5 Facebook Privacy Settings You May Have Missed

Missed Facebook Privacy Settings

When I coach people on how to use Facebook I emphasize that although Facebook encourages you to share, you are ultimately in control of how you share your data. Yes there is data Facebook considers public – your name, profile picture, gender, cover photo, networks, and username.

All else on Facebook you control, that is if you can find how to set your privacy options!  Facebook recently added a Privacy Shortcuts link to its top blue menu bar (desktop)  to help you access your Privacy Settings.  You can click on See More Settings from Privacy Shortcuts to see additional Privacy and Account settings.

However some Facebook Privacy Settings are not as obvious or easy to find.  Here are 5 that you may have missed and how to navigate them from your desktop (mobile experience will vary):

1.  Set privacy for your Friends List –  do you want others to be able to view your Friends List?  Click on Friends from your Timeline, then look for the pencil at the top right of the list.  When you click on this pencil you can edit your privacy settings for your Friends List as well as those you Follow. (Note you automatically Follow your Friends.  You can also Follow others without becoming their Friend if they have enabled this feature.)

2.  Opt out of appearing in Facebook Ads–  Do you want your name and/or profile picture to appear in a Facebook or Third party ad? There are two settings to take a look at, which give permission to pair your social actions (a Like of a business for example) with an ad.  One is a Facebook ad, the other is an ad on another website (however this is not a current feature). Click on Privacy Shortcuts, See More Settings, then Ads.  Choose Edit in two places – for Third Party Sites, also Ads and Friends, so you can select the No One option to opt out.  Don’t forget to Save Changes.

3.  Opt out of receiving Facebook Ads based upon  your web browsing activity outside of Facebook.  Do you want to see ads on Facebook based upon your online browsing/shopping?  Perhaps handy, perhaps creepy.  Click on Privacy Shortcuts, See More Settings, then Ads.  There is an Opt Out option within Website and Mobile App Custom Audiences.  If you do choose to Opt Out, note that if you at a later time clear your browser cookies, you will have to opt out again.

4.  Restricted List – add a “friend “ to your Restricted list.  If you do, they will only see items you post publicly.  Handy if you confirm a friend request for someone you are uncomfortable sharing with.  They will not know you have restricted them. Click on Privacy Shortcuts, See More Settings, then Blocking, then Edit next to Restricted List.  Alternatively click on Friends on the Cover Photo of the Timeline of your friend, Add to Another List (if Restricted is not shown), and click on Restricted.

5.  Share Options for Your Personal Data: Do you know whom you are sharing your personal data with?  Click on Update Info from the bottom of your Cover Photo.  Each item of information has an icon which depicts your share option.  If you don’t see one, click on the Edit pop up when you hover over the item.  Click on the icon to see/set your sharing preference.  Again, don’t forget to Save Changes.  You may be surprised at what info you are sharing publicly.

Hope this post helps you take fuller control of your Facebook sharing.  Periodically check the Settings pages, as Facebook does at times change wording and setting options.  Happy sharing (or not)!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Phil
    Apr 23, 2014 @ 01:27:12

    I had created many photo albums in my Facebook account and wish to hide them from my Timeline so that my Wall won’t be cluttered with too many posts. In other words, my friends will have to go to my “Photos” page & click on “Albums” in order to select those albums of mine they wish to view. It’s a tedious task for me to go to my Activity Log to hide every photo of each album from the Timeline. So is it possible for me to hide a whole album of photos from the Timeline with just one click and after that my friends will still be able to view the album anytime when they visit my “Photos” page?


    • Jeri Usbay
      Apr 23, 2014 @ 19:56:40

      Hello Phil – That is a great question, I wish I had an equally great answer for you. Currently I do not think there is an option to initially hide a photo album from your Timeline. You can edit an album to change the privacy setting to select who can see the album, but that won’t prevent pictures from appearing on your Timeline. When you create an album, Facebook automatically posts a handful of pics to your Timeline, and posts it to the News Feed of your friends (if that is who you are sharing with). If you don’t want the post to appear on your Timeline, you can hover over the top right corner of the post and select Hide from Timeline – this may be the answer you seek. If you don’t want your album to post on the News Feed of others, choose the Only Me privacy setting when you are creating the album (or you can customize who can see it). Hope this is of some help!


  2. Phil
    Apr 24, 2014 @ 01:47:30

    Thanks very much for your reply. Yes & as far as I can see, there’s no option to initially hide a photo album from the Timeline. Even when I had hidden the post from the Timeline, some photos from that album would reappear on the Timeline later and when I checked the Activity Log, I could see that only one of the photos was hidden from the Timeline. So I guess there’s no other way to sort out this problem except to go to the Activity Log & hide every photo of the album so that none of them will reappear on the Timeline. So far I had uploaded many albums comprising several thousand photos and so it won’t be a walk in the park if I wish to hide every one of those photos from the Timeline.


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