More Tech Wellness Topics

Articles Expertise

How To Make Your Facebook Private: Killer Guide to Privacy Settings


We get many questions about Facebook, typically questions that ultimately lead to Facebook privacy. How come this guy posts stuff and it's on MY home page?  Why am I getting sponsored posts?  Does Facebook have to show those advertisements?  When I google my name, my Facebook shows up--can I stop that? How come every site I visit is now asking me to log in with Facebook?

Facebook is Free To Use. But Using Facebook Comes at A Price.

Facebook Makes Money Using Information You Give Them. Facebook tracks it, compiles and sells it or allows certain companies access to it or you. You have some control over what they release and we'll show you how to get it.  It's kind of ironic that one thing you do have the power to  control is what your friends and strangers know about your Facebook account. So it can be more or less private.  Facebook actually does give users some of the "Keys to the Kingdom" and those "Keys" are in Settings.

Below we break down Facebook Settings explaining what each setting controls.  And we guide you to the most private settings.

UPDATE: Facebook deleted this nasty setting on April 29, 2018:

What WAS Apps Others Use?

Here's What This Setting Allowed: Potentially EVERYTHING YOU DID and ALL PROFILE INFORMATION TO BE SHARED WITH OUTSIDE APPS--specifically they could be -games, quizes, ANY App from the App store etc--that a FRIEND-not you, may use.  Learn More HERE

facebook privacy settings

Log On With, Sign-Up With or Connect Through Facebook is a Privacy Don't

Most important. RESIST THE URGE TO SIGN-IN TO Apps or websites via Facebook.  It's So Tempting, but know that every time you log in via Facebook  you've given permission for that App to get your information and Facebook Activity.  I have the entire App platform turned off in my settings.

When you do log-in via Facebook you have allowed Facebook knowledge of your activity on the App or Site. You're also allowing FB to glean and share pieces of your identity from your Profile as well as your FB activity and share it with the Apps-

facebook privacy logging to other websites

If you're concerned about privacy, please also look into covering your webcam. Camera spying is a very real privacy hack.Webcam Cover

Controlling What Facebook Knows About You.

Controlling What You Share With Friends, Friends Of Friends and Strangers


It's Free Because . . . You are the Product

Your identity, your activity, your interests and ultimately your purchasing power- IS the commodity.  Facebook monitors your posts, your chats and may even access your microphone to gather information in order to provide its partners and advertisers information about you.  Now, you may not think you're all that interesting or that you don't have that much to be private about, but the main reason all this intel about you is important is because ultimately, you buy stuff. 

And the information is used to find out what you're all about to best target you with what you need or want. Now, you can't prevent the ads on Facebook and you can't prevent them from sharing some of your information. 

The settings and what they allow create Vast amounts of information about you and if you've never looked before, here's a warning, you may be a little a freaked out.


If You want to See What Facebook Knows About YOU  Prepare to be Amazed at How Much and What


  1. Click on the small down arrow in the top right corner of your Facebook page and select Settings from the drop-down menu.
  2. From the left panel, click on YOUR FACEBOOK INFORMATION



It's all there- everything you say, where you go, what you like.  Here's a sample.

1. Pages Your Friends Like – A friend likes a Whale Watching page

2. Information from Your Instagram or Facebook profile – Your hometown / Your Job

3. Places You check-in using Facebook - Gina's Famous Pizza, concerts, political rallys, sporting events.

4. Customer Lists from OTHER companies you have visited that do business with Facebook. If you gave them your Name, email, phone number and they match that to your profile, Facebook ascertains you have certain interests.

Example:  You join Sam's shoes loyalty list using your name/email. You buy white running shoes and Sam's Shoes shares the information with Facebook, so Facebook lists running as one of your interests and white as one of the colors you like.

5. Information From OTHER Company's who use Facebook Technologies

Example:  You simply view any website: a shopping site, a non-profit, any site or App that has placed a Facebook Pixel on their site and if you've enabled cookies or allowed a tracker, and all your browsing, all the pages you looked at and what you did. All that information can be connected back to your profile and used to determine "Your Interests".

6. Your location via where you login (IP address) Location via Your Phone and Your Instagram and FB profiles

These six items are what guide that large list of "interests"

Here's how it works:

In addition to Facebook apps and services like Instagram, you could see ads served by Facebook on other websites, apps, and connected TVs if they use our advertising products. The Facebook Audience Network utilizes pixels and cookies to create this tracking system.


If You don't want Facebook to follow you in and track you all over the internet in all the ways it does in order to determine your interests.

1. For complete browsing privacy, set your Web browser not to accept cookies This isn't a Facebook setting, but a Browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari) setting. However, this means you will have trouble logging into websites where you have an account. Some shopping sites may not even allow you to browse. You can block cookies and turn them on when you need them. A less drastic alternative is to simply reset your cookies every few days — just go to your browser settings and clear your cache.

2. Turn off Location Settings on Your Computer and Phone

3. Do not use FB's Check-In option


If You want to see what company's have some or all of your Facebook information.

Within the same Settings Panel click Advertisers you've interacted with - Check this out!  You'll see the apps you've clicked on or perhaps even (shocking) a hotel group you gave your email to--and then they connected that email to your FB account! 

Privacy See what Facebook knows about you



How does Facebook know I just stayed at that hotel?

Facebook is very clear that it is sharing and using information from and with any app or any site that uses Facebook Technologies (that's any company that advertises on Facebook or Allows a Facebook Pixel on their site or may have another business relationship with FB) and any of the Facebook-owned companies. (What's App, Oculus, Onavo, Instagram, Moves, Atlas Masquerade and Facebook Payments Company). So that's how they could know where you stayed.  That hotel could have shared your name or email address and Facebook could have matched that to your profile.


What facebook knows about what i do

If You want to prevent non-Facebook Companies from knowing your identity and Facebook activity and from sharing information about you on Facebook.

Unfortunately, there's no setting for this. Some people actually don't reveal full names on Facebook, using a middle name a created name for their account.  Another privacy idea is to use separate emails. One exclusively for FB so it can't be matched to that email's use elsewhere.


Do You Want to Limit Other Apps from Sharing Your Activity and Limit Facebook From Sharing With Those Apps?

Most important. Do not sign into Apps or websites via Facebook.  It's So Tempting, but realize that every time you log in via Facebook to check-out or just visit, you've given permission for that App to share your information and activity on Facebook.

When you do log-in via Facebook you have allowed Facebook knowledge of your activity on the App or Site. You're also allowing FB to glean and share pieces of your identity from your Profile as well as your FB activity and share it with the Apps-

facebook privacy logging to other websites

To View and Revise or Delete The Apps that are Interacting on Your Account

  1. Click on the small down arrow in the top right corner of your Facebook page and select Settings from the drop-down menu.
  2. From the left panel, click on Apps
  3. Delete all Apps that you do not want to interact with Facebook and your activity.

You may not have been aware that you associated an App with your account- This can happen via all of the silly apps and quizzes you've logged into Facebook with - i.e. the one you used the Target Cartwheel app or the time you took the "What Disney Princess Are You?" quiz.

If you have allowed Apps and want to, this is where you can delete the App or at the very least limit what you're allowing the App.  Can it post for you? Use your Microphone? Access Your photos?  Change the settings here: 

You can also edit your Apps from App Settings, too.



Basically, if you interact with others through playing games and taking quizzes, the other Facebook also accesses that information can interact with can take your information with them and it ends up in advertisers' hands.


If you want to keep Facebook from receiving information about your activity on other apps.

One way is to turn the Platform OFF. The Platform allows seamless interaction between an App and Facebook-think easily posting your photos from Instagram onto Facebook.  This is separate from blocking or deleting cookies when you visit other sites. If the Platform is On you are allowing Facebook to get the information and the App to provide information to Facebook. 


Privacy Facebook how you are tracked online





You don't want to be searched by your phone number

FB offers many ways to secure your account with options under "Security." Meanwhile, one of the most prescient things you can do is NEVER GIVE FACEBOOK YOUR PHONE NUMBER!! It will keep asking, but be persistent. This is so important. Once Facebook has your phone number, people are able to reverse-search you by entering your 10 digits in the search bar!  Our advice is to ignore it.  If you've already given FB your phone number, go on there and remove it.

dont give facebook phone number privacy  

You want to Choose Who See's Your Profile, Phone, Email:

You can choose if the fact you have a Facebook account is public on search engines,

1. Click on the small down arrow in the top right corner of your Facebook page and select Settings from the drop-down menu.

2. From the left panel, click on Privacy


If You don't want strangers seeing your Facebook Page or Feed:

Who Can See Future Posts?  Friends  Limiting to your direct Friends prevents strangers from seeing via the Friend of Friends option.

If You want to keep the names of your Friends private:

Friends List? Only Me That way, no one can go to your public profile and see your list of Friends. It also means your own friends don't see who your other friends are-stealth

If you want to allow everyone to ask if they can be your friend:

Who can Send You Friend Requests?  Everyone means anyone on FB Friends of Friends means only people who know someone you know.

If you don't want to be looked up by your email address:

Who can find me by looking up my email address?

Who can look you up using your email? Choose Only Me for Privacy, Friends or Public

Who can look you up using your phone number?  Don't input your phone. It's not required


If you want to make sure your profile doesn't show up on Google or other Search

Do you want Search Engines Outside of FB to include Your Profile? No.

Here's how theses Privacy Settings look on Mobile:

1. From the Pull Down Menu:  Account Settings

2. Click How You Connect

facebook settings

If You Want To Manage What People Say and See About You

1. Click on the small down arrow in the top right corner of your Facebook page and select Settings from the drop-down menu.

2. From the left panel, click on Timeline and Tagging  

If You want to stop people from writing on your page or posts:

Who Can Post On Your Timeline? Choices: Only Me and Friends.  If you really want to limit interaction and only want to have a one-way FB experience-then Only Me

Who can see what others post on your Timeline? Ultimate privacy setting Only Me, but then FB is not a very interactive experience, most choose Friends


If you want to stop someone from posting a picture on their site but tagging and identifying you:

Control tagging privacy here in Timeline and Tagging

Review posts you're tagged in before the tag appears on Facebook? Yes So, someone wants to write a post and highlight your name and profile--it could be a photo of you or your name used in a story or just a statement they think your name should be associated with.

Review tags people add to your posts before they appear on Facebook? Yes. This allows you to approve when someone tags one of your post or photo with their name and profile link-or someone else.

Most Privacy Lovers want to approve this identification before it's on Facebook. What will happen is you will see a Notification for Timeline Review.  You will have the option post by post whether or not to allow your association with a post or photo.

Also in this section, you can decide Who Sees When You're Tagged in a post or photo once you allow or approve it.  The most private options are Friends or Only Me


facebook how to stop people from tagging you



If You Don't Want Friends Seeing If You are Online:

There's the bar on the side called the Chat Bar.  It shows you the friends that are online and shows them that you're online.

To prevent this:  Got to the Gear Shift at The Bottom of The Page and Turn Chat OFF. When you select, you'll see options for turning off all Contacts or still allowing Chat with Some.

 Please let us know your thoughts on Facebook and Privacy. Once you implement some or all of these privacy tweaks, you will start to notice, at least, that your FB ads are less targeted to you.


Microphone and Facebook Privacy

I hear it all the time.  More and more people are telling me that something they simply talked about or watched on TV, weirdly showed up in an ad on Facebook. Well,  it could be the microphone access on the FB Messenger app on your phone. Just like Shazam,  these apps could be randomly or continually pulling audio from the internal mic. In other words...always listening. Facebook says they're not spying on you and do not have this capability...but then again, the NSA also denied this before Edward Snowden made his revelations public. Just so you know, head over to your iPhone Privacy (the hand icon) right now, and check to see what the microphone is listening to.  Here's what you'll see:

privacy settings

Click "Microphone" and the apps that have requested "mic" access will appear like this:

instagram settings iPhone

There's a couple of options if you're concerned:

  1. You can remove these apps
  2. You can cover your webcam and microphones with CreepBlockers. When it comes to your computer, Creep Blockers offer the ONLY laptop, tablet, and desktop mic mufflers.
  3. On your computer, you can manually control the microphone input so apps that may have access can't hear. 

For safekeeping, you should always have your cam covered on your laptop and phone unless you are taking a picture or video. Don't forget to CreepBlock those computer speakers, too! Also, for digital detox reasons, turn off as many notifications as humanly possible. Remember, the more you use Facebook, the more they know about you (!)  Plus, isn't this true:  Real Life Over Likes.  Here's to using social media in a balanced way and being tech-mindful.

Be Well!


More Tech Wellness Topics


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published