right side of Message button.
  3. Select Block, new popup box will come up. You can give your confirmation and this person will be blocked.
Block from someone on Facebook from timeline
Block from someone on Facebook from timeline

Now this person cannot search you, or contact you through Facebook.

12. How to limit old posts on Facebook?

This option is used to hide all your posts on Facebook in the pasts and turn them private. They will not be deleted but nobody can see them. Only you can see them. Here are the steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Go to settings screen or open this URL https://www.facebook.com/settings in your browser.

Step 2: Select “Privacy” from the left sidebar.

Step 3: Click on “Limit Past Posts” in “Your Activity” section.

Step 4: Confirm again by clicking on “Limit Past Posts”.

Limit Past Posts on Facebook
Limit Past Posts on Facebook

That’s it. All you past posts are now private. If you want your old posts to be visible again, then you have to do it one by one from your timeline.

13. How to change audience on the Facebook post?

Suppose you posted something on Facebook and you just want it to be visible to your friends and no-one else. Then follow these steps.

  1. Click on the Facebook timeline and scroll down to the post.
  2. Tap the audience selector, the icon will be different depending on its current audience settings.
  3. Select your audience from the drop-down options (example: Public, Friends, Only Me, Custom List).

Once you have made this selection, your post visibility is changed immediately.

14. How to limit friend requests on Facebook?

Are you receiving a lot of friend requests from strangers lately? Follow these steps to limt the amount of friend requests which you receive on your Facebook account.

  1. Open Settings page or go to this URL in your browser https://www.facebook.com/settings.
  2. Select Privacy from left sidebar.
  3. Scroll down to the section “How people can find and contact you.” click the Edit  for the question, “Who can send you friend requests?” Choose Friends of Friends and then Done.
Limit Friend Requests on Facebook
Limit Friend Requests on Facebook

Now any random people on Facebook cannot send you friend request.

15. How to stop Facebook from tracking your location

  1. Tap on the menu option on the top right below messenger button,
  2. Select “Privacy Shortcuts” in mobile app under “Settings and Privacy” section
  3. Tap on “Manage your location settings”.
  4. You’ll see “Location Access”, click on it.
  5. On the new screen you’ll see “Location Services” and “Background Location” switches. Turn off both of them.

16. How to remove a tag from Facebook?

There might be the case when someone tags in you in a photo but you dont want to be tagged in that photo. We all have such friends 😉

Follow these steps to remove your tag from the photo on Facebook.

  1. Click on the photo 
  2. Click Report/ Remove Tag below the photo 
  3. Click I want to untag myself.

For some types of tags, you may need to go to the post on a desktop computer to remove it.

17. How do I change what the public sees on my Facebook profile?

Your Facebook profile consists of your posts, photos, videos and your background info. Information like your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, username, and user ID (account number) is public by default.

Hide / Show Family and Relationships on your profile

To edit your family and relationships, follow these steps:

  1. Click on About in your profile section,
  2. Then go to “Family and Relationships” and tap Edit.
  3. The audience selector next to information will help you to set the audience. If you choose “Only Me”, nobody else can see this information. Check Image below.
Hide Family Member Facebook
Hide Family Member Facebook

Who can post on your timeline?

You and your friends can post content to your timeline. (if you allow them to) You can disable posts from particular friend in your timeline. Check Question no 21 on this post.

Who can see your posts?

You can control your post by choosing the audience. I have already explained about Audience Selector. You can go to “4. How to control who sees your Facebook Posts?” in this post to read again.

How can you turn on “Timeline Approval”? (so that nobody can see your tags before you approve)

You can approve or dismiss the tagged photos, posts, and app activities. This can be done by activating the “Timeline Approval”. This will allow you to approve any tagged photo / tagged post or tagged app activity, before it can be seen by anybody else on the Facebook. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Open Facebook Settings from dropdown at top right or you can go to this URL directly https://www.facebook.com/settings.
  2. Click on Timeline and Tagging.
  3. Click on Edit button on the right side of setting called “Review posts you’re tagged in before the post appears on your timeline?” as shown in image below.
  4. Enabled it from the dropdown provided. That’s it
Enable Timeline Review on Facebook
Enable Timeline Review

Now whenever somebody tags you and you click on the notification. It will take you to “Timeline Approval” screen. Here you can approve or disapprove the tagged post.

18. How to stop strangers from messaging you on Facebook?

You can block messages from strangers by blocking them on messenger. Follow these steps to block someone from messaging you on Facebook.

  • In the chat window, click on the option icon
  • Select the option Block
  • A pop up will appear 
  • Tap “Confirm” and you are done.
Block Messages on  Facebook
Block Messages on Facebook

19. How to deactivate my Facebook account?

Do you want to take a short break from Facebook? None of your friends will be able to see your posts. They will not be able to contact you through Facebook. It would be like your account never exist. You can re-activate your account normally later whenever you want to come back. Here are the steps you need to follow to de-activate your account:

  1. Open Settings or Open this URL in your Facebook browser https://www.facebook.com/settings.
  2. Choose ‘Your Facebook Information’ in the left column.
  3. Click on ‘Deactivation and Deletion’. Now you will be presented by 2 options, Deactivate account and Permanently Delete Account
  4. Choose “Deactivate Account” and Click on “Continue to Account Deactivation”.
  5. You’ll need to enter your current password and then click on Continue.
Deactivate Facebook Account
Deactivate Facebook Account

Now your account will be deactivated and your posts / your profile will not be visible to your friends or public.

To reactivate your account after deactivating, simply log in Facebook with your e-mail and password. Your profile will be intact.

20. How to log out of all devices on Facebook mobile?

There can be a situation when you had logged in into multiple devices. But now you want to logout from those devices without having physical access to those devices. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings in your Mobile App or Open this URL in your Facebook browser https://www.facebook.com/settings.
  2. Tap “Security and Login Settings” in the left column
  3. Click on “See More” in “Where You’re Logged In” section. You will see all the devices you’re logged in. 
  4. Select the session you want to end. Click and then click Log Out.
  5. Tapping Log Out will log out your Facebook account on that device
  6. Clicking on “Log out of all sessions” will log you out from all of the devices.

21. How to block one person from posting on your timeline?

You might have a friend whose posts are irritating. You don’t want him to be spoiling your timeline all the time. Follow these steps to block that friend from posting on your timeline.

  1. Open Facebook App Settings or Open this URL in browser https://www.facebook.com/settings
  2. Click Timeline and Tagging in the left column.
  3. Click on “Edit” button next to “Who can post on your Timeline?”.
  4. Choose “Only Me” and that’s it.

But this technique will block everyone from posting on your timeline. Currently Facebook doesn’t allow you to block single person from posting on your timeline.

Alternatively, you can hide all your timeline posts from public, so that nobody else can see embarrassing post from one of your friends.

22. How to block App requests on Facebook?

There are times when you can get irritated by the notifications of App invites from your friends. The good news is that you can avoid this by blocking app invites from the settings by following the steps below.

  1. Open settings from your app or open settings URL from the browser.
  2. Choose Blocking in the left column
  3. Scroll down to “Block app invites” section.
  4. Type the name or email of the person you want to stop sending you app invites.
Block App Invites on Facebook
Block App Invites on Facebook

23. How To Block Event Invites On Facebook?

This is similar to above point. You just need to follow almost same steps. Here are the steps:

  1. Open settings from your app or open settings URL from the browser.
  2. Choose Blocking in the left column
  3. In the “Block event invites” section.
  4. type the name or email of the person you want to stop sending you app invites.
Block Event Invites on Facebook
Block Event Invites on Facebook

24. How can I hide my friend list on Facebook?

You may not like someone to spy on you and your friends. For that it is necessary to hide your friend list on Facebook from public. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to your profile or go to URL https://facebook.com/me
  2. Click Friends below the cover photo
  3. Tap Edit button( pencil icon) and then click on Edit Privacy 
  4. From the dropdown menu select audience (ex: Friends, Public, Only me) with whom you want to share your friend list.
Hide Friendlist on Facebook
Hide Friendlist on Facebook

25. How to hide photos on Facebook from the public?

You can either hide a particular photo from the audience or you can also hide entire “Facebook Album” from the public. It is basically provided by Audience Selector for photo or entire album. Follow these steps to hide album on your Facebook profile.

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Tap Photos, then tap Albums.
  3. Select the album for which you want to change the privacy settings.
  4. Tap Edit in the top right.
  5. Click Audience Selector to bring up the drop-down which defines who can see this photo. See Image Below
Hide Facebook Album from Facebook
Hide Facebook Album from Facebook

26. How to manage Facebook Ad Preferences & opt out of Ad Tracking?

Facebook serves ads, it has thousands of publishers who advertise their business. Facebook shows you ads based on your preferences. Here is how to edit those preferences.

Manage Facebook Ad Preferences

  1. Open Facebook Settings.
  2. Tap Adverts or Ads on the left sidebar.
  3. You can add/remove “Your Interests“.
  4. You’ll also see “Advertisers and Businesses“, whose ads you have interacted with. You can also add/remove these.
  5. There is another Tab called “Your Information“. Advertisers reach you in based on this information.
  6. Also, there are categories into which you are automatically added. You can opt out of any of the category.
  7. You can also choose to hide certain ad topics like Alcohol, Parenting, and Pet.
Facebook Ads Preferences
Facebook Ads Preferences

27. Protect your Facebook account from hackers

You can protect your Facebook account from hackers by following these guidelines.

Keep Strong password

As already discussed above in 1st point of this post, you need to have a strong password from security point of view, so that nobody can crack it easily. Steps to change the Facebook password are also mentioned in point 1.

Enable two-factor authentication

2 Factor authentication means, 2 step process to verify that you are the owner of the account which you are trying to access. Suppose somebody cracks your password because it was weak password. Still you can block access to your account by enabling two factor authentication.

In 2 factor authentication, Facebook sends a unique code to your registered mobile device. You need to enter that unique code (in addition to password), in order to access your account.

Follow these steps to enable two factor authentication:

Step 1: Click on Settings > Security and Login option or Open this URL in your web browser https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security.

Step 2: In the Two-Factor Authentication” section, click first Edit button.

Use two factor authentication in Facebook
Use two factor authentication in Facebook

Step 3: You’ll need to enter your current password and click continue.

Step 4: Click on “Get Started” button.

Two Factor Authentication Main page
Two Factor Authentication Main page

Step 5: You’ll see a popup with 2 options “Authentication App” and “Text Message”. If you want to receive codes on your mobile, then choose the second option. Click Next.

Choose Two Factor Authentication Method
Choose Two Factor Authentication Method

Step 6: Now Facebook will verify your mobile number and will send a unique code on your phone. Enter the code.

Enter 2 factor authentication code
Enter 2 factor authentication code

Step 7: Enter the code and confirm. Now two factor authentication is activated on your Facebook account.

2 Factor Authentication Activated on Facebook
2 Factor Authentication Activated on Facebook

From now onwards, when you try to login from any un-authorized / unknown device, Facebook will ask for verification by sending unique code on your mobile phone through SMS.

28. Restrict Facebook From Tracking Your Activity on Other Websites

This section has two parts as defined by Facebook itself.

Disable Ads based on data from Facebook partners

  1. Open Facebook Settings and then click on Ads
    Alternatively Open URL directly https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/?entry_product=ad_settings_screen.
  2. Scroll down to “Ad Settings” and click on “Ads based on data from partners“.
  3. Choose “Not allowed” from drop down as shown in the figure below.
Ads from Facebook Partners
Ads from Facebook Partners

Disable Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products

  1. Open Facebook Settings and then click on Ads
    Alternatively Open URL directly https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/?entry_product=ad_settings_screen.
  2. Scroll down to “Ad Settings” and click on “Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere“.
  3. Choose “Not allowed” from drop down as shown in the figure below.
Disable Ads based on Activity on Facebook Products
Disable Ads based on Activity on Facebook Products

Please note that, you will still see ads on Facebook, but those ads wouldn’t be useful or interesting to you.

You can also turn off “Ads that include your social actions” on Facebook. This option will hide your likes on Ads shown to your friends.

You might want your profile to opt out of the search results on Facebook or other search engines like Facebook.

  1. Open Settings on your Facebook app or open URL in browser https://facebook.com/settings.
  2. Select  “Privacy Settings”.
  3. Tap “Edit” in the “Who can look you up using the email address you provided?” section.
  4. In the dropdown, you will see options like Everyone, Friends of Friends, Friends, Only Me. Choose the appropriate option.
  5. You can also opt out of search engines linking to your profile using last option in this section which is “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?“. Tap edit and un-check the checkbox.
Opt out of Facebook Search and Other search engines like Google
Opt out of Facebook Search and Other search engines like Google

30. How to disable contact sync on facebook messenger?

Facebook Messenger app on your phone, can sync your other phone contacts with Facebook. It will fetch contact info of your Facebook friends and add them as a contact in your phone and also vice-versa. ( Phone contacts will be added in your Facebook Messenger.)

If you are installing Messenger for the first time, it asks you to allow Contact Sync, you can disable it right from the first launch.

First Time Prompt for Contacts Sync on Facebook Messenger
First Time Prompt for Contacts Sync on Facebook Messenger

But you may not want to do that due to certain reasons. Follow these steps to disable this sync.

  1. Open your Profile in Messenger.
  2. Select “People”.
  3. Click on “Upload Contacts”. Click on Turn off. 
  4. A pop up will appear asking you to “Remove Contacts”. Tap on Remove and you are done.

This is all for this article. I hope I have cleared a lot of your doubts by presenting most of the information related to Facebook Privacy settings at one place with visual cues.

I will be waiting for your feedback in comments section. Thanks for your time.

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