5 Facebook Privacy Settings You Need to Know

Oh neat, Facebook changed their privacy settings again.

In the past, this news usually elicited groans and frustration, because for whatever reason, the platform had very carefully and cleverly hidden the Yellow Brick Road to your privacy settings on your account.

Now–perhaps due to the $20 million lawsuit settlement back in August of this year–it’s actually easier than ever to control and set your Facebook privacy settings than ever before.

And why does it matter to you and your business?

Well, it might not…depending on your type of business and the customers or clients that you interact with on a daily basis.

But! If your business or organization works with clients or customers in an environment where it is important to keep a professional boundary (see also, lawyers, therapists, medical practices, and ice cream dealers), you may want to check out the following settings.

First, let’s give a slow, belated and fraught-with-prolonged-eye-roll slow clap to Facebook for finally making Privacy Settings easily accessible by keeping a static icon (either the lock for your privacy shortcuts, or the little cog then “Privacy Settings” for a detailed list) in the upper right hand corner of your page:

Facebook Privacy Settings

Easy Peasy.

Alright, on to the important stuff.

Facebook Privacy Settings and Tools

These still aren’t perfect, but it’s a start. Control who sees your posts (you can still control this post by post when typing in the status box), who can contact you and who can look you up all right here.

The most important one for you if you are looking to avoid interacting with the masses may be the setting to allow your Timeline to be indexed by search engines…though please note, even if you turn this off, it may take several days to disappear all together.

Facebook Privacy Settings Search


Facebook Timeline and Tagging

In this setting, you can tweak what appears on your timeline and who may tag you in posts. Since we’ve been hearing for a few months now that Facebook is working on facial recognition software, the most important setting here is the “How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions.” It’s kind of nice, actually, that Facebook is allowing you to tweak this setting before this change even happens…a rare move for the company who believes it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Facebook Tagging Setting


Facebook App Settings

This setting was the most jaw-dropping one for me. While it’s really nice to be able to log in to other applications with Facebook, I had NO IDEA how often I had done this over the last several months (I know, I know, I should be more vigilant).

Facebook Apps Privacy


But here’s the setting that really floored me…the “Apps Others Use.” I never really thought about my information being “carried” by other users when they use apps. Sure, it makes it all more social, but I’d never really thought about how, by not adjusting a simple setting, I was allowing others to “bring [my] information with them when they use apps.”

So, kinda yikes and stuff. And when you click to edit, you quickly discover it’s not just your photo and name…

Facebook Apps Information


Whaaa…? Crazy times. I mean, I don’t mind being social, but it does pay to be informed about HOW social a lady is being.

Facebook Ads Privacy

This section is what I like to call the “CYA” section for Facebook Privacy Settings. I advise everyone–no matter what line of work you’re in–to read this section very carefully and edit your settings as you see fit.

Facebook Ads Privacy


The “Ads and Friends” setting was of particular interest to me. While I like seeing the “social proof” of what my friends like on Facebook, I also don’t mind keeping my own “likes” to myself. I turned mine off, but do note that if you have your privacy settings on lock-down (how your Likes are shown on posts, etc), they also apply here:

Facebook Likes Privacy


Facebook Activity Log

Last but not least, if you’re still concerned about privacy, but you’re not sure what you’re putting out there, check out your activity log, located either by clicking the shortcut lock, then expanding “Who Can See My Stuff” in the upper right corner, or through the button located on your Cover Photo:

Facebook Activity Log


In your log, you can see all your activity across Facebook. (Some of you may come face to face with your Candy Crush addiction, and for that…I’m not sorry.)

Facebook Activity Log


Note the globe icon or people icon in the top right of each post. That icon indicates just who can see what you’ve done on Facebook. Don’t want that post to continue going out to the world? Click on the little pencil for options.

But the best part of the activity log is the mass untagging of photos it allows.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 7.24.57 PM


This setting is great if, like me, you’re out and about at networking events a lot and you find that someone has taken a photo of you stuffing food in your face in the name of “business.” You can adjust who the photos are seen by (click the globe icon), or simply request the tag be removed by clicking next to the photo, then clicking “Report/Remove Tag.”

There you have it! 5 settings you should know and are easier than ever to access and adjust.

Do you have any other tips for managing your privacy on Facebook? Tell me in the comments!

Sarah is a TKG Content Strategist, a veteran blogger of love, life, and unicorns since way back in 2001. On the blog, you can follow her thoughts on content marketing, corporate identity, how to story-tell effectively, and yes, the occasional unicorn.

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