11 Facebook Updates to Privacy and Timeline You Should Know

Posted on January 22nd 2013

11 Facebook Updates to Privacy and Timeline You Should Know

More changes in 2013?

It’s common for Facebook to undergo drastic (or silent) changes whether the users like it or not. The real question is, how ready are you when Facebook is determined to ‘make the world more open and connected’? Have you made full use of the privacy and account settings to your advantage?

Also, if you’ve been observant enough you should’ve discovered several improvements on the existing features to make them more visible and user friendly. Why not give this list a run-through and see if you missed any.

latest facebook privacy and timeline changes

Privacy Settings:

#1  To Pre-set Your Future Posts

You can predetermine the audience selector for your next status update besides doing it right below your status box before publishing. Otherwise, this setting is fixed upon your last status update.

To Get There: Go to your Privacy Settings –> Privacy –>Who can see my stuff?

audience selector for future posts

#2  To Review Tagged Posts and Photos

Your Activity Log had gone through a complete makeover. It’s now easier to scan through your tagged posts or photos and you can set so to be notified when tagged by friends, anyone or friends of friends.

To Get There: Go to your Activity Log –> Posts You’re Tagged In

Facebook updates

Note that when you tagged someone in a post, the audience selector will immediately indicate who else is seeing it besides your audience.

Facebook updates

#3  To Control Who Can Look You Up

It’s almost impossible to hide on Facebook. However, you can control who can look you up based on the email address or phone number you provided on Facebook.

To Get There: Go to your Privacy Settings–> Privacy –> Who Can Look Me Up?

allow search engine link to your timeline

Your timeline can be opted-out of search engine results. To do this, simply untick the checkbox. Of course, Facebook will persuade you to reconsider but the decision is yours.

Facebook updates

If you prefer to gain followers (formerly known as ‘Subscribers’) for your personal Timeline, then I’d recommend you to keep the box ticked for extra visibility.

Mobile Settings:

#4  To Log Out from Your Missing Phone

When you lose your phone, two critical things you must do to immediately: remove your phone number from your Facebook account and click the ‘Lose your phone’ link to log out from your Facebook mobile app completely.

To Get There: Go to your Privacy Settings –> Mobile –> Lose Your Phone?

Facebook updates

Managing Notifications:

#5  To Set Notifications for All Your Groups

You can now easily set how you’d like to receive notifications for ALL your groups – including those you’ve joined: to allow all posts, friends’ posts or turn them off completely. How convenient!

To Get There: Go to your Privacy Settings –> Notifications –> What You Get Notified About –> Group activity

facebook group notifications

There are a few other types of notifications worth exploring, especially if you wish to reduce the noise sent to your emails etc:

  • Facebook notifications– you can choose to turn off follow-up alerts by clicking ‘unfollow’ in the notification bar.
    turn off facebook notification
  • Email notifications- to set so all or only certain notifications reach you via email.
    facebook email notification settings
  • Mobile notifications– You can choose to receive notifications when someone commented, sent you a request or even from selected friends only. Also, you can set to receive notifications via text messages at the selected time frame.
  • Notifications for ‘Close Friends activity’ – to either receive them on facebook, email or none.
  • Notifications for Your ‘Followers’ – people who are not your friends but you can set to be notified (or not) about their reactions to your public posts.
  • Pages you manage – to set notifications for selected pages you are managing.

Facebook Apps Settings:

#6  An Overview of Your App Settings’ audience selectors

I don’t recall seeing the audience selector listed for each app without having to ‘Edit’ first, so that’s a plus for users to examine and edit the app privacy settings whenever necessary.

To Get There: Go to your Privacy Settings –> Apps

facebook app settings

#7  To Limit Post Visibility for Old Mobile Apps

A great way to control the visibility of your older posts published by outdated Facebook mobile apps.

To Get There: Go to your Privacy Settings –> Apps –> Old version of Facebook for mobile

visibility for older mobile posts

Other New Features:

#8  To Filter the Messages Heading Your Way

Anyone can message you on Facebook. To reduce spammy messages, you need to filter your inbox: keep a basic filtering or a strict one. Use the Spam folder wisely and also look out for your ‘Others’ folder – whatever messages coming from non-friends will most likely ended up there instead of your Inbox (unless they pay for it).

To Get There: Go to https://www.facebook.com/messages –> More–> Spam

facebook spam folder

Two ways to access the filtering options,

one is via the privacy shortcuts –>Who can contact me?

facebook privacy shortcuts

Another is from your Other Folder –> Edit Preferences:

facebook message filtering preferences

#9  To Report a Problem or Send a Feedback:

Normally, users need to identify the feature that caused the problem here then scroll through the Q&A just to locate the bug form via ‘tell us more’. Luckily, now we have an easier option:

Go to ‘Help’ –> ‘Report a Problem’ –> ‘Report a Problem’ (again)–> select the feature from the dropdown menu then write in the text box. I’d recommend you to attach a screenshot to explain the problem further.

how to report facebook problem

Easier? A long awaited feature for sure!

#10  Facebook Single Column Timeline Layout

Mari Smith did a fantastic job explaining the new layout thoroughly on her blog, do head over there and learn all about it:

single column facebook timeline

And lastly,

#11  Facebook Graph Search

The most talked about feature since last week – learn all about it here. As much the concept is welcoming (and lucrative if Facebook decides to monetize it), but if users aren’t careful with what they are sharing, their names and photos could end up in search results they least hope for others to find out. So make sure you read this and go through the privacy and app settings mentioned earlier in this post. Check your ‘About’ section for places, photos, interests you shared (including pages you liked) to avoid embarrassment.

facebook graph search

Now It’s Your Turn

Have you missed any of the Facebook changes or settings mentioned above? Any other suggestions on how to improve user experience on Facebook? Tell us in your comment.

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Ching Ya

Social media enthusiast, Blogger, Freelancer (writing and Facebook customization). Hope to build a network of info-sharing, discussions and friendship.
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Kent Ong
Posted on January 22nd 2013 at 11:17AM

HI Ching Ya, thanks for the post. I think a lot of people need to read this post to protect themselves. :)

Posted on January 23rd 2013 at 2:10AM

I'm glad you found the post useful, Kent. It's really up to users to make full use of the settings available to protect themselves, better be safe than sorry right? Thanks again for commenting.

Posted on January 23rd 2013 at 3:44PM

Hi Ching Ya,

Great artcle - my one question that I can't seem to figure out is how to limit audience for past tagged posts and photos etc.  It seems you can only do this one by one - but for someone with thousands of photos, hundreds of albums, and who knows how many posts - how do you control this?

EX - If a family member or co-worker adds you on Facebook.  What is the best way to add them but still not give them access to all of your photos and posts? Facebook use to let you do this...now I'm not sure where or how to control this besides adjusting one by one.


Posted on January 24th 2013 at 9:53AM

Hi Nicole,

First things first: Let's say if you've shared a few photos publicly before (without setting audience selector), you can limit all those old posts by utilizing this option: Go to your Privacy Settings --> Privacy --> Who can see my stuff? --> Limit the audience for posts you've shared with friends of friends or public, click 'Limit Past Posts'. (Do read the details first, once decided then you can click 'Limit Old Post' to confirm) That way, all your old posts will now be visible to your 'Friends' only, not public.

Now that your posts are visible to Friends, how to stop a few 'future' friends from seeing it? Two ways:
a. Group that new friend in 'Restricted' List, he/she will only be seeing your Public posts. Or,

b. Set privacy for ALL your albums to your preferred audience selector (you can even group your Friends via custom lists and set so only certain lists can view the albums) and make sure the new friend is not in those lists.

Yes, method (b) will be troublesome but that's how far you need to go to be safe; as for method (a), it's easier but then you will need to consider that some posts for 'Friends' will not be seen by them, although you want it to. Need to consider this wisely. Also, don't forget to review the privacy option for 'Who can see posts you've been tagged in on your timeline?', this can be found in your Privacy settings --> Timeline and Tagging option. Better be safe than sorry right?

Above methods are for limiting visibility for (already) shared posts/photos, as for future photos, if you don't want certain people to see it, simply exclude them from the audience selector using 'Custom' option.

Posted on April 23rd 2013 at 4:36AM

Thanks for the post.  Really helpful info.  I do have a question about #5.  It seems that I will only receive a couple of follow-up alerts, especially in my e-mail, after I comment on someone's post.  Even though other people comment more on it, I am not getting notified of it.  I have not selected to unfollow the status update, it just is not sending them anymore.  Is there a certain number that facebook stops notifying at, or I missing a setting somewhere?  Any advice you have would be helpful!  Thx.

Nova Fabon
Posted on September 15th 2013 at 8:09PM

Thank you for this helpful blog, i am searching on how to limit the friends who can comment on your post but i can't find it. I was using it on fb's old version. I hope you can help.

Posted on November 17th 2013 at 11:20AM
Hullo Very useful post thank you. I was was wondering, please can you help me? I want to control the amount of notifications I send. All the info I can find is about controlling how many notifications I receive. I want to know where I can set my site to only update my friends about my posts. Nothing else. Not photos. Not on my About page. Nothing. For example, I don't want it announced when I change my profile picture for example. It's cringingly embarrassing I've only just joined FB and have now stopped all activity, because I don't know what is, and what isn't considered notification worthy by FB. So please can you tell me, where can I find out a: what triggers an update notification, ad b: how to control them? Thank you very much. Your page has been VERY useful to me so far.