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How to stay private on Facebook

Henry Cooke (via SMH) | July 30, 2013
Sorting out what everyone can and can't see on your Facebook has always been way too complicated, but it's starting to get easier.

Privacy: Sorting out what everyone can and can't see on your Facebook has always been way too complicated, but it's starting to get easier.
Privacy: Sorting out what everyone can and can't see on your Facebook has always been way too complicated, but it's starting to get easier. Photo: MCT

By the time you read this, your Facebook search has probably changed, dramatically. Replacing the simple "search for a person or a page" search that Facebook has run for years, Graph Search lets you delve into the depths of Facebook with a huge degree of control.

With Graph Search, you can easily retrieve "photos of me from 2009" or "friends who like Game of Thrones and live in Auckland". The problem is, so can everyone else.

Graph Search doesn't make any of your Facebook content —your photos, statuses, etc —any more public than it already is, but does make it way easier to find.

This could be an issue for those of us who have been using Facebook since high school. Luckily, untagging yourself from photos and making your older stuff private, while still a bit complex, is much less work than it used to be.

Friends only
If you've never played with your Facebook privacy settings, the first thing you'll want to do is safeguard your future. On Facebook.com, click the little padlock on the top right, then under "Who can see my stuff" make sure "Friends" is selected —unless you want all your content to be public by default. As a further precaution, if you have a particular Facebook friend who you want to hide stuff from —a relative or a boss perhaps—add them to a "restricted list". This will keep them as a friend but hide anything not set to "Public" from them, without their knowledge. To restrict a friend, go to their profile, hover your mouse over the "Friends" box, select "Add to another list" and then select "Restricted".

Unwanted photos
Some photos seemed fine in 2009 but feel a little bit embarrassing now. We were all young once, right? Untagging yourself from older photos used to be very slow, but with Facebook's new Activity Log it's a breeze. Go to your profile, click "Activity Log", then "Photos", then "Photos of me". Near the top of the page "On Timeline" lets you toggle which photos to review. Select "Visible" so you see what your friends can see. Now, start ticking! Activity log lets you tick up to ten photos at a time and then bulk-untag them, decoupling them from any link to you or your profile. Just click the big "Report/Untag" button when you've got a bunch. You can jump back to the more embarrassing times of your life using the controls on the right of the screen —scrub those uni years clean!

 

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