Drop everything you’re doing right now and recheck your Facebook privacy settings. That’s what I did when I realized that people I have no connection to could see my updates and everything else on my personal Facebook page!
I’ll admit that I didn’t pay enough attention to the privacy warnings when the Timeline was introduced. I came to my senses when I was on Mashable.com leaving a comment on an article. I decided to click the link to my profile (on the comment box) to update it. I updated my Mashable profile, but then I noticed a Facebook icon and clicked it. That landed me on my Wall on my personal Facebook page for all the world to see. I was surprised but thought it was because I was logged into Facebook on my computer and figured that was what was going on. Then I clicked on the profiles of commenters I didn’t know, and from there, I was able to repeat the same clicks and landed on their personal Facebook Wall. OMG!
I was so shocked that I had to walk away from my computer to keep from deleting my entire Facebook account.
I don’t want to spend time deciding who can see each update so I made some changes to the defaults. I don’t post anything I wouldn’t want my Friends to see (or the public if it ever got out), but I don’t want to give people outside my network easy access to my personal page.
How to Change Facebook’s Timeline Privacy Settings, Video
I was going to record a video to show you step by step everything I changed, but I found a great one on YouTube and posted it below. I also found this article with step-by-step instructions and screen captures at this link.
Change Privacy Defaults
- Click the drop-down arrow next to Home and click Privacy Settings.
- Under Control Your Default Privacy, choose Friends (choose Custom if you want something different).
Limit Audience for Older Posts
I don’t know how long my Wall had been exposed so I opted to limit the audience for my older posts.
- Scroll down to the Limit the Audience for Past Posts section, click Manage Past Post Visibility, click Limit Old Posts, Confirm, then Close.
- Go to your main profile page. In the Friends section, click See All.
- Click the Edit button on the upper right of the screen.
- Choose Only Me, and Save Changes.
Apps – Delete All
I’ll no longer sign into other Websites via Facebook. Any apps you use will have access to your data…how much? I’m not sure, but from my understanding, it’s quite a bit.
- Click the drop-down arrow next to Home, and click Account Settings.
- Click Apps (in the left sidebar). To remove the app, click the x next to Edit, and Remove.
Apps – Change Sharing Activity
On the other hand, you may want to keep the app but limit who can view your activity. For example, if you sign into HuffingPost.com via Facebook and you haven’t set the privacy, your friends will see every article you click on when they’re on the HuffingtonPost site. If this doesn’t set well with you either, change the privacy setting. Continuing from above, when you click Edit, choose Only Me in the App activity privacy section, and Close. Repeat this for each app you want to change.
If you find other changes that need to be made, please let us know by leaving a comment.
Here’s another post I wrote on designing your Timeline cover image using PowerPoint.