Facebook privacy settings explained

Facebook Privacy Settings Explained

Making sure your information is secure online is important for your safety. Make sure you understand what your Facebook privacy settings mean so you can customize them and show only the information you want public. Knowing which settings do what is vital for protecting your online privacy.

How to get to your Facebook privacy settings

  1. Go to the top right corner of your Facebook page
  2. Select “Settings”
  3. Go to the “Privacy” tab on the left

Who can see my stuff?

This section is all about what you choose to show other people. It covers your photos, anything you post or are tagged in, and how far your posts can go.

Who can see your future posts?

This section says “future” posts because it won’t change the permissions for your previous ones. The pre-set options are “Friends,” “Public” or “Only Me.” “Friends” means only your friends will see whatever you post, “Public” means anyone can see your posts and “Only Me” means no one except for you can see what you post. You can also customize this and opt to only show family members or specific people your posts.

Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in

This option refers to the timeline review feature. When someone tags you in a photo or status, you can review it before it appears on your timeline. You won’t have any control of who sees the photo or status from the poster’s page, but you can keep it from appearing on your own Facebook page if you want.

Limit the Audience for Old Posts on Your Timeline

The first option in this list affected all future posts, whereas this option will affect all previous posts. If you choose to limit your old posts, this feature will go back and switch all your permissions so that only your Facebook friends can see any of your old posts (aside from profile pictures and cover photos).

You can also go back to each of your previous posts and manually change the permissions.

Who can contact me?

This sections refers to how, and if, others can reach you on Facebook.

Who can send you friend requests?

You can decide what level of a relationship people need to have with you before they ask to add you as a friend. If you set this to “Public” it means anyone can send you a friend request, and if you set it to “Friends of Friends” it means that they have to be friends with an existing Facebook friend before they can send a request.

Whose messages do I want filtered into my inbox?

Facebook offers two options for this; Basic Filtering and Strict Filtering. This feature is liking setting up your spam folder, except in Facebook. If you choose Basic Filtering, you’ll receive messages from friends and people you may know (if Facebook recognizes they have some connection to you, ie. same college, mutual friends, etc.). If you choose Strict Filtering, you’ll mostly see messages from friends, and any messages from others usually go into your “Other” folder.

Who can look me up?

This section is all about who can find you, and how.

Who can look you up using the email address you provided?

If you give someone your email address, they can potentially look you up on Facebook using that information. You can change the settings to “Friends,” “Friends of Friends” or “Everyone” depending on how searchable you want to be for people with your email address.

Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?

Facebook also has a phone number search option. If you allow “Everyone” to look you up using your phone number, that means all people need to find your profile is your phone number. You can also change these settings to “Friends” or “Friends of Friends.”

Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?

When someone types in your name into a search engine like Google or Yahoo, it’s possible for your Facebook profile to show up. If you don’t want this to happen, select “No” on this option. If you want to be searchable to anyone looking up your full name, you can check the option box to “Let other search engines link to your timeline.”


We hope this quick primer on Facebook privacy settings cleared up what some of the options mean. If you have any comments, questions or want us to discuss anything else, just let us know in the comments below.

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