How to Adjust Your Facebook Privacy Settings

How to Customize Facebook Privacy Settings to Meet Your Needs

Facebook Privacy
••• Credit: Tim Robberts | Getty Images

At one time, Facebook would change privacy settings, often exposing member information. In 2011, Facebook settled with the Federal Trade Commission on a charge regarding its privacy policy and today, users have to opt-in to privacy changes.

Facebook’s Privacy Settings allow you to specify who can see which types of information you’ve posted or shared in Facebook. While Facebook does give you control over what others can see on your profile, if you have any concerns or reservations about what can be learned about you, your best option is not to have a Facebook profile.

As a home business owner, Facebook is a great way to reach out and connect with your market all over the world. If you decide to use a Facebook profile, odds are you want some control over who can see what, and who can post what on your timeline. Here are some tips for adjusting your Facebook privacy settings to meet your needs. 

Accessing Your Privacy Settings in Facebook

To access your Facebook Privacy settings:

  1. Log into Facebook.
  2. At the upper right of the page, click downward arrow to access your account menu and select Settings.
  3. Choose Privacy Settings

Facebook gives you three areas to manage privacy:

  1. Who Can See My Stuff: Click on Edit next to who can see your future posts and a box will drop open. From there you can select "Public," "Friends," or "Only me." There is a More Options down arrow that lets you select a friends list, group, or to customize who can see your posts.
  2. Who Can Contact Me: If you've ever gotten spam or scam friend requests, or are worried about them, you can control who can contact you. Your options are "Everyone" or "Friends of Friends."
  3. Who Can Look Me Up: There are three options for people finding you on Facebook and you can control all of them. The options are: 1) who can search for you by email, 2) who can search for you by phone number, 3) do you want search engines to link to your profile? Just like the "Edit" option to select "Everyone," "Friends," or "Friends of Friends" for the first two options and "Yes" or "No" for the search engine option.

    Another option for accessing your privacy settings is to click on the privacy shortcuts icon (it's a lock with a menu icon) next to the down arrow to access your account into in the top right corner of your Facebook page. From there you can select to have a privacy checkup, as well as choose one of the three options (who can see my stuff, who can contact me, who can look me up). You can also find a link to Facebook's Privacy Basics.

    Using Friends Lists for Facebook Privacy Settings

    A great way to control who sees what on your Facebook profile, especially for home business owners, is to use Facebook Friends Lists. As mentioned above, you can select one of these lists when choosing who can see your posts in Who Can See My Stuff. However, this list is available to you when you make a post. At the bottom of the box in which you type in your message, there are options for adding a picture, tagging other members, adding feeling emoji, checking in, and scheduling your post. Next to those icons is a drop down menu, with the default setting, such as "Friends." Click on the box and you'll get the standard, "Public," "Friends," and "Only Me," and if you click the "More Options" under that, you'll your friends lists.

    For details on creating a friends list, read How to Create a Facebook Friends List.

    Timeline and Tagging (or who can post on your profile)

    Want to control what others can put on your timeline? Underneath the Privacy option in your Settings is Timeline and Tagging, where you can indicate:

    1. Who can add things to your timeline.
    2. Who can see things on your timeline.
    3. How you manage tags people add and tagging suggestions

    Next to each, click on edit and make your choices. 


    Under Timeline and Tagging in the Settings menu, you'll see Blocking, where you can create a restricted list, block users, messages, and app invites, and more. If you're ever annoyed by people inviting you to games, you'll want to check this section out. 

    Facebook Privacy on Mobile Devices

    You can set privacy settings on your mobile device as well. You need to check with your Facebook app information to find the settings options. On iPhone, click the menu icon at the bottom of the app and scroll down to Settings or Privacy Shortcuts. You'll be given the same options as listed above (who sees my stuff, etc).

    Once you have your Facebook privacy settings in place, you can feel safer about what you are sharing online. And, because you can limit who sees your most private information, there’s really no need to provide false information on your Facebook profile.

    Updated June 2016 Leslie Truex