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Master Facebook’s privacy settings

Lock down your social media account with a few simple settings tweaks

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Facebook is great for keeping in touch with friends but if there’s one concern associated with the social network, it’s privacy.

Contrary to popular opinion, not everything you do has to be shared publicly. In fact, if you spend enough time digging around its settings, you’ll find a range of privacy preferences that do everything from limiting the audience of your posts to hiding your profile from search engines.

We’ll guide you through some of the most relevant privacy settings on Facebook here. We haven’t covered everything, but picked most of the essentials. It’s definitely worth having a search around Facebook’s settings and experimenting with options. For now, though, let’s get started.

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1 Check you out
To get started, take a look at what your profile looks like to the public. Click on the padlock icon in the top-right and then click View As under ‘Who can see my stuff?’.

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2 Make a note
In the View As mode, you can view your profile as a member of the public (who you’re not friends with) or a specific friend. Make a note of anything you’d want to hide.

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3 See more settings
Under the Padlock icon menu, click See More Settings to bring up your privacy settings. They’re split into controls for the privacy of your posts, your profile and who can add you.

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4 Private future posts
There’s a privacy option in the bottom corner of every place to post content on Facebook but you can set a default setting here. Click Edit next to ‘Who can see my stuff?’

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5 Select your audience
The audience selector appears all over Facebook, particularly in its privacy settings. Here you can choose which groups of people can or can’t see posts or interact with you.

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6 Limiting past posts
Instead of trawling through your old posts individually and manually changing the audience, you can limit any posts from the past to only be viewed by your friends here.

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7 Lock down friend requests
Perhaps the most unusual privacy setting is the ability to only allow friends of friends to add you. Unless you have a good reason to change this, it’s best set to everyone.

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8 Stop the search engines
Typing your name into Google (or any other search engine) may well see your Facebook profile as a top result. Unchecking this setting will stop this from happening.

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9 Block ‘em out
It might not technically be a privacy setting, but clicking the Blocking tab on the left in the Settings menu will bring up a range of options for blocking users, apps and pages.

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