Learn how to adjust your Facebook privacy settings to change who can see your posts in this free lesson.
Even if you're an experienced Facebook user, modifying your privacy settings for the first time can be a little confusing. And because Facebook can change these options without much notice, it's important to review your privacy settings periodically. We'll talk about many of the privacy settings on Facebook, explaining how they work and why they're important.
Watch the video below to learn more about adjusting your Facebook privacy settings.
Before continuing with this lesson, you may want to check out our lesson on Understanding Facebook Privacy to learn the basics.
However you use Facebook, it's important to choose the privacy settings that will work best for you. Facebook offers two main ways to control your privacy:
The fastest way to change your privacy settings is to use privacy shortcuts. To access privacy shortcuts, click the Privacy Shortcuts button on the toolbar. From here, you can modify the audience selector, choose your message filtering settings, and more.
Any changes you make from Privacy Shortcuts will be reflected on the Privacy Settings and Tools page. This is where you can control some of the most important privacy settings on Facebook.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using the Privacy Settings and Tools page.
You can use the audience selector to control who can view your future posts, including status updates and photos. While some people may want to share everything publicly, we recommend choosing Friends.
From here, you can access the Activity Log, which allows you to review things you've shared, along with posts you've been tagged by your friends, such as a photo or status update.
If you've been on Facebook for a while, many of your posts may actually be public. You can use this setting to limit your past posts so only your friends will be able to view them.
Here, you can choose whether to receive friend requests from everyone on Facebook or only friends of your current friends. We recommend setting this to Everyone so your real-life friends can find you on Facebook.
People who aren't already your friends on Facebook can find you by searching for your contact information, including your email address and phone number. We recommend setting these to Everyone so your real-life friends can find you easily.
By default, the public information on your Timeline—including your name and profile picture—is available to search engines like Google. This makes it easier for people to find your profile. If you're not comfortable with this, make sure this setting is turned off.
In addition to your overall privacy settings, you can control who sees everything you share with the audience selector. This allows you to change your default privacy settings and make things more private or less private. If you change your mind later, you can go back and change the privacy level for that post at any time.
You'll see the audience selector across different parts of Facebook, including in the Publisher and Timeline. In this example, we'll use the audience selector on the Publisher to share a status update.
Keep in mind that modifying the audience selector will change the default audience setting for future posts. You should always double-check the audience selector before sharing anything on Facebook.
A tag is a way to identify people on Facebook by posting their names and a link to their individual Timelines. Your friends can tag you in photos and in other posts, including status updates. Anyone who can see these posts will be able to click the tag and view your Timeline. The tagged post will also be visible on your Timeline, your News Feed, and your friends' feeds.
While tags make it easy to connect with your friends on Facebook, your friends may occasionally tag you in posts you don't want to share. One way to prevent yourself from being tagged in potentially embarrassing photos and posts is to manage your tagging settings.
To access these settings, navigate to the settings page, then select Timeline and Tagging.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about your Timeline and Tagging settings.
Your Timeline is where people can post links, photos, and more. By default, all friends can post to your Timeline. We recommend leaving this set to Friends so your friends can post on your Timeline.
When you enable Timeline Review, you'll be notified whenever your friends tag you in a post or photo. You'll then have the option to approve or reject the post. Only posts you approve will appear on your Timeline.
Click View As to see what your Timeline looks like when viewed by different people. For example, you can see how your Timeline would appear to your friends or people you aren't friends with.
By default, this option is set to Friends of Friends. Because Friends of Friends almost certainly includes many people you don't know, we recommend changing this setting to Friends or Only Me.
By default, this option is set to Friends of Friends, meaning that you, your friends, and your friends' friends can all see posts that your friends have shared on your Timeline. Because Friends of Friends almost certainly includes many people you don't know, we recommend changing this setting to Friends or Only Me.
When your friends comment on the things you share, like posts and photos, they can tag themselves and others. Tag Review allows you to review these tags before they're added to your posts, then choose to approve or reject them.
By default, this option is set to Friends. Whenever you're tagged in a post, you and your friends will be able to see the post, even if your friends are not friends with the original poster. If you don't want all of your friends to be included, change this setting to Only Me.
When Tag Suggestions are turned on, Facebook will try to identify you in your friends' photos to suggest that they tag you. While Facebook does use facial recognition technology to make these suggestions, this feature will not tag you automatically or identify you to people who aren't your friends. Still, if you want to turn off Tag Suggestions for privacy reasons, select No One.
If you ever need to review or modify what you've posted in the past, you can use the Activity Log. Every action you make on Facebook—from posts to comments to likes—is recorded in the Activity Log. From here, it's easy to review your past activity. You'll also be able to manage posts your friends have shared on your Timeline, including the option to hide posts.
To access your Activity Log, navigate to your Timeline, then select Activity Log.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using the Activity Log.
You can approve posts from your friends before they appear on your Timeline using Timeline Review.
Here, you can review any post you've made using the Publisher, posts your friends have shared on your Timeline, and any posts you've hidden from your Timeline.
Here, you can review recently tagged photos of you, as well as your recent likes and comments. You can also choose to hide likes from your Timeline if you don't want to share this information with your friends.
Here, you can review what your apps have posted to your Timeline, such as recent recommendations or game activity. You can even set the audience level for each app to control who can see future app activity on your Timeline.
You can always change the privacy level for your own past posts using the audience selector, just as you would when using the Publisher.
Sometimes you may want to hide a post from your Timeline. Simply click the Edit button next to any post in your Activity Log, then select the desired option from the drop-down menu.
Here, you can review all of your activity on Facebook, including your recent updates and anything your Friends have posted to your Timeline. This option will be selected whenever you open the Activity Log.
You can approve tags from your friends before they appear on your Timeline using Tag Review.
You can also hide and delete posts directly from your Timeline. Simply click the drop-down arrow, then select the desired option.
The Apps settings page contains general settings that apply to the apps, games, and websites you've connected with Facebook. These include controls that let you:
You can also modify detailed settings for individual apps. While these settings do give you some control over your privacy, keep in mind that all apps require you to provide at least a few pieces of personal information. Many apps even require you to let them share updates about your app activity. Before continuing to use an app, we recommend reviewing the app settings carefully to decide if you're comfortable sharing the requested information.
To access these settings, navigate to the Settings page, then select Apps.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about customizing your app settings.
Here, you can see all of the apps and websites that you've signed in to with your Facebook account.
If you're uncomfortable with the idea of apps accessing data from your Facebook account, you can choose to turn off all platform apps.
Even if you don't use any apps, the apps your friends use can access some of your personal information. Here, you can see what information your friends' apps can access.
We recommend unchecking every box to prevent your friends from sharing information about you with the apps they use.
You can click any app to control the information you share with that app. You'll also be able to decide who can see posts related to the app, remove information collected by the app, and more.
If you want to stop certain people from bothering you on Facebook, you can block them. When you block someone, that person can no longer communicate with you or send friend requests.
To access these settings, navigate to the Settings page, then select Blocking. From here, you can block users from contacting you on Facebook. Just enter the name of the person you want to block, then click Block. You can also block entire applications if you want to stop receiving invitations to certain apps and games.
By default, Facebook is allowed to use your information and activity in advertisements on Facebook. For example, a game can use your profile picture and game activity in ads to encourage your friends to play. Whenever you like something on Facebook, businesses can use this information to advertise to your friends, as in the example below:
Keep in mind that Facebook's advertising policies are complicated and can change without much notice. If you're not comfortable sharing this information with advertisers, we recommended blocking ads from accessing and displaying your information. To access these settings, navigate to the Settings page, then select Ads.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using the Facebook Ads page.
Here, you can choose to opt-out of interest-based ads from Facebook. When turned on, Facebook can use your browsing history to display relevant advertisements, both on Facebook and other websites. If you'd prefer for Facebook not to use your info this way, turn this setting Off.
By default, Facebook will share information about your likes and interests with advertisers. If you don't want Facebook sharing your information this way, turn this setting Off.
Here, you can control how Facebook uses your information to create ads for other people. For example, if you like a restaurant on Facebook, your friends might see this information in an advertisement. If you don't want Facebook using your info this way, change this setting to No One.
Here, you can see what information Facebook has collected about you for targeted advertising. You can choose to remove certain preferences from this list if you prefer, but it won't affect the number of ads you see on Facebook.