Facebook’s new Timeline has caused much debate. While some users have willingly embraced the new layout, others have protested that the compulsory shift is an invasion of personal privacy. This is mainly due to the fact that older posts previously buried safely within the abyss of Facebook could now be available for anyone to easily view due to a new feature allowing them to click on a chosen year, listed on the right hand side of peoples profile pages as history navigation. A click would then bring up the persons entire activity for that year.
Facebook issued a statement saying that users had more freedom through the new layout to control who sees what, although users argued that this was both time-consuming and confusing. However, the new layout is here to stay.
Remove Content You don’t want Others to see on your Facebook Timeline
If you dont want everyone to see your every action from 2007 such as what you had for dinner, what you thought, liked and shared heres a step-by-step guide to manage privacy settings for your facebook Timeline.
Hiding Timeline Elements like Friends, Map, Friending Activity, Likes, Social Reader etc
Friends : Click the Friends link on your timeline and it will take you to your friend-list page. Click on the ‘Edit‘ button on the top-right and select the appropriate option from the drop down.
While it is a good idea to keep your friend-list visible to only ‘Friends without Acquaintances‘ but I would recomend to select ‘Custom‘ and show it to a limited number of people who you might have organised into a custom Facebook List.
Map : If you don’t want people to see the history of all the places that you’ve stayed and checked-in on a map, then you can hide map on your Facebook timeline. Click on the down arrow icon at the end of your Timeline favorites. (see pic. below)
Once you click it hover your mouse pointer on the Map tile and you should see an edit icon (pencil) at the corner. Click it and select ‘Remove from Favorites‘ to hide map from your facebook timeline.
Friending Activity : Sometimes you may want to keep the knowledge of whom you add as friends personal. To hide friending activity from your timeline wall, browse down to the widget that shows your recent friend additions.
Hover your mouse on the top-right corner and click on the edit icon (pencil) and select ‘Hide from Timeline‘ to hide the friends widget or ‘All Friends Added…‘ to hide whom you’ve recently add as friends on facebook.
Likes and Other Activity Widgets : By default your Facebook timeline will show almost all the activity that you do on facebook like reading news though a social reader app or commenting and liking stuff, joining groups and events, posts made by apps you have installed.
You can hide them if you want by click the same edit (pencil) icon on the top right that appears when you take your mouse close to the top-right corner of the social widget on your timeline and choose ‘Hide from Timeline‘.
Hide Old Posts, Keep them Visible to Friends Only
Go to your profile page and click the drop down arrow to the right of the Home tab in the top right hand corner of the screen. Select Privacy Settings. The first thing you should do is limit the visibility of your old posts. On the list of options, select Manage Past Post Visibility as per the following screen shot.
A warning sign will pop up, as illustrated in the next screen shot. Clicking Limit Old Posts is an action that cannot be undone, so to the left of that there is an option Learn about changing old posts (see the second screen shot). When you click Limit Old Posts, anyone not on your friend list will not be able to view posts on your Timeline.
Managing Default Privacy while Posting Status Updates / Images From Mobile Device
To ensure that content you post from a mobile device or app stays private, there is also a setting to control this. On the main privacy settings menu, and look for Control Your Default Privacy and select Friends or select the option that suits you.
But you can also control who you allow and who you do not allow to view information posted from your mobile or applications other than Facebook by customizing the post visibility settings to your preferences by clicking Custom. Type in friends names or the custom lists you’ve created into the Make this visible to or Hide this from option boxes, as illustrated.
Manage Who can Post on Your Timeline Wall
Next go back to the main Privacy Settings menu and select Timeline and Tagging. This option will control who is able to post what content on your Timeline. You can control posts, tagging in photos, and can choose to review content before it is posted. Take a look at the below screen shot to help you.
Manage Who can Connect with You on Facebook
Next, you should think about what information you wish to be available to people who search for you that are not on your friend list. On the main Privacy Settings menu, selected How you connect. The screen shot below shows the options that are available for restriction, including your contact details, messaging, and friend request options.
Protect Your Personal Information from Facebook Apps
Did you know that your personal information is also available to view through the apps you have downloaded to Facebook? Privacy controls on these apps are controlled separately to those on your main Facebook page.
To limit them, select Apps and Websites from the main privacy settings menu. The following screen shot appears. Here you can see all the apps you have subscribed to, and can adjust privacy for each one.
Guest Post by Sarah Flanders, who is a freelance writer from England who specialises in finance and technology articles for various journals ..