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Facebook Privacy Settings That You Need To Know

Ah, Facebook! The 600-pound gorilla of the social media world! What once started as a means for college students to stay in easy contact has mushroomed into something that everyone and their grandmother, and apparently by the looks of things the grandmothers’ cats, have signed up for. Thanks to Facebook, people can find long-lost acquaintances, see what old friends are up to, peek at ex-significant others’ photos, see what sites they’re visiting, and…um…

Okay, is anyone else getting creeped out by this?

And apparently, according to Facebook, the cat gets grumpy if it doesn’t get cheeseburgers.

That’s why there are privacy settings. And in the constantly updating world of Facebook, you need to know how to keep your privacy at the level you want. After all, you have your online reputation to think about. Here are some Facebook privacy settings worth being familiar with.

Getting Started

One of the latest Facebook innovations is the small padlock located at the top of your tool bar, in the upper right hand corner, next to your profile picture thumbnail and name. Clicking on that icon gives you a pull-down menu of privacy shortcuts, divided into three sections:

  • Who can see my stuff?
  • Who can contact me?
  • How do I stop someone from bothering me?

There’s also a link called See More Settings. We’ll get to that as well. But for now:

Who Can See My Stuff?

With this control, you can decide who sees your posts. You can make your posts totally Public, or limited it to Friends, Friends except acquaintances, just yourself, or even a custom list. You can also limit past posts that may have been seen by Friends of friends or Public to just your Friends.

Who Can Contact Me?

This one is divided into two sections; who can send you messages, and who can send you friend requests. The former lets you choose between Basic (friends and people you may know)and Strict (just friends). The latter lets you choose between Everyone and Friends of friends.

How Do I Stop Someone From Bothering Me?

If only real life had this option! This one is simply a way of outright blocking someone. They will be unfriended, unable to communicate with you, and won’t see things you post on your timeline.

Who Can Look Me Up?

Clicking on the See More Settings brings you to this control. There are two very important questions here that require some serious thought: Who can look you up using the e-mail address or phone number you provided? Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline? These are serious questions because now you’re talking about contact outside of Facebook. Just how visible do you want to be on the whole Internet?

But Wait! There’s More!

Everything covered so far is just the basic stuff. Unfortunately, there areso many other ways for your information to get accessed and used. Keep an eye on your Timeline Settings, accessed by clicking the little gear icon next to the Activity Log box. Clicking this allows you to control who can post on your timeline, who can see what is on your timeline, and manage tagging in photos and posts.


Considering the proliferation of apps, this one is huge. It is downright scary how much information about you gets pulled by apps. The two main categories are Apps You Use, and Apps Others Use. With Apps You Use, you can control which apps you have on Facebook and who can see them. But the more important on is the Apps Others Use. With this one, you control what information of yours that your friends can take with them when they use apps, information like your photos, links, status updates, and a whole lot more. These controls will allow you to restrict access to personal information.

Why Do This?

Considering the way information on the Internet has a habit of hanging around forever, you would do well to take control of your privacy and make sure that stuff that you put out there is seen only by those who you trust. Pictures, statuses, videos, all of these could come back to haunt you during events such as a job interview or that new relationship you’re getting involved in. Be careful, be safe, and guard your privacy!

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Written By

Born in the Boston area in 1959, I started writing in 1985. I live in Nashua NH with my wife and three cats. We have four kids in our blended family. I am an utter geek who's into gaming, horror, SF/fantasy, the Red Sox, trains, running, history, and a bunch of other things.



  1. Victoria Mudaraya

    July 8, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Your list of setting should be for sure be posted on Facebook main page – too many users don’t know their privacy option, or find out about them after they have problems

  2. John Terra

    July 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Thanks, Victoria!

  3. harshi

    July 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    privacy settings are always must known for every one unless one will surly update his status shorty of the account being hacked or misused !

  4. James C

    July 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Your info is ancient.
    There are no more advanced privacy settings and no place to choose who can send you messages.
    Some members can be sent messages some can’t.

    If you wanted to write a quality guide add LINKS to the settings you are mentioning.

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