How to Test Your Facebook Privacy Settings

You set them, but how do you know if they're working or not?

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Facebook seems to be constantly changing the way it implements users' privacy settings. Who knows, they may change the settings twice before you even finish reading this article.

Are privacy settings really that important? You bet they are. If set incorrectly, you could end up giving criminals and potential stalkers all sorts of useful information. Think of Facebook as a giant bathroom stall that the world has access to and then think about posting all kinds of personal information on the walls of that stall.

Ok, maybe that wasn't the best analogy, but try to enjoy your lunch anyway.

How do you know the privacy settings you established for your "stuff", as Facebook likes to call it, are set as you intended? How do you know if your privacy settings are working at all or didn't get accidentally changed to public? That is exactly what we're going to go over in this article. Let's get to it. The first thing we need to do is to see what our Facebook posts and profile look like as someone else.

To View Your Facebook Page as Someone Else:

1. Log on to Facebook.

2. Click on your name in the corner to view your Timeline.

3. Click the icon just below your cover photo and click the "View As" link.

Following the steps above will allow you to see how your profile looks to the general public. This will let you know if the privacy settings that you think are in place are actually set correctly and functioning as you intended.

Additionally, you can enter a person's name in the blank provided and it will show you what that specific person can see. This allows you to check permissions of individuals you've placed on "special" lists or have blocked.

Take a moment to go back through your Timeline to see if there are any items that are more public than you want them to be.

If you encounter a lot of items that appear to be public and you would rather not take the time to go through years and years worth of Facebook posts, changing the permissions for each, you can opt to change permissions for all pasts posts.

To Change Privacy Permissions on All Past Posts:

1. Log on to Facebook

2. Click on the drop down icon next to your name and select "Settings".

3. On the menu on the far left of the screen, select "Privacy".

4. Locate the section that says "Who can see my stuff?" and then select "Limit the audience for posts shared with Friends of Friends or Public"

5. Select "Limit Old Posts".

As the Facebook support site points out, there are some limitations to this function. If you used custom permissions on an old post, then those permissions won't be affected by the change. There is no easy way to undo this global change once you commit to it. Changing permissions back to what they were (or to something else) on past posts will require you to change permissions on each and every post you want to make more (or less) public. People tagged in the past posts and people they tag will still have access to the old posts as well. Likewise, viewing permissions for posts that you're tagged in are controlled by the tagger of that post.

As we said in the beginning of this article, Facebook is famous for making sweeping changes to privacy and security options, so it is probably a good idea to check your privacy settings about once a month to see if there have been any major changes that you might want to check out.

Check out some of Lifewire's other Facebook-related content for more tips on how to say safe on the big blue social network.

Looking for even more Facebook-related security help? We can help you Secure Your Facebook Timeline show you 10 Things You Should Never Post on Social Networks and also teach you How to Easily Backup Your Facebook Data.

Check out even more helpful tips in the links below: