How to make your Facebook profile as private as possible

Facebook remains the largest social media platform in the world. But while it’s convenient in connecting with friends or colleagues, it also holds more of your personal data than you realize. If you don’t have the right privacy settings, a lot of personal data may be publicly available.

While you can’t control the advertisers and other outside companies Facebook chooses to sell your information to, there are ways to ensure that other Facebook users can’t see your information unless you want them to see it too.

Here’s how to keep yourself private on Facebook.

How to make your Facebook private

Facebook generally has four levels of privacy, and you can set your accounts and posts to four levels.

Public means that anyone with a link can see it, even if they don’t have a Facebook account.

Friends means that only people on your friends list can see it. You can even exclude certain friends from seeing a post, too.

Friends of friends means that anyone who you share a mutual friend with can see it.

Only me means that it’s totally private, and you’re the only one who can see it.

If you want your Facebook to be as private as possible, you’ll want to choose just me as much as possible.

While some of Facebook’s privacy tools are available in mobile apps, you’ll need to open the Facebook website on your computer to find all of them.

To access Facebook’s privacy menu:

1. Open the Facebook website and log in to your account.

2. Tap your profile picture in the top right corner and select Settings & Privacy in the menu that appears.


3. In the submenu, click Settings.


4. On the Settings page that opens, click Privacy in the left sidebar.

This will open the Privacy Settings and Tools page with more options.

Make your posts private

First, head to the “Your activity” section and change who can see your posts, which posts you’re tagged with, and which pages you follow.

Click on “Who can see your future posts?” to change the privacy settings of all your current posts.

Click “Who can see the people, pages, and lists you follow?” to change who can see what you care about.

Clicking on “Review all your posts and things you’ve flagged” or “Limit the audience of posts you share with friends’ friends or the public” will take you to a new page where you can edit the privacy settings you’ve already uploaded.


Hide your profile so people can’t find you

If you’re concerned about people finding your profile and posts, the How People Find and Contact You tools can help keep you hidden.

Click Who can send you friend requests to limit the amount of people allowed to friend you. Just note that you can’t turn friend requests off completely — the best you can do is limit them to mutual friends.

Who can see your friends list? the option can hide your friends’ list, so people can’t see who’s in your network.

Both Who can look you up using the email address you provided? and Who can look you up using the phone number you provided? options can make it so even if someone already has your contact information, they won’t be able to find you on Facebook.

Clicking Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile? lets you hide your profile from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. This is useful if you’re worried about people finding you by googling your name — just note that it can take a few days to process.

Block people from messaging you

Using the How You Get Message Requests section, you can limit who’s allowed to message you. You can also choose to receive certain messages but filter them into their own folder, away from your inbox.

Under Potential Connections, choose where messages from people who have your phone number and/or mutual friends go. You can choose Chats (your regular inbox), Message requests (a separate folder), or Don’t receive requests (deletes them).

Under Other people, make the same choice for people you’re not connected to and Instagram users. Here, you can’t choose to receive their messages in your regular inbox — you have to choose either Message requests or Don’t receive requests.

How to make a particular Facebook post private

The options we talked about above take control of your entire Facebook account. But whenever you post something, you can give it your own privacy settings. This means you can keep your profile private, but make a single post public, and vice versa.

1. When you are creating a Facebook post, click the drop-down button under your name.


2. In the menu that opens, select the privacy or publicity level of the post you want.

Once you’ve made a post, only your chosen audience will be able to see it.

How to set a privacy check reminder on Facebook

As your privacy needs change, it’s easy to forget to update the Facebook settings mentioned above. Luckily, with Privacy Checker, you can set reminders that periodically remind you to review them.

1. Open the Facebook website and log in to your account.

2. Tap your profile photo in the upper right corner of the screen and select “Settings & Privacy” in the menu that appears.

3. In the submenu, click Privacy Checkup.


4. On the next screen, tap the three horizontal dots and select Set reminder.

5. In the pop-up window, select the time you want Facebook to remind you for the privacy check, and then click Save.