Protect Your Privacy on Facebook

How to safely keep in touch with friends and family on the web's largest social network

Facebook makes it easy to stay connected with friends and family, but be sure to take the right precautions to keep yourself safe online. One of the most important steps is adjusting your Facebook settings to control who has access to your information—and who doesn't.

LIMIT WHO CAN FIND YOU

Click on the Account tab, then select “Privacy Settings.” Under “Connecting on Facebook,” click “View Settings.” There you can choose who can search for you, send you a friend request and see your friend list and photos. Don’t want to be found through Google and other search engines? Disable “Public Search” in “Apps and Websites.”

Bonus Tip: Avoid a certain someone. In your privacy settings under “Block Lists,” click “Edit Your Lists.” There you can block specific people by name and e-mail address from “friending” or contacting you. You also can bar event and app invites.

LIMIT WHOM YOU CAN SHARE WITH

Under “Sharing on Facebook,” change your settings from "Recommended" to "Custom" and decide which level of security you feel most comfortable with for each item. For maximum protection, set everything to “Friends Only.” Or make some categories—such as tagged photos—visible to (or hidden from) specific groups of people.

Bonus Tip: Keep friends from sharing too much. When your Facebook friends sign up for certain apps, the apps extract your data. Under “Apps and Websites,” hit “Edit Your Settings,” then “Info Accessible Through Your Friends” to guard your privacy.

 

IF YOU STICK TO FACEBOOK'S DEFAULT SETTINGS...

Anyone can:

  • Search and find your name and profile picture.
  • Send you messages and friend requests.
  • See your status updates, photos, friend list, relationship status and family connections as well as access your bio, education, work, current city, hometown, likes, activities and networks.

Friends of friends also can:

  • See photos and videos in which you've been tagged.
  • Read your religious and political views.
  • FInd out your birth date.

Only your friends can:

  • See your contact information.
  • Comment on your posts.
  • See the places you "check in."