cover image of security cameras with caption "How to Update Facebook Privacy Settings"

Those quizzes you played over the holidays aren’t just there for giggles.

‘Tis the end of a decade and what a journey it’s been, right? Ten years and so many things have changed: Internet Explorer isn’t the top browser, free wifi is just about everywhere (not just at Starbucks), and Mark Zuckerberg is known more for his congressional hearings than for being TIME’s Person of the Year.

Other things change, too, and they matter – especially today, when we all value our data and private information just about as much as our valuables and family members. Guess what? The social apps we all use on the daily value our data even more than we do, and they’re always waiting with open arms to catch you (and your information) unawares.

So, as we get rolling into a brand new year and a new decade, let’s check your private parts, shall we? (Private parts of your social media apps, that is.)

Facebook Privacy Settings

Fortunately it’s fairly easy to make crucial review and updates to your settings in Facebook. For a quick video walkthrough, watch our YouTube video below… otherwise you can follow the screenshots through this article.

  • Go to Facebook.com and click on the question mark at the top right. This should reveal a slew of options: click on Privacy Checkup.
Screenshot of the privacy settings menu from Facebook's top nav bar.
Hidden within the question mark are some important features that relate to how safe you are online and on Facebook.
  • Work your way through the four (4) modules to thoroughly update your settings. You may be surprised at what you find (I was!), so it’s important to take the five minutes necessary to clean things up.
Screenshot of the four privacy setting modules in Facebook
Facebook will guide you through short reviews of visibility, security, searchability, and data sharing.
  • Once you’ve worked through all four modules, you aren’t done! Click on the Settings link at the bottom of the dialog box to get into more crucial options. Start with the Privacy tab in Facebook Settings (see below).
Screenshot of Privacy Settings within the Facebook website.
Under the Facebook hood are even more settings that you’ll want to review and update. They relate to Stories, tagging, and even face recognition!

It’ll only take you a few minutes to glance at each setting, from Privacy all the way through Face Recognition (gasp – what?), but it’s truly worth your time. Better to be rigorous for less than 10 minutes than to spend months fixing the loss of your private data!

Have a quarter.

We recommend that you check these settings about once every quarter (three months). Why? Because Facebook will change settings for you and/or you may accept changes that you forget about.

For instance, every time you change the visibility setting on your Facebook posts, that settings stays that way for the next post unless you change it back. By setting one post to Public, every post after that could be Public also… unless you change it back to Friends or something else.

Also, consider this: every so often Facebook will automatically update your feed settings so that any video you pause on will automatically play sound. (Annoying, right? Also embarrassing if you happen to be in a quiet environment.) If it makes changes for you on the feed, you can safely assume it could make changes to your settings without you realizing it.

Better to be safe than waaaaaay sorry.

What are your tips and tricks for protecting your Facebook privacy and data?


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