How to Make Facebook Private

Making your Facebook profile private is an excellent way to protect your privacy and personal information online. With just a few tweaks to your privacy settings, you can control precisely who gets to see your profile details, posts, photos, friends list, and more.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions to lock down your Facebook privacy on both desktop and mobile. By the end, your profile will be as private as possible without deleting your account entirely.

Why Make Your Facebook Profile Private?

Here are some key reasons why you may want to make your Facebook profile more private:

  • Identity theft – The more personal information you make public, the easier it is for someone to steal your identity. Details like your birthday, hometown, family members, and current city can help criminals pretend to be you online.
  • Employers checking your profile – Many employers now check candidates’ social media profiles during the hiring process. You likely don’t want potential bosses seeing your weekend party photos.
  • Stalkers or creeps – Making it harder for strangers to find and contact you on Facebook can protect you from stalking and harassment.
  • Limit data collection – Facebook collects massive amounts of data about you for ad targeting. Making your profile private limits this data gathering.
  • Default public settings – Facebook’s default privacy settings make your posts, bio, and other info public. You have to manually change these.
  • Sensitive personal info – Most people share contact info, family details, birthday, hometown, and relationship status which you may want to hide.

By making your Facebook profile and activity private, you can control what information is visible to whom. Let’s look at the different privacy options available on Facebook.

Facebook’s Privacy Options

When adjusting privacy settings on Facebook, you have several options for who can see your profile and posts:

  • Public – This makes your information visible to everyone on or off Facebook. Avoid this for maximum privacy.
  • Friends – Only people you are connected with as friends on Facebook can see content set to this privacy level.
  • Friends except – You can exclude specific friends from seeing posts marked with this setting.
  • Specific friends – This allows you to pick certain friends that will be able to access the content.
  • Only me – This hides the information from everyone except you. This is the most private option.

For the highest level of privacy, you will want to select Only me whenever this option is available. The following sections will show you exactly how to access these privacy options from your desktop or mobile device.

Adjust Privacy Settings on Desktop

If you use Facebook primarily on a desktop web browser, here is how you can modify your privacy settings:

  1. Login to your Facebook account in any web browser.
  2. Click on the upside down triangle button next to the Home button in the top right corner.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Settings & Privacy.
  4. Next, choose Settings from the left sidebar.
  5. Select Privacy from the vertical menu bar on the left side of the screen.

This will open the Privacy Settings page, where you can begin adjusting who sees what on your profile:

Now let’s go through the key sections on this page:

Change Privacy of Current and Past Posts

Under the Your activity section, you will see two options that control your timeline posts:

  • Who can see your future posts? – Click on Edit and change from the default Public setting to Friends or Only me to make all your future posts private.
  • Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public – Click on Limit Past Posts to make all previous public posts only visible to friends.

Make Your Friends List Private

Scroll down to the How people can find and contact you section. Next to Who can see your friends list? click on Edit. Choose Friends or Only me to hide your friend list.

Remove Profile from Search Engine Results

In the same How people find and contact you section, find the option Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile? and click Edit. Uncheck the box next to Allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile and click Save Changes.

This will remove your profile from appearing in search engine results within a few days.

Make Profile Details Private

Click on your profile picture in the top right corner and select View Profile. On your profile, click the About section, then click the Edit Details button.

This will open an edit mode where you can toggle off any profile info you want to hide from public view, like your hometown, relationship status, and more.

Prevent Search Engines from Indexing Your Profile

Go back to Settings > Privacy and find the option Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile? Click Edit and uncheck the box next to Allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile.

This will remove your profile from Google and other search engine results within a few days.

That covers the key desktop privacy settings you should check to lock down your account. Let’s move on to the steps for mobile.

Adjust Privacy on the Facebook Mobile App

You can also change your privacy settings directly in the Facebook mobile app for iPhone or Android. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Facebook app and tap the hamburger menu icon in the bottom right (Android) or top right (iPhone).
  2. Scroll down and select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap Privacy Checkup to quickly adjust key privacy settings.
  5. Alternatively, tap Privacy Shortcuts to access different privacy options.

Some key settings to adjust under Privacy Shortcuts include:

  • Who can see your posts – Change default privacy of your timeline posts.
  • Who can see your friends list – Make your friends list private.
  • Who can look you up – Remove your profile from search results.
  • Who can see your information – Make profile details like bio and profile photo private.

The Privacy Checkup guides you through reviewing key privacy topics like who can see your posts, how people can find you, and securing your account. Follow the prompts to adjust these settings.

Make Specific Facebook Posts Private

Rather than making your entire timeline private, you may want to pick and choose which posts are visible to whom.

When you create a new post in the Facebook app or desktop website, you can click the audience selector button to choose who can see that post:

Set it to Friends, Specific Friends, or Only Me to make a single post private while keeping your profile public. Use this option on a post-by-post basis for maximum control.

Set Up Privacy Check Reminders

To help remember to regularly check your privacy settings, you can set up automatic reminders using Facebook’s Privacy Checkup tool:

  1. Click the upside down triangle button next to Home and select Settings & Privacy.
  2. Click Privacy Checkup.
  3. Click the three dots in the top right corner.
  4. Select Set Up Reminders.
  5. Choose how often you want to be reminded and click Save.

Facebook will now periodically remind you to review your privacy settings using their guided checkup process.

Extra Tips for Locking Down Your Privacy

Here are some additional steps you can take to increase your privacy on Facebook:

  • Turn off facial recognition – This prevents Facebook from identifying you in photos. Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Face Recognition and toggle it off.
  • Make all past posts private – Use the Limit Past Posts tool to make old posts visible to friends only. This is irreversible.
  • Adjust privacy of all photo albums – Go to your profile, click Photos > Albums, edit each album and change the privacy setting.
  • Limit old posts and tags visibility – Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Timeline and Tagging to change visibility of posts you’re tagged in.
  • Hide like activity – Other users can see what posts and pages you’ve liked. To hide this, go to your profile, click More > Likes > Edit Privacy.
  • Prevent public sharing of posts – Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Public Posts to limit who can share, react, and comment.
  • Revoke app permissions – Remove access for unused apps under Settings & Privacy > Settings > Apps and Websites.
  • Customize ad preferences – Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Ads and modify preferences to limit data gathering.

Take the time to carefully go through each of Facebook’s privacy controls to tailor them to your comfort level.

Summary: How to Make Facebook Private

To summarize, here are the key steps covered in this guide on how to make your Facebook profile private:

  • Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Privacy to access main privacy controls.
  • Change default privacy of timeline posts to Friends or Only Me.
  • Use Limit Past Posts tool to make existing public posts private.
  • Make your friends list visible to Friends Only or Only Me.
  • Remove your profile from search engine results.
  • Toggle off public profile info like bio, birthday, hometown, etc.
  • Use post audience selector to pick privacy for individual posts.
  • Set up Privacy Checkup reminders.
  • Adjust additional settings like face recognition, apps, and ads.

Following these steps will help you transform your Facebook profile into a locked down private account. The only way to make it 100% private is to delete Facebook entirely. But for those who want to maintain a presence on the platform while maximizing privacy, these tips are invaluable.

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