How to test your Facebook privacy settings

You posed them, but how do you know if they work or not?

Facebook seems to be constantly changing the way it implements users’ privacy settings. Who knows, they may change the settings twice before you even finish reading this article.

Are privacy settings so important? You bet they are. If put incorrectly, you can end up giving criminals and potential stalkers all sorts of useful information. Think of Facebook as a giant bathroom stall where the world has access to and then consider posting all sorts of personal information on the walls of the stall. Ok, maybe that was not the best analogy, but try to enjoy your lunch.

How do you know the privacy settings you have set up for your “stuff”, as Facebook would like to call it, are set up as you planned? How do you know if your privacy settings are working completely or have not been accidentally changed by the public? This is exactly what we are going to cover in this article. Let’s get it. The first thing we need to do is see what our Facebook posts and profile look like.

To see your Facebook page as someone else:

  1. Sign in to Facebook.
  2. Click on your name in the corner to see your timeline.
  3. Click on the icon just below your cover photo and click the “View As” link.

Following the above steps, you can see what your profile looks like to the general public. This will let you know if the privacy settings you think are in place are actually correct and functional as you intended. In addition, you can provide a person’s name in the space provided and it will show you what that particular person can see. It allows you to verify or prevent permissions of individuals you have placed on special lists.

Take a moment to go back through your timeline to see if there are items that are more public than you want them to be.

If you experience a lot of items that appear to be public and you would rather not take the time to go through Facebook posts for years, you can change the permissions for all previous posts.

Privacy permissions on all previous messages changed:

  1. Sign in to Facebook
  2. Click the drop-down icon next to your name and select ‘Settings’.

Select ‘Privacy’ in the menu on the right of the screen.

  1. Find the passage that says, “Who can see my good?” and then select “Restrict audience for messages shared with friends of friends or audience”
  2. Select ‘Restrict old messages’.

As the Facebook support website points out, there are restrictions on this feature. If you used your personal rights on an old message, those permissions will not be affected by the change. There is no easy way to extract this global change once you have committed to it. If you return permissions to what they were (or something else) on previous posts, you will need to change permissions on each post you want to make more (or less) public. People tagged in recent posts, and people tagging them, will also have access to the old posts. Similarly, the selection permissions for posts you have tagged are controlled by the tagger of that post.

As we said at the beginning of this article, Facebook is known for making big changes in privacy and security options. So it’s probably a good idea to check your privacy settings once a month to see if there are any major changes you might want to look at.

Check out some of the other Facebook related content for more tips on how to say goodbye on the big blue social network.


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