How To Protect Your Privacy On Facebook Timeline

People worry that timeline will put their entire lives on display or require a seemingly infinite amount of time to customize. Neither of these has to be true!
Timeline will become mandatory for all users on Facebook over the coming weeks. When it hits your profile, you’ll have  seven days to change your privacy settings or they’ll default to ones set by Facebook.
You don’t have to go through every single item shown on the timeline to hide them. You can set a default level of visibility by clicking on the down arrow in the uppermost right-hand corner of any screen on Facebook and clicking on privacy settings in the pulldown menu.
Scroll down on the resulting page, and you’ll see that the second-to-last item says “limit the audience for past posts,” and to the right of them are the words are the linked “manage past post visibility.” Click on the link and a pop-up window appears.

The pop-up includes a link in the bottom-left corner to a page describing the new privacy controls, which we recommend you read — do it in a separate tab by right-clicking on “learn about changing old posts.” Then, when you’re ready, click on “limit old posts,” and a confirmation window will pop up next.

Click on “confirm” and then you can rest assured that all of your past timeline posts are visible only to friends.

Now, you can make further restrictions on visibility of your profile. Click on the down arrow and select “privacy settings” to make more changes.

The main privacy page has an overall default setting plus five other categories of settings that all affect different aspects of your profile.
We’ve covered each of these areas in separate posts.
One we hadn’t mentioned in a while is the one labeled “blocked people and apps,” which bears revisiting because, like the label indicates, this section provides a single place for you to block applications from appearing on your profile and also list any individuals you don’t want accessing your timeline.
The setting labeled “apps and websites” has recently gained increased relevance to timeline now that applications are posting activity stories — actions that are essentially variations on like –  in the right-hand column of the advanced profile.
The setting in the center called “how tags work” lets you decide whether you want to be able to pre-approve for possible inclusion on your timeline any photo, status update or comment you get tagged in. If you don’t attend to this area, anything people put your name on could wind up on your timeline. 

 When you click on the setting for tags, you’ll see five different options in the resulting window — notice the qualification that you can only keep a tag from showing up on your own profile. When other people label you in a photo that you don’t want to be tagged in, you’ll need to delete the tags individually even if you turn on tag review (like we recommend) and turn off tag suggestions, which would suggest you when others are tagging photos.
Similarly, if you’re concerned about check-ins showing up on your profile, regardless of whether you disallow others from tagging you when they check in, you’ll also want to go “apps and websites” and adjust your visibility settings for places.

You can manually change any individual post by clicking on the button on the cover image labeled activity log, and then on the resulting page, go to the update describing the post and click on the cog icon to the right of it. The options that will appear in the resulting pull-down menu include public, friends only, yourself or custom. The latter lets you choose lists of friends, individuals or combinations thereof.
You can also adjust the visibility of individual posts — be they links, images, videos, status updates or combinations thereof — on the main timeline page by moving your mouse to the uppermost right-hand corner over the item. That makes two icons visible. The star icon in that area lets you adjust the size of photos and posts that include photos. The grey pencil lets you choose to highlight something, hide it, delete it or do either action with all posts of the same genre as what you’ve got your mouse on.
Unfortunately, there’s only one part of timeline that you can’t make private and that’s the cover image. So make sure you choose something for that area that is suitable for all audiences.
Finally, to check out what different people you know can see on the profile, click on the cog icon under the cover photo, then select ” view as” from the pulldown menu to see how your profile looks to the public. If you make use of friend lists that limit visibility to different people — we highly recommend this — you can input their names to see what they see.

Do you have questions, comments, or suggestions? Feel free to post a comment! 

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