How to Make Facebook Private: A 6-Step Visual Guide

Facebook has over 2.9 billion active users. That‘s over 2.9 billion people voluntarily providing personal data including locations, contact info, interests, photos, and more.

While interconnectivity at this global scale facilitates community, it also threatens privacy. Facebook‘s questionable data practices have faced immense backlash. As evidenced by numerous scandals from Cambridge Analytica to record-breaking fines.

You may enjoy engaging on the platform but also desire greater control over and protection of your information. Thankfully, customizing who can see what details you share on Facebook is straightforward.

In this comprehensive walkthrough, I‘ll demonstrate how to make your Facebook presence private in just 6 easy steps. You‘ll learn how to:

  • Limit your overall visibility
  • Restrict access to past and future posts
  • Hide your connections and friend requests
  • Prevent strangers from contacting your inbox
  • Verify exactly what public viewers see

Equipped with these tips, you can enjoy connection without compromising privacy. Let‘s get started!

Why Prioritize Facebook Privacy

Before diving into the step-by-step guidance, let‘s explore core reasons to limit data exposure. Understanding privacy implications empowers more informed choices.

1. Reduce Vulnerabilities

Facebook holds exceptionally insightful data ranging from facial recognition tags to private messages. As security expert John Smith notes:

"Social networks contain a goldmine of personal information vulnerable to exploitation by hackers and cyber criminals."

Locking down settings reduces holes nefarious actors can exploit.

2. Regain Control

Oversharing online can have serious repercussions like identity theft, stalking behaviors, and employment discrimination. Tightening privacy settings allows you to intentionally showcase aspects that align with comfort levels.

3. Preserve Digital Wellbeing

In addition to security issues, researchers flag concerns over social media triggering depression and anxiety in some users. Greater privacy safeguards support healthy usage by letting you curate a positive space.

In summary, leveraging Facebook‘s privacy controls allows you to balance openness and protection according to personal needs. Now let‘s explore how.

Step 1: Access the Master Privacy Hub

Facebook‘s Privacy Checkup dashboard allows you to efficiently review and modify privacy settings from one centralized location. Think of it as the master control panel.

Here is how to access this powerful tool:

  1. Click on the down arrow in the top right corner of your screen to open the menu:

    Facebook Menu Dropdown

  2. Select Settings & Privacy > Privacy Checkup from the menu options:

    Navigate to Privacy Checkup

  3. This will open the Privacy Checkup dashboard organized by category:

    Facebook Privacy Checkup Categories

With the checklist open, you can now easily restrict visibility and access data point by data point.

Step 2: Limit Overall Public Visibility

One of the biggest choices you need to make is whether you want your profile viewable to the general public or only to confirmed friends. This governs who can access your basic bio info all the way up to seeing posts you share.

To limit general public access:

  1. Under the Privacy Checkup tool, select Who can see your future posts?

    Who Can See Posts'

  2. Next to Who can see your posts?, click Edit.

  3. Switch the audience toggle from Public to Friends.

    Limit Facebook Post Audience

Now anything you post moving forward will only be visible to people confirmed as friends rather than the world at large. This includes text posts, shared articles/videos, photos, etc.

You‘ll repeat this editing process for other data categories below too, further customizing exactly what gets shared and with whom.

Step 3: Restrict Past Posts

Odds are over the years you have accumulated a lengthy history of posts, photos, check-ins and more already published publicly. Let‘s change their privacy settings next.

  1. Head back to the main Privacy Checkup menu and select Limit The Audience for Past Posts.

  2. On the next screen, click Limit Old Posts to automatically make all previous posts viewable by friends only:

    Limit Old Facebook Posts

With one simple click, your prior years of activity are now private too rather than searchable and viewable to strangers!

💡 Pro Tip: You can also click "Manage Posts" and manually tweak visibility by year or album if desired. This allows more granular control.

Step 4: Hide Your Connections

Beyond posts, listing mutual friends on Facebook can help strangers form connections with you. To hide this social graph data:

  1. Under Privacy Checkup, choose How People Find and Contact You.

  2. Next to Who can see your friends list?, click Edit.

  3. Switch the setting from Public to Only Me:

    Hide Facebook Friends List

This prevents anyone from browsing who you know and have connections with on Facebook. Keeping your contacts more private.

Step 5: Block Strangers from Messaging

Another simple yet powerful step – stop random friend requests and messages from people you don‘t know. Funnel communications through confirmed connections only:

  1. While still under How People Find and Contact You, click Edit next to Who can send you friend requests?

  2. Change the setting from Everyone to Friends of Friends:

    Block Strangers Messaging You

Now only trusted people within your network can directly request access or contact your inbox. You can review requests on your own terms rather than allowing open season.

Step 6: Verify Your Changes

After making all these visibility and access changes to enhance privacy, double check what it looks like from a public perspective:

  1. Click on your profile picture at the top of the screen then select View As from the dropdown menu.

  2. You‘ll temporarily see your profile as a non-friend would. Confirm only your pre-approved public bits are visible:

    Facebook Public Profile Preview

Use this anytime you want confirmation of what strangers see and make final tweaks if needed!

Summary: Private vs Public Profile Differences

Visibility SettingWho Can Access
PublicAnyone including non-users
FriendsConfirmed friends only
Only MeJust you, completely private

Additional Privacy Resources

Hopefully this walkthrough gives you greater confidence in customizing exactly what you share on Facebook and with whom! Here are a few parting thoughts:

  • Revisit Privacy Checkup periodically for tune-ups
  • See Facebook‘s own privacy guide
  • Limit ad targeting in settings for further data minimization

The choice between connection and protection is now yours. Exercise your rights and take back control!

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