How to Prevent Strangers From Seeing Your Facebook Profile

Make your online activity more private

If you have problems with strangers viewing your Facebook profile and then contacting you, make changes to your privacy settings so that only your friends see your profile. After you make these changes, strangers can't 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.

    The Account icon on Facebook
  2. Choose Settings & Privacy.

    Settings & Privacy on Facebook
  3. Select Privacy Shortcuts.

    The "Privacy Shortcuts" command
  4. Select See more privacy settings.

    "See more privacy settings" on the Privacy Shortcuts page on Facebook
  5. Adjust the settings to your liking.

    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.

    The Edit link next to "Who can see your future posts?" on Facebook
  2. In the drop-down menu, choose Friends. Now only people you're friends with on Facebook can see your posts. You may also choose other options, but don't 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, choose Friends except, then identify the 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 Shared

Now that you've limited who can see your future posts, 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.

    The "Limit Past Posts" option in Facebook
  2. Select Limit Past Posts.

    The "Limit Past Posts" button in Facebook settings
  3. Choose Limit Past Posts again to confirm.

    The "Limit Past Posts" confirmation button in Facebook settings

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, strangers have a link to your profile.

Depending on how Aunt Martha has her privacy set up, it could be her friends or anyone online. These people can select your name to go 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.

    The "Use Activity Log" button in Facebook settings
  2. On the left side, next to Activity Log, select Filter.

    The Filter command in Facebook's Activity Log
  3. Select the type of content you would like to review by clicking the radio button to the right and then selecting Save Changes.

    Filter options for the Activity Log in Facebook settings
  4. For any item that you want to alter, select the icon to the right to display options for showing or hiding it on your timeline or removing tags.

    The edit button for an item in Facebook's Activity Log
  5. You can also select the post link and use the editing tools at the top of the post to remove a tag.

    Facebook remove tag on post
  6. 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 might end up with a stranger as a friend. Instead, use these steps.

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

    The Edit link next to "Who can send you friend requests?" on Facebook
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Friends of friends.

    Facebook friends of friends request
  3. Select Close.

Who Can Look You Up?

Three settings 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 drop-down list, select Friends or Only me. Select Close.

    Edit next to "Who can look you up using the email address you provided" on Facebook
  2. Next to Who can look you up using the phone number you provided, select Edit. In the drop-down list, select Friends or Only me. Select Close.

    Edit next to "Who can look you up using the phone number you provided" in Facebook
  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.

    The Edit option next to "Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile" on Facebook

Block Specific Individuals

Changing these privacy settings should prevent strangers from seeing your Facebook profile. If a stranger contacts you, and you don't want to interact with them, block them and their messages.

When you block someone, they can't see your posts, 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 doesn't 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.

    The Account icon on Facebook
  2. Choose Settings & Privacy.

    Settings & Privacy on Facebook
  3. Choose Settings.

    Settings on Facebook
  4. In the left section, select Blocking.

    The Blocking category in Facebook settings
  5. 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.

    The Block Users box and Block button

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.
  • Threatening to share intimate images or videos.

How to Report Someone on Facebook

Here's how to do it.

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

    The Messenger icon
  2. Choose See All in Messenger.

    The "See All in Messenger" option
  3. In the upper-left corner, select the gear icon and then choose Report a Problem.

    The "Report a Problem" command in Facebook Messenger
  4. Under Where is the problem in the drop-down menu, select Messages or Chat (or whatever item is most applicable to your situation).

    Facebook Report problem messages
  5. Under What happened, explain the situation.

  6. 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.

  7. Select Send.

Was this page helpful?