Facebook is more than just a social media website. Facebook has grown into an entire brand and a company that knows more about you than you’re aware of. They even have their own Facebook app. Because of Facebook’s size, it can be hard to keep your information private—but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! There are many ways to take control of your information and optimize your privacy settings on Facebook.
What To Know About Privacy on Facebook
Facebook is tricky. The social media giant collects a great deal of information on its users from Facebook itself, but they also get information from other apps and websites that Facebook has control over.
Creating a Facebook account requires that you give your date of birth, gender, and email or mobile phone number. This profile information customizes ads and assists in Facebook interface. Understanding what Facebook knows about you can help you in optimizing your privacy.
Keep in mind that all of the above personal information won't automatically appear on your Facebook profile. However, Facebook will still have it, and you have the option to display some of the people on your Facebook friends list and even strangers.
One thing that will be available on your Timeline automatically, regardless of how private your account is, is your past profile pictures. When you change your profile picture on Facebook, it goes on your feed as a post. This also applies to your banner picture in the background.
Once your profile picture posts to your Timeline, you can set it as visible to Only Me. Never include any private information or location landmarks in your profile pictures because it's initially posted to your timeline publicly.
Keeping Your Information Private
Luckily, there are a lot of options for customizing your Facebook privacy settings. You can go from completely private to full-on public or set your account to somewhere in the middle.
In order to keep your phone number and email address as private as possible:
Facebook users have the ability to look each other up with their name as well as with their phone number or email. However, there is a way to keep your email and phone number out of the hands of random strangers. Under the section that asks who can look you up using your phone number and email, select Friends or Only Me.
If you don’t want your Facebook account to be searchable online:
Facebook automatically allows “search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile.” This means that searching your name on Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine could bring up your Facebook account as a result. Having your account linked makes it easier for others to find you online.
If you would prefer to keep your account more private, go to Settings and then Privacy. Unclick the box that allows your Facebook account to link externally. People will still be able to search for you through Facebook’s search bar. However, your account will no longer pop up in general searches.
Keeping Your Content Private
In order to limit who sees your own posts:
Go to Settings, and then Privacy. Facebook offers you a wide range of options for who sees what you post. You can choose to share only with Friends, go completely Public, or even create a customized group of people who can view your content. After you’ve changed these settings to your liking, click Limit Past Posts below it to make sure that these choices apply to all your past posts, not just future content.
If you want to control the visibility of posts you’re tagged in:
Facebook doesn’t offer an option to completely keep posts you’re tagged in from appearing on your feed, like Instagram. However, you can choose to review them first, which gives you some control back.
Enable Review posts you’re tagged in before the post appears on your Timeline in Settings. This lets you decide which photos you’d like to appear on your Timeline and, although tedious, lets you manually remove the images’ appearance on your page.
To turn off the facial recognition feature:
Facebook uses a facial recognition feature to automatically tag you in photos. This can be handy, but also unnerving! You can actually keep your profile from being a part of this face recognition feature.
Go to Settings and then the Timeline and Tagging tab. Choose the No One option for Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded? This will stop Facebook from running your face on photographs and suggesting you as a tag for a picture.
General Facebook Privacy Tips
You can require a security code login on new devices for a more secure and private Facebook experience. Set this up under the Security tab in Account Settings. A security code will go to your phone when you log in to Facebook on a new device. This means that anyone trying to invade your account and your privacy will have a much harder time.
You also have the choice to receive notifications when your Facebook account is logged on to with a new device. This is another layer of protection that can help you protect your account’s privacy.
Facebook is a fantastic site for connecting with others. If you know how to properly protect your account and its privacy, you can get the most out of Facebook while still safeguarding your own private information on past and future posts.