How to Prevent Strangers From Seeing Your Facebook Profile

Make your online activity more private

If you're having problems with strangers viewing your Facebook profile and then contacting you, it's time to make some changes to your privacy settings so only your friends can see your profile. After you make these changes, strangers will no longer be able to see you on Facebook or send you messages.

Some elements of your Facebook profile are always public, such as your profile photo and background photo.

Facebook's Privacy Settings

Facebook's privacy settings can be found in one place. To access it, follow these steps:

  1. In the upper-right corner of your Facebook home page, select the down-arrow and choose Settings & Privacy > Privacy Shortcuts.

  2. Under the Privacy section, select See more privacy settings.

Now you can adjust the settings to your liking. Make the following adjustments for each section.

Facebook privacy settings

Who Can See Your Future Posts?

This setting allows you to determine who can see your posts. It's not retroactive, so it only applies to posts from this point forward.

  1. Next to Who can see your future posts? select Edit.

  2. In the dropdown menu, choose Friends. Now only people you're friends with on Facebook can see your posts. There are other options that you may also choose, but d not choose Public because this selection allows anyone with online access to see your posts.

    If you friend people you don't personally know on Facebook, you may want to choose Friends except..., then identify people or groups you don't want to see your posts.

    Facebook Who can see your future posts?
  3. To finish, select Close.

Limit the Audience for Posts You've Shared

Now that you've limited who can see your future posts, you'll want to do the same with your past posts.

  1. Next to Limit the audience for posts you've shared with friends of friends or Public? select Limit Past Posts.

    Facebook limit audience past posts
  2. Select Limit Past Posts > Limit Past Posts. Now only friends will be able to see past posts.

    Facebook Limit past posts

Review All Your Posts and Things You're Tagged In

Tags and likes provide links for strangers to access your profile. For example, if your Aunt Martha took a photo of everyone at your birthday party, then posted it and tagged you, many strangers now have a link to your profile. Depending on how Aunt Martha has her privacy set up, it could be just her friends, or it could be anyone online. These people can then select your name to go directly to your profile. This setting helps you remove these tags and links.

  1. Next to Review all your posts and things you're tagged in, select Use Activity Log.

    Facebook Use activity log
  2. On the left side, next to Activity Log, select Filter, then select the type of content you would like to review.

    Facebook tag filter search
  3. For any item you want to alter, select the icon to the far right to bring up options for showing or hiding on your timeline or removing tags.

    Facebook remove tag
  4. You can also select the post link, then use the editing tools at the top of the post to remove a tag.

    Facebook remove tag on post
  5. Select Close.

Who Can Send You Friend Requests?

This category has only one setting but it's an important one. If you allow "Everyone" to send you friend requests, you're more likely to end up with a stranger as a friend. Instead, use these steps.

  1. Next to Who can send you friend requests? select Edit.

  2. In the dropdown menu, select Friends of friends

    Facebook friends of friends request
  3. Select Close.

Who Can Look You Up?

There are three settings that help you determine who can find you on Facebook.

  1. Next to Who can look you up using the email address you provided? select Edit. In the dropdown list, select Friends or Only me. Select Close.

    Facebook who can look up via email
  2. Next to Who can look you up using the phone number you provided? select Edit. In the dropdown list, select Friends or Only me. Select Close.

    Facebook who can look up using phone number
  3. Next to Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?, select Edit. Deselect (uncheck) Allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile. Select Close.

    Facebook search engine profile link

Blocking Specific Individuals

Changing these privacy settings should prevent strangers from being able to see your Facebook profile. But if there are specific people contacting you, you can block them and their messages. When you block someone, they can't see the things you post, tag you, start a conversation, add you as a friend, or invite you to events. They also can't send you messages or video calls.

The block feature does not apply to groups, apps, or games that both of you belong to. 

  1. On your Facebook home page, in the upper-right corner, select the down-arrow > Settings & Privacy > Settings.

    Facebook Settings and privacy
  2. In the left rail, select Blocking.

    Facebook blocking
  3. In the Block users section, in the Block users field, enter the person's name. You may be presented with several options of people with that name to choose from. Select Block.

Community Standards Violations

If the stranger contacting you is engaging in behavior that violates Facebook's community standards, you can report them. The behaviors include:

  • Bullying and harassment
  • Direct threats
  • Sexual violence and exploitation
  • Threat to share intimate images or videos

Here's how to do it.

  1. On your Facebook home page, in the upper-right corner, select Messages > See All in Messenger.

    Facebook See All In Messenger
  2. In the upper-left corner, select Settings > Report a Problem.

    Facebook report problem
  3. Under Where is the problem? in the dropdown menu, select Messages or Chat (or whatever item is most applicable to your situation).

    Facebook Report problem messages
  4. Under What happened? explain the situation.

  5. If you have a screenshot of the threatening message, upload the screenshot. Or select Include a screenshot with my report to automatically screenshot the screen you're currently on.

  6. Select Send.