Facebook Privacy Settings Made Simple

Learn how to share only what you want with the people you choose

Facebook's privacy settings are complicated, so it's essential to pay attention and learn the basics of controlling who sees the content you share.

There are dangers of oversharing on Facebook. Many people make their Facebook posts and photos private so that only their friends or family can see what they post on the network. You can do that by adjusting your Facebook Privacy Settings.

You use the privacy controls on Facebook—the default settings that apply to large categories of your information—in conjunction with the audience selector that appears on each individual piece of content you post to the site. Most people use both.

How to Change Your Default Facebook Privacy Settings

The option you choose for your default privacy is important because it applies to everything you post on Facebook unless you override it manually using the audience selector. For example, you may set the general default sharing level to Friends but use the audience selector to set some posts to Public (viewable to anyone) or a curated list of people, such as your family.

Here's how to change your default Facebook Privacy Settings:

  1. Select the arrow in the upper-right corner of Facebook.

    Facebook on a computer with the arrow icon highlighted
  2. Choose Settings & Privacy in the drop-down menu.

    Settings & Privacy highlighted in the Facebook menu
  3. Select Settings.

    The Facebook Settings & Privacy menu qith Settings highlighted
  4. In the sidebar, choose Privacy.

    Facebook Settings sidebar with Privacy highlighted
  5. Next to each item in the Your Activity and How People Find and Contact You sections, click Edit to expand the item.

    The Facebook Your Activity Privacy settings menu
  6. Select the audience selector icon.

    Facebook audience selector in Privacy settings
  7. Choose one of the options in the drop-down menu. Select More at the bottom of the menu to see additional options. Select one.

    The options are:​

    • Public: Anyone can see what you post or the details of your profile page.
    • Friends: Only your friends can see your posts and information.
    • Friends except: Exclude certain contacts.
    • Specific friends: Customize who sees something by adding a list of people from your friend's list.
    • Only me: Your information or posts go to your page, but you are the only person who can see those items.
    • Custom: Include or exclude people from your friend's list or group lists that you have created or are part of.

    Any groups or custom friends lists that you are part of appear below these options, and they can be chosen as well. Most people select Friends as the default option for posts and other activities.

    Facebook audience selector expanded to show options

    You can override this default setting individually by using the audience selector icon that appears with each new status box and on your older posts and photos.

Additional Facebook Privacy Settings

The Privacy sidebar contains entries for other settings. The menu items in the sidebar contain information on you and settings you can adjust to lock down your privacy further. It may take some time to navigate and change all the settings you'll find here because some of these options take you to a deeper page that contains dozens of categories you can tweak.  Here's a quick overview of those settings.

Your Facebook Information: This section contains menu items that go into detail about the specific types of information you shared with Facebook.

Facebook's Your Facebook Information privacy screen

Face Recognition: Have you ever noticed that Facebook can examine pictures of you and pick your face out of a crowd? If so, and that weirds you out, this is where you change that setting. Click Edit to turn this option on or off.

Facebook Face Recognition settings

Profile and Tagging: This section contains information about who can see your timeline, tag you in posts, and what your review options are for those posts before they are made public. Tagging is a way people can label any photo or post with your name, which makes that photo or post appear in various news feeds and search results for your name. Think of a tag as a name label, and here is where you control how your name label is used.

Facebook Profile and Tagging settings

Public Posts: Here's where you adjust settings for who can follow you, comment on your public posts, or view your public profile.

Facebook Public Post Filters and Tools

Blocking: This section allows you to create a Restricted List, which is people you are friends with, but you don't want them to see everything you post. You'll also find settings to Block users and Block messages, among other things in this section.

Facebook Blocking privacy options

Stories: Stories are a relatively new addition to Facebook. The settings here are the sharing options related to your stories.

Facebook Stories privacy settings

How to Adjust Facebook Privacy Settings

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