How to Protect Your Privacy from Facebook’s Graph Search

Graph Search allows users to make structured searches to filter through friends, friends of friends, and strangers. This feature relies on your profile information being made widely or publicly available, yet there are some Likes, photos, or other pieces of information that you might not want out there.

“In a nutshell, Graph Search uses social signals to create a truly social search experience. Focusing on four core areas – people, photos, places, and interests — Graph Search delivers search results based on ultra-specific long-tail search queries, such as “Friends I graduated college with who like to ski.” These results are based on information from users’ profiles — what they like, places they’ve visited, what they’re interested in, photos they’ve taken, etc.” (via Hubspot)

These are some basic tips for controlling who can see your posts and photos at present. Here’s my step by step guide to locking down your Facebook profile:

You can access your privacy settings by clicking on the padlock icon in the top-right of your page.

Click on “Who can see my stuff?” a drop-down menu will give you several options. One of these is shown below – “Who can see my future posts?” Here you can select a range of options such as friends, only me or custom, which you can use to block specific individuals from seeing your posts.

Facebook Privacy Screenshot

Note that this will apply only to your future posts. If you want to limit access to posts you have made in the past, go back into the padlock drop-down list and select “See More Settings”.

Facebook Privacy for Profiles

The following menu appears. Click on “Limit The Audience for Old Posts on Your Timeline”. Click on “Limit Old Posts” to change all previous posts from Public to Friends.

Facebook Privacy for Profiles


Photos are a bit more complicated. You have no control over photos of you put on Facebook by a friend. If you don’t want it online, talk to your friend to get it taken down! Also note that your cover photos are always public!

To limit specific photos, you will have to set the audience for each individually. Click on a photo to view it. This menu should be on the right-hand side of the photo.

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Click on “Edit”. The following will open up allowing you to add comments, locations, etc to the photo. Click on the little wheel to change the audience for the photo just like before…

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To make a whole album private, etc. open the albums page and click on the wheel on the bottom-right of each album. Here you can select the audience for each album just as for posts.

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Have you updated the privacy settings on your Facebook profile?

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Aoife Rigney is a digital marketing and social media strategist, advisor, trainer and event speaker. Aoife loves her work – it’s her passion! From training one to one or a large group, advising a business on their digital strategy or speaking to a room of people – she simply loves it!

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