How to lock down your Facebook account for maximum privacy

Facebook recently created a set of shortcuts to help users control their privacy settings on the platform.

The change follows reports that third parties like Cambridge Analytica were able to harvest people’s information from the platform by abusing Facebook’s APIs.

Researchers also reported that third-party tracking services used the “Login with Facebook” functionality to extract information about people.

The privacy shortcuts menu does not address the most recent issue discovered by researchers, but it does surface privacy settings that should be reviewed regularly.

The settings below in Facebook will give you maximum privacy on the platform.

Privacy Check-up

In a desktop browser, clicking the question mark in the top right corner opens the “Quick help” menu, which contains the new privacy shortcuts menu. It also houses the Privacy Check-up wizard.

Privacy Check-up takes you through three basic settings:

  1. Who can see your new posts by default. Usually this is set to public. It can be changed on a post-by-post basis.
  2. Apps you’ve logged into using Facebook. Set who can see apps you’ve used, and delete any you no longer want.
  3. Profile information visibility – who can see your phone number, email address, birth date, and home town.

Facebook Privacy checkup

Privacy shortcuts

The Privacy menu also lets you set who can see your future posts, while providing links to your activity log.

Activity Log lets you review who can see or find things you have posted or been tagged in.

The privacy shortcuts also lets you set who can send you friend requests, and allows you to block a user.

Blocking unfriends a profile and prevents them from starting conversations with you, or seeing things you post on your timeline.

Facebook Privacy Shortcuts

Timeline review

Under Activity Log is a menu item called “Timeline Review”.

This lets you set whether you must manually approve posts you’re tagged in before they go on your timeline.

This only controls what’s allowed on your timeline. Posts you’re tagged in still appear in search, News Feed, and other places on Facebook.

Facebook Timeline review

Privacy Settings and Tools

In Facebook’s main settings pane are several menus containing privacy settings.

This includes settings from the Privacy menu, as well as several other options.

Amongst other options, the Privacy Settings and Tools menu lets you:

  • Limit the audience of past posts by setting posts you shared publicly, or with friends of friends, to only be shared with friends.
  • Set who can see your friends list.
  • Set who can look you up using your email address or phone number.
  • Set whether you want search engines outside Facebook to link to your profile.

Facebook privacy settings and tools

Timeline and tagging

Facebook also offers granular controls over your timeline, such as:

  • Who can post on your timeline.
  • Who can see what others post on your timeline.
  • Who can see posts that you’re tagged in on your timeline.
  • Review tags that people add to your posts before the tags appear on Facebook.

Facebook Timeline and tagging

Face recognition

Under the Face Recognition menu, you can set whether you want Facebook to recognise you in photos and videos.

You can review photos that you’ve been detected in under the Activity Log, and choose whether you would like to be tagged in them or not.

Facebook Face recognition


Under its Ads Settings, Facebook lets you specify which of your personal information may be used to target advertisements at you.

It also lets you allow or disallow whether people can see your interaction with an ad, or whether it may use data from partners to target you.

You can also customise your interests, advertisers you’ve interacted with, and hide ads related to alcohol, parenting, or pets. You can choose to hide ad topics for six months, a year, or forever.

Facebook Ad Settings

Now read: How to see everything Google and Facebook knows about you

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How to lock down your Facebook account for maximum privacy