Facebook's New Profile and Timeline Privacy Settings

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The new Facebook Timeline is arguably the most drastic layout overhaul in the history of Facebook, causing lots of confusion and disorientation for several users.

It will take some time to get used to the new layout and new features, and customizing your own privacy settings with the new layout can seem intimidating.

With Timeline, every single wall post, photo, and friend that you have made since the day you joined Facebook is searchable, and that can be a nightmare for those long-time users who don’t want everything to be viewable by strangers or specific friends.

The next few pages will walk you through the most important privacy settings on Facebook Timeline.

Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to sharing the right content with the right people.

Make Your Posts Visible to Friends Only

Facebook New Profile Timeline Privacy Settings
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Since Timeline displays information from years back, it’s possible that your older information may have different privacy settings that were set during that time period.

The fastest and easiest way to make your information only visible to people on your friends list is to go to the top right corner, press the downward arrow symbol, select “Privacy Settings” and look for the option that says “Limit the Audience for Past Posts.”

By pressing “Manage Past Post Visibility,” a box will pop up asking if you want to limit post visibility. If you decide to press “Limit Old Posts,” then all content you’ve previously shared with more than just your friends (like public posts) will automatically only be visible to your friend list. People who were previously tagged and their friends will still be able to view this content, regardless of this setting.

Restrict Certain Friends from Viewing Your Timeline

Facebook New Profile Timeline Privacy Settings
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Sometimes there are specific people you want to restrict from viewing certain content on Facebook. To create a list of people you want to keep on your Facebook friends list but restrict Timeline visibility from, you can choose “Edit Settings” beside the “How You Connect” option on the privacy settings page.

The last option, “Who can see posts by others on your timeline?” allows you to customize a list of friends to restrict. Beside this label, choose the “Custom” option and click on it. This will open up another box where you can input a list of friends’ names.

Once you hit “Save Changes,” the friend names you entered under that “Hide this from” option will not be able to see posts from other people on your Timeline.

Make Status Updates and Posts that Are Only Visible to Certain People

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If you are updating your Facebook status or want to share a piece of content on your own Timeline, there are several ways to make it visible to exactly who you want to see it.

Beside the “Post” button, there is a dropdown option so you can choose your sharing method. The default sharing method is “Friends,” so if you don’t decide to change this and just hit “Post,” then your post will be shared with friends only.

Public. Posts shared to the public will be visible to everyone, including everyone who subscribes to your public updates on Facebook.

Friends. Posts are only shared with your Facebook friends.

Custom. Posts are only shared with friends’ names you select.

Lists. Posts are shared with specific lists such as coworkers, close friends, school colleagues or those who live in your local area.

Customize the Privacy Settings for Your Personal Information

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On your Facebook Timeline right below your profile picture thumbnail, there should be a clickable link that says “About.” When you click this, you’re taken to your page with all your work and education information, contact information, relationships and so on.

You can edit each information box separately. All you have to do is click on the “Edit” button in the top right corner of any box to display your information. There is a dropdown arrow button for each piece of information to customize privacy settings, meaning you have complete and total control with you who are sharing your personal information with.

For example, if you wanted to share your cell phone number with just five other people, you would click the “Edit” button on the “Contact Info” box, click the dropdown arrow menu next to your mobile phone numbers and choose “Custom.” You would then type the names of your friends who you want to have access to seeing your phone number on your profile. Hit “Save changes” and you’re done.

Set Up Tagging Approvals

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There’s a great new option on Facebook where you can actually review and approve photos, notes, videos or whatever else that other people tag you in.

On the privacy settings page, look for “How Tags Work” and then choose “Edit Settings.” Turn “Timeline Review” and “Tag Review” to “On” by clicking on them and enabling them.

Whenever a friend tags you in something, an option called “Needs Review” will appear under your wall on your main profile. Click this to approve or reject anything you’ve been tagged in.

View Your Profile as One of Your Friends

Facebook New Profile Timeline Privacy Settings
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Even after you’ve adjusted and customized all of your Facebook privacy settings, you never know exactly how everyone else can see your Timeline. This is where the “View as” option comes in real handy.

Look for the “View Activity” option on the right side of your Timeline. Beside it, there is a downward facing arrow. Click it and choose “View as.”

At the top of your profile, an option will appear where you can enter a friend’s name. Enter then name of a friend and hit enter. Your Timeline will be displayed from that person’s point of view. If you have certain content restricted from them according to your privacy settings, that content should not be viewable.

This is a great option for seeing exactly how others can view your Timeline and personal information.