How to Prevent Strangers From Seeing Your Facebook Profile

A few tweaks to Facebook settings hides your profile from strangers

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If you are having problems with strangers viewing your Facebook profile and then contacting you, it is time to make some changes to your privacy settings so only people on your Facebook friends list can see your profile. Strangers won't be able to see you or send you messages anymore. From now on, only your friends can see you.

At the top of your Facebook page, click the downward-facing arrow at the right of the screen and select Settings from the drop-down menu. Click on the Privacy link in the left column to open the Privacy Settings and Tools screen. The page has three categories of privacy options. Make edits to each of these sections to protect your privacy, as follows.​

Who Can See My Stuff?

  • In the first category, next to the question that says "Who can see your future posts?" select the Edit button to specify who can see any posts you make in the future. Select Friends to prevent everyone except people on your Facebook friends list from seeing your profile. There are other options, just don't choose Public, which allows anyone to see your profile. You can choose Only Me, which prevents even your friends from seeing your posts, or you can select a specific group of your friends—those on your chat list, people you've identified as family members and other sub-classifications of friends. Click Close to save the change. Future posts will be marked as visible to the group you specify unless you manually make a change to your post at the time you make it.
  • Next to "Review all your posts and things you're tagged in" click on Use Activity Log. Select Posts You're Tagged In from the left panel. Hover over the Audience icon in each post. Most of them will say the posts can be seen by the poster and all the poster's friends. Open each post that you want to change and remove the tag or unlike the post if you had previously liked it. That like is a link to your profile.
  • Click Limit Past Posts next to  "Limit the audience for posts you've shared with a friend of friends or Public?" to change the audiences on all these old posts to Friends. 

Who Can Contact Me?

This category has only one setting but it is an important one. Next to "Who can send you friend requests? click the Edit button and select Friends of friends.  The only other option is "Everyone," which permits anyone to send you a message.

Who Can Look Me Up?

This category has three questions. Use the Edit button next to each one to make your selection. Select Friends for "Who can look you up using the email address you provided" and "Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?" Turn off the option next to "Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?"

Options for Blocking Specific Individuals

Changing the privacy settings should take care of your problem, but if you have specific strangers who are contacting you, you can block them and their messages immediately. Select Blocking from the left panel of the Settings screen and enter the person's name in the sections entitled "Block users" and "Block 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 does not apply to groups, apps or games that both you and the stranger who is bothering you belong to. 

Community Standards Violations

Facebook provides methods to report any Facebook member who commits a Community Standard violation. Any member of Facebook who commits one of these should be reported to the site. Those violations include:

To report a violation, click the Help Center icon at the top of the Facebook screen and enter "how to report a threatening message" into the search field for specific instructions.