Facebook's privacy settings are notorious for being convoluted and downright confusing. Which is why Facebook has officially rolled out a "privacy checkup" to help you make sure you're sharing exactly what you want. But since the checkup only goes so deep, here's how to make sure your Facebook privacy is really intact.
Don't get us wrong – Facebook's checkup is a good start! You can access it by clicking on the little lock icon on the top right corner of your screen. But as far as locking down your embarrassing past (and future, let's face it) goes, it still has the potential to leave you plenty exposed.
Click on that friendly, blue dinosaur (because nothing says security like a species gone extinct), and Facebook will prompt you to begin your privacy quest, beginning with what you post on your Timeline.
Every time you post a new status, photo, video, check-in, etc., your default privacy setting will be the same as the last one you chose. So if your most recent post was an article you shared and set to Public (which can be handy sometimes!), you're going to need to change your post privacy setting if you don't want the whole world seeing what you have to say.
In turn, this means that once you choose your setting for that post using the pull-down menu, you're choosing the default setting for your next post. But while this hopefully limits how much you embarrass yourself, it doesn't do anything to help how much other people can embarrass you. Meaning it's time to leave your new dinosaur friend's guided tour and check out your tag settings.
If you click on that same little lock, you'll see More Settings at the bottom of the drop-down menu. There, you'll find Timeline and Tagging.
This is a wildly handy screen that far too few people take advantage of. If your turn on the option to review posts that friends tag you in, any time a friend uploads a photo of you, say, lying unconscious in a pool of your own vomit and tears, none of your friends will actually see that photo on your Timeline unless you say it's okay. Which you probably won't—in which case, handy!
Or, if you're happy to share your most base moments with anyone and everyone except that one special person (grandma, dad, an impressionable child, etc.), you can choose the Custom option for "who can see posts you've been tagged in." Your blissfully ignorant buddy will be none the wiser.
Perhaps the most useful feature here, though, is the View As button. Click it, and you can choose to see how your profile will look to any one of your Friends. This way, if you're not quite sure you've locked someone out of your life sufficiently, you can get a peek at the world through their eyes just to make sure.
These days, almost any game, app, or website that requires a login will try to tap into Facebook's bounty. You probably don't even realise how many apps you've actually given permission to sift through your Facebook data. Now's a good time to check.
Go back to the settings menu and click Apps on the left-hand toolbar. Here, you can see A) exactly which apps are leaching off your info and B) who's able to see what these apps are posting from your account.
But you can still go even deeper. Hover over the app, hit edit, and you're presented with surprisingly granular control.
Facebook will list all the information you've agreed to provide every app that has access to your account. You can choose to revoke any details that aren't required, and change who can see the app on your Timeline. For example, I've made my Candy Crush usage private because I maintain a sense of shame.
Scroll further, and you can change whether or not the app is allowed to spew what you're doing out to your friends and family. Generally, people opt to turn this off out of sheer annoyance more than anything else.
If all this info your apps are slurping up makes you nervous, Facebook has some links where you can learn more about what each permission means. Although the easiest way to set your mind at ease is just to revoke access entirely. Problem solved.
Unfortunately, the internet has made it far too easy to harass people from the anonymous comfort of your own home, which is why god gave us a Block button. In that same settings menu, hit Blocking, and you'll see any users, apps, pages, etc. you've blocked from being able to interact with you, as well as the option to block someone new.
Once you block someone, they'll be completely cutoff from any of your Facebook activity whatsoever. Of course, it's important to keep in mind that if you appear in a photo with a mutual friend, the person you've blocked will still be able to see it. Other than that, though, it's like you never existed.
If you're not quite ready to commit to a full block, but still want to make sure you're not sharing any info you shouldn't be, you've got options. Click the About section on your profile. Here, you'll be able to see exactly which info is being displayed and to whom.
Of course, all these options have been around for a while, but it's all too easy to forget and always worth a reminder check out what we're sharing and with whom. And we need a tiny cartoon dinosaur to drive that home.