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Facebook Privacy Settings: How to Make Facebook Private in 2022

Facebook and privacy are two mutually exclusive concepts, but there are some Facebook privacy settings you can tweak to make your social media experience a little less invasive. Keep reading to learn more.

Aleksander Hougen
By Aleksander Hougen (Managing Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-02-15T20:52:33+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey

If you’re concerned with online privacy, your best bet is to delete your social media accounts and never look back. That said, if you’re not willing to go quite that far, there are some privacy and security settings you can play with to make your Facebook account more private. In this guide to Facebook privacy settings, we’ll cover everything you need to know.

There are a bunch of different privacy options inside Facebook’s settings panel, and navigating them all can be somewhat confusing. What makes this even worse is that Facebook changes these settings relatively frequently, so here we’ll take a look at the steps needed to navigate the new Facebook privacy settings.

Key Takeaways:

  • As long as you have a Facebook account (or any other social media), your online privacy is compromised by default.
  • You can use the privacy settings to make your Facebook account a lot more secure and private.
  • Consider deleting or deactivating your Facebook account rather than simply changing the privacy settings if you really want your personal information to remain private. This will also limit how many targeted ads you’re exposed to.
  • Facebook announced in November 2021 that it would end the use of its facial recognition software, a process that should be completed by December.

Although these steps will make your Facebook profile a bit more locked down, the only way to truly protect your privacy from social media giants is to get rid of your accounts altogether. If that’s something you want to do, you can check out our guides on how to delete Facebook and how to delete Instagram.

  • 11/03/2021 Facts checked

    Updated guide to reflect changes in the Facebook privacy settings, added information about Facebook removing facial recognition software, and replaced the images.

  • There are a lot of different privacy settings you can change on your Facebook account. It’ll never be completely private, but if you follow this guide you’ll lock down your profile as much as you possibly can.

  • Although it’s possible to change some privacy settings on the Facebook mobile app, we recommend using the browser, as you won’t have access to the full range of privacy options otherwise.

  • That depends on your level of comfort with online privacy violations and social media in general. If you want to keep your Facebook account but also limit how much data about you is out there, we recommend following all the steps in this guide and changing all the settings to “only me.”

Basic Facebook Privacy Settings

Before we dive into the advanced privacy settings that Facebook lets you adjust, let’s first do a quick security roundup to make sure that your account is safe from any unauthorized access. 

We’ll be using a web browser for these instructions, as it’s the easiest way to adjust all of your settings, but you can also use the Facebook app for some of them.

How to Make a Strong Password

The first step to keeping any account secure is to make sure you have a strong password. You can do this in a couple of different ways, either by using a password manager, or by simply following some basic password best practices such as using numbers, symbols and both uppercase and lowercase letters. A long password is also preferable to a short one.

If you’re not sure whether your password is strong, you can check its strength or generate a highly secure password using our password generator. Once you have a secure password ready, here’s how you can change your existing Facebook password.

  1. Log in to Your Account

    Go to facebook.com and log in to your account using your credentials.

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Security Settings

    Once you’re logged in, click on the arrow in the top-right corner of the screen, select “settings & privacy,” then “settings.”

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Change Your Password

    Click on “security and login” in the menu on the left side of the screen. Scroll down to the entry called “change password” in the “login” section. Click on it, then enter your current password as well as your new (hopefully stronger) password.

    change password

How to Add Two-Factor Authentication

Sometimes not even a strong password is enough to keep your account safe. No matter how strong it is, if someone else gets a hold of your password, there’s nothing stopping them from logging into your account. The solution to this is two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security. Here’s how you enable 2FA for Facebook.

  1. Log in to Your Facebook Account

    Navigate to facebook.com in the web browser of your choice and log in using your email and password.

    login location facebook
  2. Go to the Security Settings

    Click the arrow in the top-right corner of the screen, then select “settings & privacy” followed by “settings.”

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Enter the Two-Factor Authentication Menu

    Once in the settings, navigate to “security and login” and find the entry for two-factor authentication. Click the “edit” button and you’ll be shown an overview of the various 2FA options you can enable.

    enter 2fa menu
  4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

    You can now choose between receiving an SMS whenever you try to log in or using a third-party 2FA app or device to authenticate yourself. Click the option you’d like and follow the setup instructions.

    enable 2fa

How to Run a Security Checkup

If you’re not quite sure what measures you need to take to improve your account’s security, Facebook provides a security checkup feature that checks it all and lets you know if there are any improvements to be made. Here’s how you access it.

  1. Log in to Your Facebook Account

    As usual, the first step is to go to facebook.com and log in using your account credentials.

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Security Settings

    Click on the arrow in the top-right corner and select “settings & privacy” and then “settings.”

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Enter the Security Check

    Select “security and login” in the menu on the left side of the screen. Click on the button at the top of the page that says “check your important security settings.”

    security check location facebook
  4. Review Suggested Actions and Follow Instructions

    Once in the security check, the first thing you’ll see is an overview of your security settings, as well as recommendations for improving them. You can now click “continue” and follow the instructions to make any of the recommended changes.

    personal data security check

Adjusting the Privacy Settings on Facebook

Now that we’ve covered the security side of things, let’s dive into how you can maximize the privacy of your Facebook account.

How to Change Who Can See Your Future Facebook Posts

The first thing you should do to make your Facebook information more private is to change who can see your future posts.

  1. Log in to Facebook

    Navigate to facebook.com and enter your Facebook login details.

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Privacy Settings

    Click on the arrow in the top right of Facebook, select “settings & privacy” and then “settings.”

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Limit the Visibility of Future Posts

    Once in the settings, select “privacy” in the menu and look for the section called “who can see your future posts?” under the section labeled “your activity.” Here you can choose who can see your posts: just your friends, a specific subset of your friends or only you.

    activity log news feed

How to Limit Past Posts’ Visibility Manually

Once you’ve made your future posts more private, it’s time to undo any privacy mistakes of the past and hide posts you’ve already made as well. There are two ways to do this: in bulk or manually for each individual post. First we’ll cover how to do it for individual posts.

  1. Log in to Your Facebook Account

    Use a web browser to open facebook.com and enter your Facebook login information.

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Privacy Settings

    Click the arrow in the top right of the Facebook window, select “settings & privacy,” followed by “settings” and then “privacy” in the menu you’re redirected to.

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Navigate to the Post Overview

    Under the “your activity” section you’ll see a menu entry called “review all your posts and things you’re tagged in.” Click that and you’ll be redirected to a new page.

    timeline and tagging
  4. Review Posts One by One

    By default, you’ll end up at an overview of everything you’re tagged in. Since you’re looking for your own posts, select “your posts” in the menu on the left, which will bring you to a full list of all your posts. From here, you can click on the three dots next to each post and choose to hide them.

    individual post settings

How to Limit All Your Past Posts’ Visibility

If you’d rather just limit the audience for all your past posts and photos all at once, you can do that too.

  1. Log in to Facebook

    Start by going to facebook.com in your web browser and enter your credentials to access your account.

    login location facebook
  2. Limit Your Previous Posts

    Find the section labeled “your activity” and the entry inside called “limit the audience for old posts on your timeline.” Click on this and then the button that says “limit past posts.” This will bring up a confirmation window warning you that this can’t be undone in bulk. If you’re sure, click on “limit past posts” again.

    limit where post appears

How to Make Your Facebook Profile Private

Making your Facebook profile as private as possible is a somewhat cumbersome process, as you’ll need to individually specify who can see all the different types of information tied to your profile page.

  1. Log in to Facebook

    Visit facebook.com using a web browser and enter your email address and password to log in.

    login location facebook
  2. Go to Your Facebook Profile’s “About” Page

    Once logged in, click on your profile picture and first name near the top-right side of the browser window. This will take you to your profile page. From here, click on the “about” section that sits in between “posts” and “friends.”

    turn off facebook activity visibility
  3. Select Who Can See Various Information

    From here you need to go through each different category, such as employment information, education, places you’ve lived and so on and click the little icon that either looks like a globe or a group of people on each entry. There you can pick whether the selected information is visible to everyone, only friends, a specific list of people or only you.

    personal details want to share

How to Turn off Facial Recognition

Few things are as blatantly harmful to online privacy as facial recognition. Facebook uses this to automatically identify you in pictures, including those that others post.

However, on Nov. 2, 2021, Facebook announced it would end the use of facial recognition, with that change being complete by December. Until then, you can turn off facial recognition with the following steps.

  1. Log in to Your Facebook Account

    Open your web browser and navigate to facebook.com where you can enter your login credentials.

    login location facebook
  2. Turn off Face Recognition

    Here, simply click on the “edit” button and select “no” from the dropdown menu that appears.

    posting photos tagging friends faceid

How to Make Check-Ins Private on Facebook

You can’t really make check-ins completely private. This is because check-ins post to the page of the location or business you’re checking in to, as well as your own profile page. What you can do is hide the section on your profile that shows your past check-ins — here’s how.

  1. Log in to Facebook

    Open up the web browser of your choice and go to facebook.com where you can log in to your account.

    login location facebook
  2. Hide Your Check-Ins

    Scroll down to the section called “check-ins” and click the button with three dots. This will give you the option to hide the check-in section on your profile.

    location services checkin section

How To Make Yourself Unsearchable on Facebook

Unfortunately, it’s no longer possible to make yourself completely unsearchable on Facebook — not even if you change all the settings to “only me.” If someone uses your name to find you, you’ll always appear somewhere in the search results. What you can do is decide whether or not people can find you using your email address or phone number, and here’s how you do that.

  1. Go to the Facebook Login Page and Enter Your Credentials

    Use a web browser to open facebook.com and enter your email address and password to log in.

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Privacy Settings

    Click on the arrow in the top right, select “settings & privacy,” followed by “settings” and then finally “privacy” in the menu that appears on the left side of the screen.

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Disable Lookup via Email Address

    Scroll down to the section labeled “how people find and contact you” and look for the entry that says “who can look you up using the email address you provided?” Click that and you’ll see a dropdown menu where you can choose between everyone, friends, friends of friends or only you.

    facebook settings disable friend requests email
  4. Disable Lookup via Phone Number

    In the same section as the previous step, find the entry called “who can look you up using the phone number you provided?” Click that and you’ll get an identical dropdown menu where you can restrict this setting to everyone, your Facebook friends, friends of friends or just you.

    personal information disable phone lookup

Change Who Can See Your Friends List

Another part of your online life that you might want to keep private is who your Facebook friends are. To do this you’ll need to limit who can see the friends list on your profile page.

  1. Log in to Your Facebook Account

    Go to facebook.com and log in using your email address and password.

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Facebook Privacy Settings

    Click the arrow in the top-right corner, select “settings & privacy,” then “settings” and finally “privacy” once you’ve been redirected to the “settings” menu.

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Limit the Visibility of Your Friends List

    Scroll down to the section called “how people find and contact you” and find “who can see your friends list?” Click it and select the option you want in the dropdown menu.

    only me friends list

Stop Other Search Engines From Displaying Your Facebook Account

If you’ve ever googled your name, you might have noticed that one of the first results that pop up is your Facebook profile. Depending on how common your name is, this can make your online presence very easy to find for just about anyone. Luckily you can disable this in just a few steps.

Limit Who Can See What You Follow

Another thing you can stop people from seeing on your Facebook profile are the pages, people and groups that you follow.

  1. Use a Web Browser to Access Your Account

    Go to facebook.com and enter your credentials to log in.

    login location facebook
  2. Limit Who Can See What You Follow

    Scroll down to the section called “your activity” and click on “who can see the people, pages and lists you follow?” This will bring up a dropdown menu where you can choose between everyone, your Facebook friends, a subset of your friends or just you.

    hide follower facebook posts

Limit Who Can Send You Friend Requests

It’s not uncommon to get flooded with random friend requests — usually from bots — if you don’t limit who can send you requests. Here’s how you make sure not just anyone can ask to be your friend on Facebook.

  1. Log in to Your Facebook Account

    Go to facebook.com and enter your login credentials to access your account

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Privacy Settings

    Click the arrow in the top-right corner, select “settings & privacy,” then “settings” and finally “privacy” in the new menu that opens on the left.

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Disable Friend Requests

    Scroll down to the section called “how people find and contact you” and look for the entry labeled “who can send you friend requests?” Select the option you want from the dropdown menu, whether that’s everyone or just friends of friends.

    disable friend requests

Revoke Permissions From Apps and Websites

Apps and websites that you use Facebook to sign in to will keep collecting your data long after you stop using the service in question. Therefore, it’s a good idea to routinely revoke app and website permissions.

  1. Log in to Facebook

    Use a web browser to visit facebook.com and log in using your details.

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Settings Menu

    Click on the arrow in the top right. In the small menu that opens, click on “settings & privacy,” followed by “settings.”

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Review and Revoke Your App Permissions

    Once in the settings menu, select “apps and websites” in the menu on the left side. This will bring up a list of all your app permissions, as well as a button next to each one to remove them.

    third party apps disable

Change Your Ad Settings

Ads are the primary reason Facebook wants your personal information to begin with. For that reason, it makes sense to restrict your ad settings as much as you possibly can.

  1. Log in to Facebook in a Web Browser

    Navigate to facebook.com using any web browser and enter your credentials to log in.

    login location facebook
  2. Enter the Settings Menu

    Click the arrow in the top-right corner of the browser window, select “settings & privacy” and then “settings.”

    general account settings facebook pages
  3. Enter the Ad Settings

    Scroll through the menu that appears on the left side of the screen until you see the entry called “ads.” Click on it and you’ll be redirected to a new page.

    enter ads menu
  4. Hide Specific Ads

    The first ads page you’ll see is a list of ads you’ve been shown recently. You can go through these and hide specific advertisers if you’d like, or keep going to the next step to change your ad settings.

    hide targeted ads
  5. Adjust Your Ad Preferences

    Click on “ad settings” in the menu on the left side of the screen, which will bring up a new panel. Here, you can stop Facebook from using data from partners to show ads. You can hide specific information from advertisers like your “about” page, interests and categories, and stop advertisers from showing you ads outside of Facebook.

    other websites ads

Final Thoughts

With that we’ve reached the end of our Facebook privacy guide. As we’ve mentioned already, those actually concerned with their online privacy should stay as far away from Facebook as possible. However, for many the service has become a necessary utility and if that’s the case for you, you should at least do everything you can to make your account as private as it can be.

Be sure to check out our piece on Facebook’s rebrand to Meta, too.

What did you think of our instructions for how to make your Facebook private? Were they clear and easy to follow? Do you think we missed some crucial privacy settings? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.