Facebook privacy: How much information are you giving away?

Here are six ways to tighten up your Facebook account.

Facebook's terms and conditions are pretty confusing. So much so, that many of its 2 billion monthly users don't understand what they’re actually agreeing to when they sign up.

So ask yourself, do you know what Facebook is doing with your data? If you’ve never reviewed your Facebook privacy settings, chances are you’re sharing more than you would like...

[Read more: Protecting your Facebook profile picture and cover photo]

Facebook Privacy Guide

What is the Facebook Privacy Basics guide?

The Facebook Privacy Basics guide is an interactive tutorial that shows you such things as how to control who can see what you post and ‘like’, what happens when someone tags you in a photo and how to change what you see on your timeline.

If you are a Facebook user, it’s well worth spending some time reading it.

You can also discover how to organise your friends into groups so that you can share different things with family, friends and work colleagues, for instance - useful for separating posts about your private life away from people you work with.

The guide also explains how to control the kinds of adverts you see while using Facebook.

It’s a comprehensive collection of guides that will take some time to work through if you’re new to Facebook. Our only complaint is that they all demonstrate how to change your settings using the Facebook smartphone app, which is slightly different in terms of menus and options to the Facebook web site.

Here’s a quick guide for how to make some basic changes to tighten up your Facebook account privacy settings.

How to increase your Facebook privacy settings

Step 1: Sign into your account

Facebook settings

Go to www.facebook.com/settings and sign into your account, if prompted.

Click the downward arrow on the far right and scroll down to Settings.


Step 2: Open the privacy settings

Facebook privacy 2014 2

Look down the left of the page and click the Privacy option. 


Step 3: Control who sees your posts


To avoid posting things to your timeline you don’t want certain people to see, head to the Your activity Section, click Edit next to Who can see your future posts?

[Read more: How to find Facebook’s hidden News Feed]

The top box shows your current selection, to change this, click the drop-down arrow and Only Me. All new timeline posts will now be private by default, but you can change who sees them on a post-by-post basis on the timeline itself.


Step 4: Stop your profile from being searched


Click Privacy again and this time look under the How people can find and contact you? Section.

Here you can check who you want to be able to find you on Facebook using your email address or phone number (if you provided one). Choosing Friends for both is the most private option.

Whatever you choose, it’s definitely worth checking the Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your Profile? option to No by deselecting the tick box to prevent anything you post appearing if someone searches for your name on Google or another search site.


Step 5: Keep certain posts that mention you off your timeline

Facebook Privacy 2014 5

Click the Timeline and Tagging option on the left of the page. Setting the Review posts that friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline? option to On means you must approve posts by your friends that mention you before they can appear on your timeline.

This means you can prevent your entire timeline seeing a photo of you in one of your friends’ posts, for example – mutual friends would see your picture, however.

[Read more: How to comment on Facebook using gifs]

Step 6: Lock your timeline

Remain with the Timeline and Tagging Settings, where Who can see posts you've been tagged in on your timeline? and Who can see what others post on your timeline? give you fine control over who sees what.

If you organised your Facebook friends into groups, you can prevent colleagues from seeing posts on your timeline intended for your family, for example.

[Read more: What happens to a Facebook account after death?]

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