How To Make Your Personal Facebook Profile Private
Anyone who watches the news or reads the newspaper on a semi-regular basis has invariably heard a story about someone who got into trouble because of something they did on Facebook. While there is no surefire cure for Facebook faux pas, you can at least minimize potential blunders by controlling how much of your profile is viewable to the general public.
The First Step
Log into your Facebook account and click on the “Account” drop-down menu. Select “Privacy Preferences.” This will bring up the “Choose Your Privacy Preferences” page. From this page, there are multiple options you need to check depending on how secure you want your Facebook profile to be.
The first set of choices reads, “Control basic information your friends will use to find you on Facebook.” Click the hyperlink that reads, “View Settings.” On this page you can select who can search for you on Facebook, who can send you messages and other options based on how much information you want to share publicly.
For each category, select “Everyone,” “Friends of Friends” or “Friends Only” based on who you want to see what. Go through each option carefully. If you have any doubt about whether or not you’re comfortable displaying certain information to strangers, your best choice is to select “Friends Only.”
Once you’re finished, click the “Preview My Profile” button at the top of the page to see how your profile looks to Facebook users who are not on your friends list.
Other Privacy Settings
Click the “Back to Privacy” button in the top left-hand corner of the screen. Do not just hit your web browser’s back button, or you may lose your changes. You should be back at the “Choose Your Privacy Preferences” page. Click on “Custom” in the column on the left-hand side of the screen. Change your settings for each item to “Everyone,” “Friends of Friends” or “Friends Only” as you wish. After you are done, select the “Customize settings” hyperlink underneath the items. Double check all the items listed to make sure they’re set correctly.
Go back to your profile and copy your Facebook profile URL to the clipboard. Go to the “Account” menu and choose “Log Out.” Facebook will redirect you to the main sign in page. Paste your profile URL in the address box of your web browser. You can now see exactly how your profile appears to people who are not on Facebook.
There is truth in the old cliché that the best defense is a good offense. The best way for people with privacy concerns to avoid problems on Facebook is not to do anything that they wouldn’t want to broadcast to the world. However, even the best of us sometimes get carried away joking around with our friends or lose our temper. If you have strict privacy settings in place, fortunately the only ones that will know about it will be you and your friends.