Facebook Privacy Guide

Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings

Every day we upload more and more personal information to our Facebook profile: pictures, events, favorite places, personal data… not only that, but day to day more websites allow people to check in via Facebook, which represents a large amount of private information transferred and shared with third parties.

For this reason it is very important to control and properly configure your privacy settings. In this guide, we put together a step by step to learn how to set it up correctly.

Facebook Privacy Guide

1. How to set up lists of friends on Facebook

2. How to control the privacy of photographs shared on Facebook

3. Who can interact with the information we share on Facebook and with our profile

4. Which applications can view our Facebook profiles

Facebook Privacy Guide


1. How to set up lists of friends on Facebook

In today’s world, it’s rare to find a person who does not have a Facebook profile. Friends, classmates, mothers, distant uncles, bosses and coworkers are mixed in a heterogeneous space halfway between the personal and professional, and between pictures of last Saturday and a current link related to our profession.

To avoid embarrassing moments like the “like” your boss left on a picture of your childhood tagged by your mother, Facebook allows us to manage and control our privacy and visibility of our information through mechanisms such as lists of friends or Privacy settings. These are tasks that we should check frequently to make sure nothing has changed since social networks are constantly making changes.

But  how do you know exactly what you’re sharing with your contacts? Let’s look at the necessary steps to properly configure your lists of friends.

1. Define Which Lists are Needed

create list

To view Facebook’s lists, search the bottom of the left column. There are lists labeled as ‘ friends’ , ‘best friends’ or ‘acquaintances’ that always appear as predefined lists. It is also possible that Facebook could add “smart lists” based on information that match from your contacts such as “family” or “university ”.

Besides these friends lists, Facebook gives you the option to create and configure your own lists through the “Create a List”.

2. Add Friends

add friends

Once you’ve established the contact lists you want, you can begin to add contacts. To do this, you will go to each list through the manage list / edit contacts link, and from there you can decide who you want to add. Generally, Facebook will not notify your contacts that have been added to a list, unless it’s a “smart list ”.

For example, if you add a contact to the list “Family“, Facebook will send a notice to that person informing them of their family relationship with you.  

3. Updates to Your Lists

Facebook also gives you the option to view updates from all contacts in a single list in a parallel wall. Due to the algorithm used by Facebook, your main timeline will only show the information of people we share the most relationships with, but thanks to the Facebook Lists, we’re now able to stay updated on those people we haven’t kept in contact with.

4. Sharing the Information

setings and tools

Once you have your contact lists organized, you’ll have to decide what information to share with each list:

  • Biography : Through privacy settings, go to  ‘Who Can See My Stuff?’ to establish the general configuration of your sharing of links or pictures of your profile. Decide whether you want to share your information with just a list of friends, friends of my friends, or custom (which can add several lists and exclude others). This configuration will be the one set by default in all your updates, but you have the option to change it every time you share something new in your profile.
  • Limiting Old Publications : With this option you can apply your new privacy settings to publications prior to the transfer.
  • Using Configuration Lists for Photos and Albums : Facebook provides the same visibility settings in photographs and shared albums we’ve added to our profile, however it gives us the option to change the lists that receive the updates when we upload images.
  • Visibility of Additional Information : Visibility of sections such as “training and employment” “residence” or “personal information” can also be restricted to certain lists.
  5. “Restricted Access” List

private list

This list predefined by Facebook states that all contacts added to this list can only see your publications that are publicly shared. This is the best solution to not reject the friend request you’ve received but still prevent any access to personal information.

The configuration of these parameters takes time and dedication to your personal profile we are not always willing to spend. However, in a society that is increasingly valued over our “personal brand” and our “social self ”, we must be aware of what information we share with our contacts.

 2. How to control the privacy of photographs shared on Facebook

One of the topics that more we must bear in mind at the time of forming our privacy in Facebook is who can see our photos, and who can download them. Facebook gives us several options to upload the images and albums that we put on our profile

1.Uploading Photos and Albums to Our Personal Profile

The photographs and albums that we upload onto our profile generally carry the same privacy settings set by default for all the publications.

Yet, we can also change the privacy of the new publication exclusively. You can say if you want to only share it with your list of friends or contacts, or if you want to restrict viewing to a certain list or person.

Who’s Seeing My Photos

Whenever we get into this section, Facebook will offer the following options: public, friends, acquaintances of friends, just me, or customized. It will be accessing the custom option from where we can find our lists of friends.

2. Cover and Profile Photos

All the photos that we upload or select as our cover photo automatically become ‘public’. If, on having changed them, we want it to disappear, we will have to eliminate it from the album “Cover Photos”, and upload it to another album.

Our profile picture also will be public, and all the people that have access to your profile will be able to see it. However, the comments and likes in the photo, as well as the other photos of this same album, will have the settings set by default for the rest of the publications.

 3. Tagging Your Contacts in Photos

If we label or mention some of our contacts in one of our pictures, we have to be aware that this will change to the visibility defined by the other contact in question. For example, if my contact has established that all their photos are public, my photograph in which he is labeled will become public. That is why we should worry, not only for our settings, but also those of our friends.

4. Can I keep my Facebook photos from being downloaded by other people?

More than likely, on more than one occasion you’ve asked the question: Can I keep my Facebook photos from being downloaded by other people?

The first thing we have to say is no. On one hand, it is inevitable that someone might take a screenshot of your photo, and secondly, because Facebook makes it too easy by including an option to “Download” in all photos.

Download Facebook

We will try to give you some advice for choosing the right privacy settings for the photos you have on Facebook.

– Save the Photos That are Most Personal to You

This is a very simple but effective suggestion. Do not upload photos to your profile that you do not want to be seen by your boss, co-workers or friends from the gym.

–  Use Other Websites to Show Your Professional Photographs

If you’re a professional photographer, do not use social media as a platform to show your photos. Instead, use other websites like Flickr.

– Do No Upload Photos in High Resolution

The images in high resolution are much more likely to be used for commercial purposes.

–  Report if Someone Misuses One of Your Images

Facebook allows you to file a report if you find that someone is making improper use of your images.

Report Facebook

3. Who can interact with the information we share on Facebook and with our profile

Aspects that will be defined in this case are:

  • Who can publish on our timeline
  • Who can send us private messages
  • Who can see our private information on our timeline
  • Who can we tag in photos and publications

Like in other occasions, the display options are me, friends, public, only me and custom. You can choose to let only one list or multiple lists interact with your account, or decide who you cannot interact.

All these fields are editable and independent. To access the settings, just click on the wheel at the top left / privacy settings. In all these sections, as we explained to create lists of friends, we can begin to define the different sections.

The most important aspect comes in the labeling. When one of our contacts upload a photo or publication and tag us, we must realize that this publication is not only seen by our contacts based on our configuration, but also for the contacts of the person who uploaded this photo or publication. We therefore recommend implementing the option “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline”. With this setting, before you’re tagged, Facebook will ask for permission to post the new publication on your timeline.

The Option ‘View As’

Who Can Interact with My Timeline

Once we have properly marked all the privacy settings for your profile, Facebook offers the option of checking that everything is correct. To do this, we have to go to Timeline and Tagging settings / View As.

Once you access your profile through this option, we go sailing through the different tabs to check the visibility of each. By default, we will see how your profile will look to a person who you have not added as a friend. Through the top search box you can put the names of some of your friends to check if the settings are working properly. For example, see if the filter will prevent your family from seeing the photos of your friends and vice versa.

In addition, we must remember that Facebook deleted the privacy option “Who can search for your profile by your name?”, so now anyone who puts your name in the search box on the social network, will find you. Thus, the only alternative to not being located is by “calling us” through another way. Surely you know a friend who already does that.

 4. Which applications can view our Facebook profiles

You have configured your photographs, privacy settings, and your lists. Does that mean your profile is out of danger and prying reach? No. We still have one loose end: applications. These programs with which we interact with, can have access to all our information that we share in our personal profile, and can even publish on our behalf.

Contests, games, promotions… there are thousands of applications available on Facebook, to which many of us we get daily. Most of these applications are developed by companies or brands to boost social presence, win more fans, and to obtain certain data about their followers.

To access these applications normally, we accept the transfer of certain information such as name, age, photos, contacts…

It may be that we do not think it’s important for the company or brand in question get this information; however we must know that we have the option, once the game is used or the promotion is terminated, to remove the access of this app to our data.

To do this, one will have to go to Privacy Settings/Applications/Show All Applications. Then all our applications who have been receiving access to our data will appear. From here, we can configure the access to our data.


Another option that we control is the “applications that others use“, designed primarily for applications created by other companies. Here we can limit the information that cannot be disclosed by Facebook to these other companies.

app others use

Once we have set up all these parameters, the configuration for our Facebook profile will be controlled. However, we recommend that you monitor and control your privacy periodically. Continued Facebook changes sometimes cause changes in our privacy settings, exposing all the publications whose visibility we had defined.

In the same way, if we have our privacy controlled but not that of our contacts, our updates can turn out to be compromised.

We encourage you to spend an afternoon setting these parameters. The image we give of ourselves in social networks is becoming more important and has more weight in the employment screening process.

Do you have any question? Ask us!

Facebook Privacy Guide