Facebook Privacy settings are complicated and change often. Making it hard for people to take control of their privacy on the world’s largest social network. Facebook made major changes to its privacy controls in 2011. So some older controls either no longer apply or have moved to other areas of your Facebook pages.
How to Adjust Facebook Privacy Settings
It’s important to pay attention to your privacy settings on Facebook and learn the basics of who sees the content you are sharing. Otherwise, Facebook may choose default settings that will share more information with the public than you intend or want.
The Basics of Accessing Facebook Privacy Controls
There are two basic ways to access privacy controls on Facebook:
- Go to Options > Settings > Privacy. This takes you to the main privacy settings page. Where you should take the time to wade through all the options. They are explained below and on the two subsequent pages of this tutorial.
- By accessing what Facebook calls the inline privacy controls or inline audience selector. A menu that appears right next to whatever content you are posting or sharing. This inline privacy menu is supposed to make it easier to choose different privacy settings. or different types of content, so you can make sharing decisions on a case-by-case basis.
The Facebook Privacy Controversy
Privacy advocates have long criticized Facebook for collecting too much information about its users and not always clearly disclosing how it shares that user data with third parties. In late November 2011 Facebook agreed to settle a complaint filed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over its data disclosure policies.
Unfortunately, in 2018, Facebook was caught in another privacy scandal after it was disclosed the company allowed more than 50 million profiles to be harvested by Cambridge Analytica as part of a data mining expedition designed to help influence voters during the 2016 election.
Do Facebook Default Settings Over Share?
Privacy advocates and regulators have long criticized the social network for setting default privacy options that make too much of each user’s profiles public, which means it can be viewed by anyone and everyone. The result can be a loss of personal privacy. for various reasons.
Many people want to make Facebook private so only their friends see most of what they post on the network. You can do that by adjusting your Facebook Privacy Settings.03of 05
A Closer Look at Default Facebook Privacy Settings
The privacy settings page for your Facebook account, shown above, is designed to let you specify how widely you want to share material in various contexts on Facebook. To access these options the Options dropdown menu, choose Settings, and then select Privacy Settings.
In the Your Activity section of the Privacy Settings and Tools page, your first option is Who can see your future posts?
It’s important to note this change ONLY affects Facebook accounts created in 2014 or later. Users who first signed up for Facebook before 2014 got a Public default sharing option, which they may or may not have changed. It’s easy to change the default sharing option, provided you know-how.04of 05
How to Change Your Default Facebook Privacy Settings
The option you set for your default privacy is important because it will be the default for everything you post on Facebook unless you override it manually using the audience selector box or inline sharing menu each time you post something. Facebook has a general rule governing all of your posts (the “default” level of sharing) and also an individual level of sharing which you can set for individual posts, which can be different from the general default.
Sounds complicated, but it means you can have your general default sharing level set to only Friends but occasionally use the audience selector box on specific posts to, make a general statement viewable to anyone (Public), or make a particular post only viewable to a list you might create of specific people. For example, your family.
This default sharing option also determines who can see posts you make from other applications that lack Facebook’s inline privacy controls.
Use these instructions to change your default Facebook Privacy Settings:
These are also the same settings you can adjust on an individual basis using the Inline Privacy Controls when you’re posting something to your Facebook wall.
- Go to the Options dropdown menu and choose Settings.
- On the Settings page, select Privacy.
- Next to each item in the Your Activity and How People Find and Contact You sections of the Privacy Settings and Tools page, click Edit to change the default settings.
- Your options are:
- Public: Anyone can see what you post or the details of your profile page.
- Friends: Only your friends can see your posts and information.
- Friends except: Allow you to exclude certain contacts.
- Specific friends: Customize who sees something by adding a list of specific people from your friend’s list.
- Only me: Your information or posts will go to your page. But you are the only person who will be able to see those specific items.
- Custom: Allows you to include or exclude people from your friend’s list or group lists.
Any lists that you are part of will appear below these options, and you can choose to share information or posts only with those one or more of those lists.
To be clear, when you’re using Facebook’s website to post anything, you can always override the default by using the inline privacy menu.
Additional Facebook Privacy Settings
Privacy controls appear for additional Facebook areas or features on the main Settings page. Each of the menu items in the left navigation menu contains additional settings to further lock down your privacy. Here’s a quick overview of those settings.
This is not an exhaustive list of every setting and privacy option available on Facebook. It is an overview of the most important privacy options and sections.