Facebook Privacy settings
Your own common sense is going to be one of the best helpers in avoiding privacy problems and Facebook Privacy settings. Facebook status updates aren’t the right place to post Social Security numbers or bank passwords.
Similarly, if you’re thinking about sharing something that, if the wrong someone saw it, could lead to bad real-world consequences, maybe it’s not meant to be shared on Facebook.
Know Your Audience
Before getting into specifics about all the privacy controls, you need to understand some basic parts of the Facebook vocabulary. These terms are related to how Facebook thinks about the people you may or may not want to share with. For most pieces of information, the privacy options are related to the audience who can see what you’re sharing.
The first two options in this list — Public and Friends — are the most basic settings that are shown by default whenever you go to change your privacy. To see all the options described, click the More link at the bottom of the Privacy menu.
Public or Everyone:
By setting the visibility of something you post or list to Public, you’re saying that you don’t care who, on the entire Internet, knows this information about you. Many people list their spouse on their Timeline, and, just as they’d shout this information from the treetops (and register it at the county courthouse), they set the visibility to Public.
This is a totally reasonable setting for innocuous pieces of information. In fact, some information is always available as Public Information that everyone can see. This includes your name, profile picture, cover photo, and gender.
Now, just because everyone can see something doesn’t mean everyone does see everything. Your posts, information, friendships, and so on populate your Friends’ News Feeds (assuming that your Friends can see this information), but never the News Feeds of people you’re not Friends with (unless you allow followers to see your public posts).
When I think about who will see the information I share as Public, I imagine someone like you searching for me by name and coming to my Timeline. Although (hopefully) that might be a lot of people, it isn’t anywhere close to the number of people who use Facebook. By default, much of your Timeline and all your posts are publicly visible.
Any information for which you set visibility to Friends will be accessible only by your confirmed Facebook Friends. If you trust your Friends, this is a reasonably safe setting for most of your information.
If you feel uncomfortable sharing your information with your Friends, you can use Custom Privacy, or you can rethink the people you allow to become your Friends. Think of friending people as a privacy setting all on its own. When you add someone as a friend, ask yourself whether you’re comfortable with that person seeing your posts.
Even though I always recommend adding friends only if you’re comfortable with them seeing your posts, I have to acknowledge that sometimes you have not-quite-friends on your Friend List.
These may be distant family members, professional contacts, old friends from way back when, or that super-friendly neighbor whom you maybe just wish wouldn’t stop by quite so often. No matter who they are, you can exclude them from seeing your posts or other information by choosing the Friends Except setting.
When you choose this setting, a pop-up window opens with options for choosing the friends you want to exclude. Your list of friends is ordered alphabetically by the first name, or you can use the search box at the top of the box to search for a specific friend or Friend List.
Select friends by clicking on their names. The names you select when using the Friends Except setting are the names of people who will not be able to see whatever it is you are posting.
This setting is basically a way of adding something to Facebook but then hiding it from being seen by other people. At first, this setting may not seem useful, but it can come in handy for those times when you want to work on something, such as a photo album, and hide it from view until you finish it.
This setting opens a pop-up window similar to the Friends Except setting. In this case, you are selecting the people or lists who can see something, as opposed to selecting who can’t see it.
If you have something you want only a few people to see, this is a good way to share with that smaller group of people.
If you have very specific needs, customized privacy settings may help you feel more comfortable sharing on Facebook. Anytime you select Custom from a privacy menu, you’ll see the Custom Privacy window.
In the top part of the Custom Privacy window, you enter the names of friends or Friend Lists that you want to see something. Simply type the name of the person or list into the text box to make something visible to them.
Additionally, a checkbox allows you to choose whether the friends of any people you tag can see your post. Remember, tagging is a way of marking who is in a photo, who is with you when you check in someplace, or whom you want to mention in a post.
For example, say that I’m going to spend a day at the park with one of my friends. I might post a status that says, “Taking advantage of the nice weather with Marjorie.”
The name of my friend links back to her profile. By default, Marjorie’s friends will be able to see this post, even if they aren’t friends with me. If I deselect this box, Marjorie’s friends will no longer be able to see that post. The lower section of the Custom Privacy window controls who can’t see something.
Like the top part of the window, the Don’t Share With section has a blank text box where you can type the name of people or Friend Lists. When you add their names to this box, they won’t be able to see the content you post.
Whatever customized audience you create for one post will be the audience next time you go to post something. Make sure you check the audience the next time you post!
Lists: Lists are ways to sort your friends into various categories. There are two types of lists: Smart Lists that Facebook creates on your behalf, and lists that you create for yourself. For example, Facebook creates the Family list based on information you enter about your family relationships.
Setting your privacy settings on Facebook isn’t a one-time thing. Because you are constantly adding new status updates, photos, and content to Facebook, constantly interacting with friends and reaching out to people, managing your privacy is an ongoing affair.
To that end, one of the most common places you should know your privacy options is in the Publisher, also known as the Share box.
The Publisher is the blank text box that sits at the top of your Home page and under your cover photo on your Timeline. It’s where you go to add status updates, photos, links, and more to Facebook.
The part of the Publisher that’s important for this chapter is the Privacy menu, in the lower-left corner of the Publisher.
Whenever you’re posting a status or other content, the audience, or group of people you’ve given permission to see it, is displayed within the Privacy button.
The audience you see displayed is always the audience you last shared something with. In other words, if you shared something with the Public last time you posted a status, it displays Public the next time you go to post a status.
Click the Privacy button to reveal the drop-down menu. Click the setting you want before you post your status, link, or photo. Most of the time, I share my posts with Friends.
As a result, I don’t change this setting that often. But if you do share something publicly, remember to adjust the audience the next time you post something.
To see the full menu of options discussed in the “Know Your Audience” section, you will need to click the More link at the bottom of the menu, and then the See All link to expand the menu further.
A post’s privacy icon (Public, Friends Except, Friends, or Custom) is visible to anyone who can view that post. People can hover over that icon to get more information.
Friend Lists appear as Custom Privacy unless the viewer is a member of a list you shared the post with. Members of a Friend List can see other people included on the list but are unable to see the name of the list.
After you post something, you can always change the privacy on it. From your Timeline, follow these steps:
1 Hover your mouse over the privacy icon at the top of the post whose audience you want to change Every post displays the icon for Public, Friends, or Custom.
2 Click the button to reveal the Privacy menu
You’ll see the usual options: Public, Friends, Friends Except, Only Me, and More. You need to click More to see choices like Specific Friends, Custom, or specific lists of friends.
Click the audience you want
A change to Public, Friends, Friends Except, or a specific Friend List is automatically saved. Changing to Custom requires you to make selections within the Custom Privacy window again.
There are so many settings related to privacy on Facebook that it can sometimes feel overwhelming. That’s why I am such a fan of the Privacy Shortcuts menu, which helps direct you to the settings you’ll want most often by asking the questions you’ll ask most often:
Who can see my stuff?
Who can contact me?
How do I stop someone from bothering me?
To open the Privacy Shortcuts menu, open the Quick Help menu by clicking the question mark icon in the big blue bar at the top of any Facebook page. Then select Privacy Shortcuts from the menu that opens. Click any of these three options to expand more privacy options.
Who can see my stuff?
You can adjust the privacy for each status or post you make, which means that over time you might find yourself asking, “Wait, who can see all of this? Who can see what I posted yesterday? Last week? What about if I post tomorrow?” Well, the answers can be found here.
Facebook offers you one setting you can adjust here, named Who Can See My Future Posts. This is the exact same control that can be found in the Publisher. It’s described this way to emphasize that whatever you select here will be the default going forward until you change it again.
Click the little arrow to change this setting. You will see the same options you see from the Publisher: Public, Friends, Friends Except, Only Me, and More.
Additionally, the Who Can See My Stuff section offers you two links to help you double-check and understand what people can see.
The first is a link to Activity Log, which is a granular summary of everything you’ve done on Facebook and who can see that thing. It ranges from the status updates you write to the content you like or comment on.
As you look through your Activity Log, you can change who can see it, or remove the content entirely. I go over how to navigate and edit your Activity Log in more depth in the “Privacy Tools” section later in this chapter.
Finally, the Who Can See My Stuff section offers you a link to another privacy tool, the View As tool. This tool allows you to look at your Timeline as though you are another person.
I like to use this to double-check what people see when they search for me on Facebook — in my case, they mostly see my biographical information and none of my posts.
Who can contact me?
A common Facebook problem that sends people scurrying to their privacy settings is getting a Friend Request that they don’t want to get. It might be from a spammer or just someone you don’t know. This section is to help you control who can send you Friend Requests.
There are only two options for the Who Can Send Me Friend Requests setting: Everyone and Friends of Friends. Everyone means that everyone who searches for you or finds your Timeline can request you as a friend.
Friends of Friends means someone must be friends with one of your friends before he’s allowed to request you.
As a personal anecdote, when I worked at Facebook, I received a lot of Friend Requests from people who wanted me to pass a message along to the CEO or something like that.
I found this irritating, so I changed this setting to just Friends of Friends. When I moved to a new city, I realized the people I met were unable to add me as a friend. I changed my setting back to Everyone to make it easier for friends to find me.
How do I stop someone from bothering me?
Sadly, sometimes a friendship isn’t really a friendship. If someone is bothering you, harassing you, bullying you, or in any way making your Facebook experience terrible, blocking might be the solution to the problem.
Blocking is different than unfriending someone because someone who is not your friend might still wind up interacting with you on Facebook.
For example, if you have mutual friends, you might wind up both commenting on the same post. Blocking someone means that as much as possible, neither of you will even know that the other person is on Facebook.
You won’t see each other’s comments, even if that person is on the same person’s photo. Blocked individuals won’t be able to send you messages, add you as a friend, or view your Timeline (all things they would likely be able to do even if you unfriended them).
While this may sound like a very serious tool, consider that perhaps one of the most common uses of it is blocking exes to prevent oneself from seeing how much fun they are having without you.
If you’re the parent of a teen, this can be a very handy setting to know about. Unfortunately, bullying can sometimes spread to Facebook from the classroom, and blocking can be a useful tool in terms of keeping your child safer on Facebook.
Facebook Privacy Settings Tips
In addition to the privacy shortcuts, there are several more granular privacy settings located on the Settings page. You can get to these settings from the Privacy Shortcuts menu (click the link on the bottom that says See More Settings). The Privacy Settings and Tools section of the Setting page.
The left side of the Settings page is a menu of different settings you can adjust here.
The settings that are relevant to privacy are in the second section: Privacy, Timeline and Tagging, and Blocking. Additionally, I go over the Apps and Ads settings sections because people commonly have questions about how their information is used in these locations.
The Privacy section of the Settings page It’s broken into three sections: Who Can See My Stuff, Who Can Contact Me, and Who Can Look Me Up.
Who Can See My Stuff?
The Who Can See My Stuff section should look mostly familiar if you read the section on privacy shortcuts. There are three settings here, two of which are redundant with the Privacy Shortcuts menu.
Who can see your future posts?
This setting shows you your current setting for when you create posts. This is who can see all your future posts (unless you change it). You can change this setting by clicking the Edit link on the right side of the page. A sample Publisher appears where you can select a new privacy setting.
Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with Friends of Friends or Public.
This setting is one you probably won’t need too often, but it could come in handy occasionally. Remember, this setting is needed only if at any point, you shared posts with Everyone or with Friends of Friends. If you’ve shared only with Friends (or an even smaller subset of people), this setting won’t change anything.
Use it to change the privacy settings of all items that were previously public to be visible only to friends. This setting might be useful if, for example, you’re job hunting, and you don’t want potential employers to find your public posts about the most recent election. Once you make this change, it can’t be undone.
In other words, those posts will always be visible only to Friends unless you go back and individually make them public. To use this setting, click the Limit Past Posts link on the right side of the page; then click the Limit Old Posts button that appears.
Who can see your friends list?
This setting shows who can see the list of people who are your friends. By default, this list is public. You can change this by clicking the Edit link on the right side of the page.
This opens further explanation of the setting as well as a Privacy menu for selecting who you want to be able to see your friends. Even if you change this setting to Only Me, your friends will still be able to see a list of mutual friends in the Friends box on your Timeline.
Who Can Contact Me?
The Who Can Contact Me section should also be familiar, as it is the same setting found in the privacy shortcuts menu. This setting lets you choose between allowing anyone on Facebook to send you a Friend Request or only allowing people who know your friends to send you a Friend Request.
Click Edit and then use the Privacy menu to change your setting.
Who Can Look Me Up?
This section concerns how people can find you on Facebook. When you signed up for Facebook, you entered an email address and possibly a phone number. The first two settings ask if people who search by that information will be able to find you.
If you’re someone who has a slightly different name than your real name on your Timeline (for example, if I were to go by Carolyn EA on Facebook rather than my actual name, Carolyn Abram), I absolutely recommend leaving these settings set to Everyone. Limiting it limits your potential friends’ ability to find you.
To change this setting for either your email address or phone number, click Edit on the right side of the page and use the Privacy menu to select whether Everyone, Friends of Friends or only Friends can search for you by email or phone number.
The third setting here concerns search engine indexing. Search engines like Google or Bing use web crawlers to create indexes they can search to provide results to users. So when someone searches for your name on Google, by default, a link to your Facebook Timeline appears. If you deselect this setting, that will no longer be true.
To change this setting, click Edit on the right side of the page and deselect the checkbox labeled Allow Search Engines Outside of Facebook To Link To Your Profile. A pop-up window will ask if you’re sure you want to turn off this feature. Click the Turn Off button to confirm.
Even if you deselect the search engine indexing checkbox, people will still be able to search for you by name on Facebook itself. Apart from someone you have blocked, people will always be able to search for you and get to your Timeline from Facebook Search.
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Timeline and tagging
The Timeline, is basically where you collect all your stuff on Facebook. That means photos, posts, posts Friends have left you, application activity, and so on. Your Timeline allows you to look through your history and represent yourself to your Friends.
Tags on Facebook are a way of labeling people in your content. For example, when uploading a photo, you can tag a specific friend in it. That tag becomes information that others can see as well as a link back to your Friend’s Timeline.
In addition, from your Friend’s Timeline, people can get to that photo to see her smiling face. You can tag people and Pages in status updates, photos, notes, check-ins at various places, comments, and really any other type of post. And just like you can tag friends, friends can tag you in their photos and posts.
This section of the settings page allows you to control settings related to people interacting with you on your Timeline and tagging you in posts. For controlling the privacy on things you add to your Timeline (that is, your posts), you use the Privacy menu in the Publisher.
Who Can Add Things to My Timeline?
This section focuses on other people adding things like photos, posts, or tags to your Timeline.
Who can post on your Timeline?
In addition to being a place where you add posts, your Timeline is a place where your Friends can leave you messages or posts. If you don’t want your Friends leaving these sorts of public messages (if you’re using Facebook for professional or networking reasons, for example), you can set this to Only Me.
To change this setting, click Edit on the right side of the setting and use the drop-down menu that appears to select Only Me. By default, only Friends can post on your Timeline. Changing this setting means no one can post to your Timeline except you.
Review posts Friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline.
Timeline Review allows you to review the tags people have added of you before they are displayed on your Timeline. In other words, if I tag you in a photo, that photo won’t appear on your Timeline until you log in to Facebook and approve the tag.
To change this setting, click Edit on the right side of the setting and use the drop-down menu that appears to toggle between Enabled and Disabled. By default, tags of you are automatically approved, and this setting is set to Disabled or Off.
Who Can See Things on My Timeline?
There’s a difference between adding things to your Timeline, which the preceding settings control, and simply looking at your Timeline, which the settings in this section control. Three settings here concern what people see when they look at your profile.
Review what other people see on your Timeline.
This isn’t so much a setting as a link to the View As privacy tool (which I cover in detail in the “Privacy Tools” section later in this chapter). The View As tool allows you to look at your Timeline as though you’re someone else, thus double-checking that your privacy settings are working.
Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your Timeline?
After you’ve approved tags (or if you leave Timeline Review off), you can still decide who can see the content in which you’re tagged on your Timeline.
In other words, if your Friend tags you in a photo, you can control who sees that photo on your Timeline. The idea behind this setting is that, although you will never post anything embarrassing to your Timeline, a Friend might (accidentally, I hope) do so.
Making sure that not everyone can see that post (except other, more understanding friends) cuts down on any awkwardness. To change this setting, click the Edit link on the right side of the page and then use the drop-down menu that appears to choose who can see this information.
Who can see what others post on your Timeline?
Another way to control the “embarrassing friend on your Timeline” problem is to limit who can see the posts your friends leave. To change this setting, click the Edit link on the right side of the page and use the drop-down menu that appears to select who can see these posts.
How Can I Manage Tags People Add and Tagging Suggestions?
Although tagging has been mentioned in many of these Timeline settings, these settings refer to very specific use cases of tagging that you maybe never thought about before.
Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook.
This setting controls tags your friends add to content you’ve uploaded. For example, if I upload a photo of 20 people to Facebook and don’t tag anyone in it, my friends might choose to add tags. This setting lets me choose to review the tags my friends add before the tag is visible to other people.
To change this setting, click Edit on the right side of the page; then use the drop-down menu that appears to select whether Tag Review is Enabled or Disabled. By default, it is Disabled (Off).
When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren’t already in it?
This setting sounds very complicated, so let’s break it down with an example. Say that Claire has two friends: Jamie and Frank. Jamie and Frank are not friends with each other. Now, say that Frank adds a photo of Claire (meaning he has tagged her in it), and his privacy settings share that photo with his friends.
Because Jamie and Frank aren’t friends, Jamie cannot see that photo. If Claire allows her friends to be added to the audience of that photo, then Jamie will be able to see it.
In other words, Claire can control whether Jamie can see a photo of her that Frank has added. To change this setting, click Edit on the right side of the page and use the drop-down menu that appears to select who is added to the audience of a post you’re tagged in.
There are only three options for this setting: Friends, Only Me, and Custom. By default, this setting adds your friends to the audience of a post you’re tagged in.
Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?
Facebook employs some facial recognition software to help people tag photos. So if a Friend is uploading 50 photos and you appear in 30 of them, Facebook might recognize your face and suggest to your friend that you be tagged in those 30 photos.
This is to save your friend time while he’s adding photos and to encourage people to add more tags to Facebook. You can choose not to appear in the suggestions Facebook gives your friends by disabling this setting.
To change this setting, click Edit on the right side of the page and use the drop-down menu that appears to select whether Friends or No One will see tag suggestions.
Most of your privacy settings are preventive measures for making yourself comfortable on Facebook. Blocklists are usually more reactive. If someone does something on Facebook that bothers you, you may choose to block him or block certain actions he takes from affecting you. The Blocking section of the Settings page.
You can manage seven blocklists here: Restricted List, Block Users, Block Messages, Block App Invites, Block Event Invites, Block Apps, and Block Pages.
Using the Restricted List
The Restricted List is a list you can create that accomplishes something like using the “Friends except” privacy option. Friends who have been added to your restricted list cannot see posts and other information that are visible only to Friends.
They will still be able to see any public posts you have shared, and they’ll see you interacting with people on Facebook. Think of it as one step below blocking someone.
To add someone to this list, click Edit List on the right side of the page. A pop-up window appears, If you’ve already added people to this list, they appear here, and you can remove them from the list by hovering over their pictures and clicking the X that appears in the right corner of the photos.
To add people to the list, follow these steps:
1. Click the button in the top left of the box named On This List. A menu of two options appears Friends and On This List.
2. Click Friends. A grid appears showing all your friends listed alphabetically by the first name.
3. Select friends to add to the restricted list by clicking their pictures or by searching for them by name in the upper-right corner and then clicking their pictures.
4. When you’re done, click the Finish button in the lower-right corner of the box.
Blocking someone on Facebook is the strongest way to distance yourself from someone else on Facebook. For the most part, if you add someone to your Block List, he can’t see any traces of you on Facebook. You won’t show up in his News Feed;
if he looks at a photo in which you’re tagged, he may see you in the photo (that’s unavoidable), but he won’t see that your name has been tagged. When you write on other people’s Timelines, your posts are hidden from him. Here are a few key things to remember about blocking:
It’s almost entirely reciprocal. If you block someone, she is just as invisible to you as you are to her. So you can’t access her Timeline, nor can you see anything about her anywhere on the site. The only difference is that if you blocked the relationship, you’re the only one who can unblock it.
People you block are not notified that you blocked them. Nor are they notified if you unblock them. If they are savvy Facebook users, they may notice your suspicious absence, but Facebook never tells them that they have been blocked by you.
You can block people who are your friends or who are not your friends.
If you are friends with someone and then you block her, Facebook also removes the friendship. If at some point in the future, you unblock her, you will need to re-friend her. Blocking on Facebook doesn’t necessarily extend to apps and games you use on Facebook and around the Internet.
Contact the developers of the apps you use to learn how to block people within games and apps. To add people to your blocklist, simply enter their names or email addresses into the boxes provided.
Then click the Block button. Their names then appear in a list here. Click the Unblock link next to their names if you want to remove the block.
Blocking someone from sending you messages is very useful if someone is specifically bothering you through either the Facebook Messenger app or by sending you Facebook messages from their computers.
Messages, in this case, includes chats, voice, and video calls from the Facebook Messenger app. If someone is bothering you in comments sections or on your Timeline, you need to fully block them to get them to leave you alone. But if messages are the only problem, then you have an easy solution here.
Note that you can only add friends to the messaging Block List. If you are being bothered by someone who is not a friend, you will need to report and/or block them entirely.
To add people to the Messages Block List, simply enter their name in the box provided and press Enter. Their name appears in a list. Click the Unblock link next to their name if you want to remove the block.
Blocking App Invites
An app is a term used to describe pieces of software that use Facebook data, even when those apps weren’t built by Facebook.
As friends use apps and games, they may want you to join in on the fun and send you an invite to join them. This is all well and good until you find that certain people send you way too many invites.
Rather than unfriend or block the overly friendly person who’s sending you all those invitations, you can simply block invitations. This option still allows you to interact with your friend in every other way, but you won’t receive application invites from him or her.
To block invites from a specific person, just type the person’s name in the Block Invites From box and click Enter when you’re done. That person’s name then appears on the list below the text box. To remove the block, click Unblock next to that name.
Blocking Event Invites
As with App Invites, you may have friends who are big planners and love to invite all their friends to their events. These may be events that you have no chance of attending because they’re taking place across the country, and your friend has chosen to invite all his friends without any regard for location.
Again, your friend is cool; his endless unnecessary invitations are not. Instead of getting rid of your friend, you can get rid of the invitations by entering his name here.
To block event invites from specific people, just type their names into the Block Invites From box and click Enter when you’re done. Their names then appear on the list below the text box. To remove the block, click Unblock next to their names.
Occasionally, an app behaves badly once you start using it. By “behave badly,” I mean things like spamming your friends or using your information in ways that make you uncomfortable. If an app is doing so, you can block it to prevent it from contacting you through Facebook and getting updated Facebook information about you.
To block an app, type its name in the Block Apps text field and press Enter. The name of the app appears on the list below the text box. To remove the block, click Unblock next to its name.
Pages are basically Timelines for non-people (things like businesses, brands, famous people, pets, anything that isn’t covered by the term “person”). Pages can often interact in many of the same ways as regular people on Facebook (for example, commenting on or liking your posts), which means you might find yourself in a situation where you need to block one.
When you block a Page from interacting with you, it will no longer be able to interact with you or your posts, and you won’t be able to interact with that Page via message or post.
It also automatically includes un-liking and unfollowing the Page. To block a Page, type its name into the Block Pages text field and press Enter. The name of the Page appears on the list below the text box. To remove the block, click Unblock next to its name.
An app is a term used to describe pieces of software that use Facebook data, even when those applications weren’t built by Facebook. You may use apps as games, websites, and useful tools, all of which make use of the data you already share on Facebook. To make it easier to get people using these applications, they import the data from Facebook.
For now, keep in mind that the apps you see on this page are those you chose to interact with. You won’t see random applications appear here without you giving them some permissions first.
Logged In with Facebook
The Logged In with a Facebook section at the top of the App Settings page shows all the apps you’ve used, including websites where you’ve used Facebook to log in. Under each app’s name in this list is the audience that can see that app on your Timeline.
Click on the privacy icon or the pencil icon that appears when you hover your mouse over the app’s name to open the Edit App menu. where you can review and edit the information that the app can access as well as how the app can interact with your Facebook usage.
There are several sections of this menu (including a few that you need to scroll down to see). Some of these sections have options you can change, and others are merely informative.
App Visibility and post audience:
The Privacy menu here has the same options as any other Privacy menu. You can choose who can see both that you use a given app as well as any posts that the app makes on your behalf.
For example, I keep my Kickstarter app visible to friends because I like them to know what projects I’m supporting. I make my Hulu app visible to Only Me because I’m ashamed of how much reality television I watch.
Info You Provide to This App:
This list of information shows what information from your Facebook account is currently being shared with the app in question. In addition to the information type (for example, Friend List or Education History) you can see examples of that information (for example, Oliver, Felicity, John; Tufts and Phillips Academy).
Apart from your Public Profile (which includes your name, profile picture, age, gender, and any other publicly available info), you can stop sharing other types of info with an app by unchecking the blue circle next to it in this menu.
This App Can:
This section lets you control whether an app can post to your Timeline on your behalf and whether it can send you notifications. For the most part, apps only post to your Timeline when you have taken an action within the app (for example, completing a new level in Candy Crush Saga).
If you don’t want the app to do this anymore, uncheck the blue circle. If you are receiving too many notifications from an app, you can use the menu here to make that stop. Simply use the menu next to Send you notifications to switch from Yes to No.
This section provides links to learn more about different aspects of using apps. It also provides links to contact the developers of the app you are using. Remember, Facebook isn’t always the company that has built an app, so if you are having trouble using that app or want your info deleted, you will need to contact the company who built the app, instead of contacting Facebook.
Links: At the bottom of the Edit App menu, next to the Cancel and Save buttons, are a few links that may come in handy:
App Terms: This link takes you to the app’s Terms of Service.
Remove App: If you want to sever all ties with an app, you can click this link to remove it entirely from your Facebook experience. It won’t be able to access any of your info going forward.
Report App: You can use this link to report an app for things like spamming, abusive behavior or content, or for using your information inappropriately.
Apps, Websites, and Plugins
This setting is like a big giant “kill” switch for using Apps, Websites, and Plugins with your Facebook account. If you are sure that there is no way you will ever want to use any sort of app under any circumstance, you can choose to disable Facebook Platform. If you do so, any apps you have used will be removed, and their posts will be deleted from your Timeline.
You won’t be able to log in to external websites with your Facebook credentials, and your friends won’t be able to interact with you through their apps. If you’re sure that this is what you want, click Edit to open the Turn Platform Off menu, then click the blue Disable Platform button.
Apps Others Use
Even if you don’t use applications, your friends may. Just as your friends can add and tag photos of you even though you haven’t added photos yourself, your friends may also pass on information about you to applications. You can restrict what applications can see by clicking Edit.
Game and App notifications
If you don’t like receiving notifications from any apps, regardless of what type of app it is or what it does, you can turn off all notifications. Personally, I prefer to turn off notifications on an app by app basis, because I generally like to be notified when my friends take actions that may link back to my Timeline.
When you turn off notifications, you are not limiting your ability to use an app, or are you limiting your friends’ ability to interact with you. All you are doing is muting the stream of notifications that may be bothering you.
To turn off notifications, click the Edit button in the center of the Game and App Notifications on the right half of the App Settings page. A pop-up box opens confirming that you want to turn off notifications.
Old Versions of Facebook for Mobile
If you’ve never used Facebook on a mobile phone or are certain you’re using the most recent Facebook app on an iPhone or Android phone, this setting doesn’t apply to you.
But if you’re using a version of Facebook for Mobile that doesn’t allow you to change your privacy for each post you create, you can use this setting to control who sees posts you make from your phone. Click the Privacy menu at the bottom of this box to make your selection.
Facebook is free for you to use. Instead of charging its users money, Facebook pays the bills by selling ads. These ads are then shown to you. So, in a way, looking at ads is the way you pay for using Facebook.
Facebook chooses which ads to show you in many ways. The Ad Preferences page is what opens when you choose Ads from the left side of the Settings page.
Here you can see some of the ways Facebook chooses which ads to show you. You can exert some influence on some aspects of the ads you see, but no matter what, you will still see ads.
Note that advertisers never get any personally identifying information about you from Facebook. They only get aggregated data or data that has been compiled about many users without specifically naming any one user.
So an advertiser never sees that you, personally, clicked on that one ad for the new season of Outlander upwards of ten times. All they know is that their ad received a certain number of clicks from women in the 30-35 age range.
Similarly, Facebook is not showing an advertiser a picture of you and saying, “this person lives in Seattle and likes coffee and has two children and is afraid of clowns.” If an advertiser selects “coffee” as an interest for their desired audience, they are told how many people might see that ad.
The Ad Preferences page has five sections. Click on any of the top four sections to see more information and options. You can also click on the fifth section to open another page where you can learn more about how Facebook advertising works.
When advertisers create an ad on Facebook, they select an audience for their ads. Their audience might be selected based on age, gender, country, or some combination. They may also be selected based on interests. Your Interests section displays the interest categories that you fall into.
Some of these are Pages you have liked or things that you have listed on your Timeline’s Interests sections. Other items are ones that Facebook has algorithmically decided to apply to you. For example, if you like a local coffee shop’s Facebook Page, you may find that you now have “coffee” as an interest in this section.
Your interests are displayed as thumbnail images. You can click on any of these images to see a preview of the sorts of ads you might see because of that interest.
In other words, you can see ads that have selected people like you as part of their audience. If you don’t want certain interests to include you anymore, hover your mouse over that image and click the X that appears in the upper-right corner of the image.
Even if you clicked X on every single interest in this section, you will still see ads. You will not see ads that are specifically aimed at people who like, for example, coffee, but you will still see ads.
Advertisers you’ve interacted with
This section displays information about the ads you may be seeing currently. It breaks these advertisers into five categories, though two or more categories may be hidden behind a “More” link. Click More to view the additional sections.
With your contact info: If you have separate accounts with certain companies (for example, if you get email promotions from a retailer), those companies can feed those email lists into Facebook and target their subscribers with ads. You can see advertisers who have targeted you based on your contact info here.
Whose website or app you’ve used: Facebook and many other websites use something called “cookies” to track users across different websites. Cookies allow ads to be shown to you based on the other websites and apps you have used. You can see advertisers who have used cookies to show you ads here.
Whom you’ve visited: If you use Facebook’s app on your mobile phone and have location services enabled, Facebook may be able to serve you ads based on the physical stores you visit.
If you have seen ads based on stores you have visited, those advertisers will appear in this space. This feature is very new so it’s very likely this space will be blank at the moment.
Whose ads you’ve clicked: Anytime you have clicked on a Facebook ad that action gets recorded by Facebook’s systems. You can see the advertisers whose ads you have clicked in the past here.
Whom you’ve hidden: When you hide advertisers, that fact is recorded and stored by Facebook’s systems. You can view all the advertisers you have hidden here. In any of these sections, you can choose to hide ads from any individual advertiser.
Simply hover your mouse over the thumbnail image and click the X that appears in the upper-right corner. You will no longer see ads from that company.
This section has two components: About You and Your Categories. You're About You section displays the biographical information you’ve chosen to share on your profile. By default, Facebook is able to show you ads based on these fields. For example, a single person may see different ads than a married one.
Employees of a certain company may see recruiting ads from a competitor. Click on the blue toggle next to any category to prevent Facebook from showing you ads based on that information.
The toggle will slide from blue to gray to signify that it is no longer available. The Your Categories section makes visible some of the inferences Facebook has made about you and the categories of ads that might apply to you.
These range from the very specific—Parents with preschoolers 3–5 years—to the very broad— Arts, Entertainment, Sports, and Media. This is basically showing you all the buckets you fall into that advertisers might be choosing from.
If any of these categories are ones you’d rather not be part of, hover over that category and click on the X to remove yourself from it. I wouldn’t recommend spending too much time worrying about which buckets you fall into unless you are getting a type of ad that is upsetting to you for personal reasons.
For example, women who experience a miscarriage may find that they are still getting pregnancy-related ads and may be able to remove themselves from related categories here.
The first setting on this page is for Ads Based on Your Use of Websites and Apps. Facebook can choose to show you ads based on other websites you have visited. It calls these ads online interest-based advertising. You can choose to turn these ads off. Remember, this doesn’t turn ads off, it simply means you won’t see online interest-based ads.
The second setting, Ads on Apps and Websites of the Facebook Companies concerns whether your Facebook ad preferences can be used on third-party sites or apps where you have connected your Facebook account.
By default, your ad preferences can be ported over to any sites with your Facebook account the same way your profile picture and name can be used.
Ads with Your Social Actions concerns how your Facebook information may appear alongside ads on Facebook. Facebook differentiates its ads from other ads on the Internet by pointing out that their ads are “social.”
In other words, if my friend likes something, there’s a good chance I will like it, too. So in its ads, whenever possible, Facebook includes social information.
Personally, I’m comfortable with my friends seeing things that I’ve liked, or public events I’ve attended, or places I’ve checked in, being paired with an ad for that thing, event, or place. If you aren’t comfortable with this, that’s okay, too; you can prevent it from happening here.
To prevent your friends from seeing any information about you next to an advertisement, click Only My Friends on the right side of the section. Use the drop-down menu that appears (below all the text) to toggle between Only My Friends and No One.
Even if you don’t change this setting, only your Friends ever see information about you next to ads. If we’re not Friends, you’ll never see a notice that “Carolyn Abram likes this movie” next to an advertisement for a popular film.
This information, such as where you went to school or your relationship status, changes infrequently, if ever. You can edit the privacy for this content in the same place you edit the information itself.
To get there, go to your Timeline, then click on the About tab at the bottom of your cover photo. The About page has several sections, each representing a different information category. So, for example, all your work and education information appear in the Work and Education section.
When you hover your mouse over any item, a privacy icon appears signifying who can see that piece of information. By default, most of this information is set to Public and visible to Everyone, although contact information is visible only to Friends by default.
In this case, my current city in the Living section of my About page. Clicking the privacy icon to the right of the field opens an interface for editing that information as well as changing who can see it.
Use the privacy menu to change the privacy and click Save Changes when you’re done. Rinse and repeat for any other pieces of information in the About section.
Timeline information is one of the places where the Only Me setting might come in handy. For example, lots of people don’t like sharing their birthdays on Facebook, but Facebook requires you to enter a birthday when you sign up.
By making it visible only to you, it effectively hides your birthday from everyone. Click Save Changes when you’re done editing privacy settings. Otherwise, the new settings won’t stick.
Interested in privacy
On your Timeline, interests are sorted into categories like Movies, Music, Books, and so on. For your TV Shows section, for example, you can add TV shows that you’ve watched, TV shows that you want to watch, and TV shows that you like.
Each time you add a TV show to the list of shows you’ve watched or want to watch, you can also control who sees that you’ve added that show to that list. I opened this Privacy menu by clicking the privacy icon beneath the image representing the show.
Additionally, I can control who can see what TV shows I like. Unlike the Watched and Want to Watch sections, where I can edit this individually, I decide who can see all the shows I’ve liked. To edit who can see what you’ve liked, follow these steps:
1. Make sure you’re looking at the correct section on your screen. In this case, I’m looking at the TV Shows section.
2. Click the pencil icon button in the upper-right corner of the box. A menu of options related to this section appears.
3. Click Edit Privacy. A pop-up window opens.
4. In the section of the box labeled Likes, click the Privacy menu.
This opens the Privacy menu with familiar options: Public, Friends, Only Me, Custom, or More Options.
Choose whom you want to see the TV shows you have liked.
Click Close to save the changes.
Okay, that was a lot. A lot of settings, a lot of information. What if you don’t want to worry about these small settings and who tagged what when? What if you just want to make sure that your Timeline looks the way you want to your friends and that people who aren’t your friends can’t see anything you don’t want them to see?
Well, the good news is that the View As tool allows you to do just that, and the Activity Log tool allows you to keep track of everything that’s been happening recently and to make any needed adjustments without trying to figure out which setting, exactly, needs to be changed. You can also run a privacy checkup to make sure that your expectations of what your privacy has matched the reality.
To get to the View As a tool, open the Quick Help menu (the question mark icon) in the big blue bar on top of any page. Click the Privacy Shortcuts menu item.
This opens the Privacy Shortcuts menu that was covered earlier in this chapter. Click on the “Who Can See My Stuff?” section to expand the menu of options, then click the View As link.
Clicking View As brings you to your Timeline. Except, it’s probably not the way you usually see your Timeline. The black bar running across the top of the page lets you know that you’re currently viewing your Timeline as someone who is not your friend (also known as everyone in the Public bucket of people).
You can click through to the various sections of your Timeline. (Photos tends to be a section that people like to check, double-check, and triple-check.)
Note that no matter how much you’ve hidden your information and posts, everyone can see your cover photo and profile picture, gender, and current city. Anything else the public can see can be hidden if you so choose.
In the black bar on top of this view of your Timeline, there’s a white bold link labeled View as Specific Person. If you want to check on, for example, which acquaintances or people you’ve added to a list can see, click this link and enter a friend’s name into the text box that appears.
If you’re surprised by what that friend can see, you can go change the privacy on any content you don’t want her to see. (If you’ve forgotten how to change the privacy on a post, head back up to the “Privacy On the Go” section.)
As you’ve probably noticed, a lot happens on Facebook. You take all sorts of actions: liking, commenting, posting, and so on. And people take all sorts of actions that affect you: writing on your Timeline, tagging you in photos, and inviting you to join groups.
If you want to know, line by line, everything that could possibly be seen about you by someone on Facebook, Activity Log is for you. You can get to Activity Log from a few places.
You can get there from the Privacy Shortcuts menu or from your own Timeline. On your Timeline, simply click the View Activity Log button, located at the bottom right corner of your cover photo.
This takes you to Activity Log When you’re looking at Activity Log, notice that there’s a menu on the left for viewing only certain types of posts. For example, you can choose to view all the posts you’ve been tagged in, or all the photo posts, or all the app related posts.
When you’re looking at an individual line item, you see several columns of information. First is an icon and sentence explaining what you did (or what a Friend did). This might be something like “Carolyn wrote on Dana’s Timeline” or “Carolyn was tagged in Dana’s photo.”
Then there is a preview of that post, photo, comment, or whatever it is related to. For example, if you commented on a photo, the preview will show you that photo and the comment that you made.
To the right of the preview is an icon representing who can see that item. Hover your mouse over the icon to see text explaining who can see it. This might be the usual privacy options, or it might be members of a group you belong to, or in the case of a post to a Friend’s Timeline, it will be that person’s friends.
For posts that you create, you can change the audience by clicking the icon, which opens the Privacy menu.
However, you’ll find you can’t change the privacy on lots of content. For example, a comment on someone else’s post isn’t something you can change the audience for. If you realize a comment you made or something you liked is visible to more people than you’d want, your only option is to delete that content.
You can delete content using the final icon to the right side of each item in Activity Log. This little pencil icon can be found all over the site and generally indicates that you can edit something. When you hover over the icon here, it explains that the item is allowed on Timeline.
This means that people may see that item — possibly as its own post, possibly as a summarized item in recent activity, possibly in an Interests section when they visit your Timeline.
Clicking the Edit button reveals a menu of options for changing whether something appears on Timeline. For some items, such as likes or comments, the only option is to unlike the content or delete the comment.
For others, like posts you’ve made or posts you’ve been tagged in, there are more options that allow you to hide something from the Timeline or edit it on your Timeline (these are the same options that appear when you go to edit or highlight something on your Timeline).
When I say something is visible on Timeline, I also mean that your Friends might see that item in their News Feed.
Personally, I find Activity Log useful in that it helps me understand all the ways I participate on Facebook and all the things my friends might see about me and my life. But I’ve found that I don’t change the privacy or the Timeline settings on items here all that often.
Privacy Checkup is a tool Facebook built to make it easier for you to make sure that everything is on the up-and-up privacy-wise.
Especially if you’ve been using Facebook for a long time, you can start to feel uncertain about who can see what. Privacy Checkup is designed to make it easy to become certain and feel comfortable sharing.
To use Privacy Checkup, open the Quick Help menu, and click on Privacy Checkup. This opens the Privacy Checkup window, which has three sections:
Posts: The first section concerns your posts, and lets you change the default setting for who can see the posts you make.
Apps: The second section shows your apps and lets you make choices about who can see the apps you use. In other words, the same things found in the Apps section of your settings page.
Profile: The third section shows some of the contact and basic information from your Timeline, and lets you double-check who can see each piece of information. You can edit your privacy for any of this information directly from the Privacy Checkup window.
One of the hardest moments to hear about from frustrated Facebook users is when they say, “But I thought no one could see that!” Privacy Checkup is a great way to make sure that what you think matches the reality of your privacy settings.
Remembering That It Takes a Village to Raise a Facebook
Another way in which you (and every member of Facebook) contribute to keeping Facebook a safe, clean place is in the reports that you submit about spam, harassment, inappropriate content, and fake Timelines.
Almost every piece of content on Facebook can be reported. Sometimes you may need to click an Options link to find the report link.
The reporting options vary depending on what you’re reporting (a group as opposed to a photo, for example). These reports are submitted to the Facebook Help Team. The team then investigates and takes down inappropriate photos, dis-ables fake accounts, and generally strives to keep Facebook clean, safe, and inoffensive.
When you see content that you don’t like — for example, an offensive group name, hate speech, or a vulgar Timeline — don’t hesitate to report it. With the entire Facebook population working to keep Facebook free of badness, you hopefully prevent a lot of inappropriate content from disseminating too widely.
After you report something, Facebook’s Help Team evaluates it in terms of violating Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This means that pornography gets taken down, fake Timelines are disabled, and people who send spam may receive a warning or even have their account disabled.
However, sometimes something that you report may be offensive to you but doesn’t violate the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and, therefore, will remain on Facebook. Due to privacy restrictions, the Help Team may not always notify you about actions taken because of your support, but rest assured that the team handles every report.
Facebook will correspond with you about reports you make in the Support Inbox, which you can find in the Quick Help menu.
Peeking Behind the Scenes
Facebook’s part in keeping everyone safe requires a lot of manpower and technology power. The manpower involves responding to the reports that you and the rest of Facebook submit, as well as proactively going into Facebook and getting rid of content that violates the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
The technology power that I talk about is kept vague on purpose. I hope that you never think twice about the things that are happening behind the scenes to protect you from harassment, spam, and pornography.
Moreover, I hope that you’re never harassed or spammed, or accidentally happen upon a pornographic photo. But just so you know that Facebook is actively thinking about user safety and privacy, I talk about a few of the general areas where Facebook does a lot of preventive work.
In general, people under the age of 18 have special visibility and privacy rules applied to them. For example, Tag Review, which is turned off by default for adults, is turned on, by default, for minors, thus meaning minors must actively approve tags from their friends.
Other proprietary systems are in place that is alerted if a person is interacting with the Timelines of minors in ways they shouldn’t, as well as systems that get alerted when someone targets an ad to minors.
Facebook tries to prevent whatever it can, but this is where some common sense on the part of teens (and their parents) can go a long way toward preventing bad situations. You must be at least 13 years old to join Facebook.
Preventing spam and viruses
Everyone can agree that spam is one of the worst parts of the Internet, all too often sliming its way through the cracks into email and websites — and always trying to slime its way into Facebook as well, sometimes in the form of messages to you, or Timeline posts, or groups, or events masking as something they’re not to capture your precious attention.
When you report a piece of content on Facebook, “It’s spam” is usually one of the reasons you can give for reporting it. These spam reports are incredibly helpful. Facebook also has a bunch of systems that keep track of the sort of behavior that spammers tend to do.
The spam systems also keep track of those who message people too quickly, friend too many people, post a similar link in too many places, and do other such behaviors that tend to reek of spam.
If you end up really taking to this Facebook thing, at some point you may get hit with a warning to slow down your messaging. Don’t take it too personally, and just follow the instructions in the warning — this is the spam system at work.
Phishing is a term that refers to malicious websites attempting to gain sensitive information (like usernames and passwords to online accounts) by masquerading as the sites you use and trust.
Phishing is usually part of spamming: A malicious site acquires someone’s Facebook credentials and then messages all that user’s friends with a link to a phishing site that looks like Facebook and asks them to log in.
They do so, and now the bad guys have a bunch of new Facebook logins and passwords. It’s a bad cycle. The worst part is that many of these Facebook users get locked out of their own accounts and are unable to stop the spam.
Just like spam and virus prevention, Facebook has a series of proprietary systems in place to try to break this cycle. If you do have the misfortune to get phished (and it can happen to the best of us), you may run into one of the systems that Facebook uses to help people take back their Timelines and protect themselves from phishing in the future.
The best way to protect yourself from phishing is to get used to the times and places Facebook asks for your password. If you just clicked a link within Facebook and suddenly there’s a blue screen asking for your information, be suspicious! Similarly, remember that Facebook will never ask you to email it your password.
If you receive an email asking for something like that, report it as spam immediately. Also, beware of attachments from friends that you must download or strange messages from friends who don’t normally message you.
If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest scams on Facebook or want more information about protecting yourself, you can like Facebook’s Security Page at www.facebook.com/security. This provides you with ongoing information about safety and security on Facebook.
How to Create Your First Facebook Business Page
Please don’t skip this section if you already have a Facebook business page. The chances are that when you set-up your existing page, you didn’t really pay a lot of attention to what you were doing.
Facebook gives you a lot of choices when you set-up your business pages, it’s good to know what’s on offer and which things require your attention. If you missed any of the points in this section, no worries, everything can be put right retrospectively if necessary.
How to Create a New Business Page
To do this, you will need to be logged into Facebook. There are a number of ways that you can create a new business page.
First of all, you can go directly via the URL which is: Facebook
You must be logged in of course – all of your pages must be connected to a personal profile.
The other way that you can create a new business page is via your main
Facebook menu options:
Note that after you have created your first Facebook business page, you will also get the option to Manage Pages in that menu as well.
Finally, and the method that I use least frequently, is to create a page via your left-hand main menu:
All of these links lead to exactly the same place, just use the ones that suit you best.
Which Type of Business Page to Create
Whichever link that you use, you will always be taken to the standard Create a Page location:
You now get six options. It’s time to choose!
Local business or place: This is generally used by ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses. You’ll be asked to enter an address.
Company, organization or institution: This is for larger or non-location dependent businesses.
Brand or product: These pages are aimed at larger brands or specific product providers. Warning: don’t try to pass yourself off as a trademarked brand!
Artist, band or public figure: Politicians, TV celebrities or rock bands would go here. Warning: don’t impersonate!
Entertainment: This is for theatres, cinemas, TV companies and the like.
Cause or community: For fans who like a particular topic of experience. Whichever option that you choose, Facebook will sometimes re-categorize you as a cause or community anyway.
Only the first option forces you into entering a physical address, the biggest restriction of most of the others is in selecting the best of the limited category options to describe your own business.
Just choose the best one, they’re less than satisfactory, unfortunately, but everybody is stuck with the same list. Please take a moment to read Facebook’s terms before you sign up.
They’re not filled with jargon and they’re also very reasonable. But it is worth noting at this stage your obligations and responsibilities. There’s nothing nasty in there, in layman’s terms it just says ‘play fair and play nice’!
The Initial Setup Process
After you click that blue Get Started button, Facebook will present you with a number of screens prior to letting you get your hands on that brand new business page. Tell people what this page is about: This is where we set-up our Facebook SEO.
I always give small businesses this advice. If you were to search for your own business online, how would you find you?
Which words would you use to pin down what your business does and where you are?
If location is essential to your description, make sure you mention it. If you are internet based and location doesn’t matter, just describe what it is you do. People search via keywords, so make sure that you use the main ones for your business in your description BUT make sure you don’t keyword ‘stuff’.
In other words, write your description so it reads well to humans, makes sure that it includes all of your essential keywords.
Website: Make sure that you provide a link back to your main website here.
Don’t miss this step.
I need to be clear from the outset that we use Facebook to find new prospects and forge great relationships. It’s a fabulous tool for that purpose, but what if Facebook goes the way of MySpace?
Build your business on your main blog or website, use social media as a fantastic conduit to assist you in doing that.
In the meantime, make sure that prospects can get to your main website easily. Enter an address for your page: This is another opportunity for some great SEO.
Follow Facebook’s own guidance on this, but make sure that your Facebook web address identifies you well in the search engines.
My main business name is: Clixeo Ltd
My main business website is: http://clixeo.com
My Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/ClixeoUK
Note the consistency for search engine purposes, the UK in the Facebook URL is historical, it might just as well be Clixeo nowadays.
Little known trick! Did you know that you can shorten your Facebook business page URL?
Once you have confirmed a URL for your business page, you can shorten it via login or Sign Up. This is useful for calling cards or giving out your Facebook address at live events.
Take care when you set your page name, it can be changed once at a later time, with a little begging, but after that, it’s locked.
I have changed my page name, it doesn’t actually require begging, but you should think about it carefully.
If you’re not sure of the best URL just yet, click the Skip button, come back to this later.
If you are sure, fill in the information panels and click Save Info.
In the next step, you get to upload your business page image. This is sometimes referred to as your avatar.
Remember that it displays at some very small sizes across the rest of Facebook, so make sure that it is clear and easily identified.
On a business page, it’s fine to use an identifying logo to brand your posts. It’s also fine to use a professional image, if you’re a solo operator perhaps, as I am, and your face is ‘the brand’.
If you use a personal image, be sure of the following:
It’s head and shoulders only
It’s full face, not sideways (we’re building trust here!)
It’s still clear when viewed as a small image
The Facebook image size is 160x160 pixels, don’t worry too much about this as Facebook will scale it for you, I usually upload a bigger image. This is a great page showing the latest Facebook image sizes, they do change from time to time, so please be aware of that.
However, you do want the image to be centered and sharp so you may need to do some simple cropping.
To avoid the horrors of having to learn Photoshop, I’d like to recommend Pixlr at this stage: Online Photo Editor | Pixlr Editor Pixlr is a really easy – and free – editing tool, just crop your image to an aspect ratio of 160x160 pixels. Download the cropped image from Pixlr, then upload it as your avatar, it will be in the correct aspect ratio, i.e., a square.
Once you have uploaded your image, click the blue Save Photo button. In the third panel, you get to add a link to your business page to your favorites:
This is actually really handy, it means that you can easily reach your business pages from your personal profile. Just click the Add to Favourites button to do this, or you can click Skip on any of the panels.
Next Facebook encourages you to create an ad.
You’ll be promoting a horrible looking, partly completed page. Why would you want to pay to promote that?
Wait for now, until there’s something for prospects and customers to see.
You’ll just be burning your cash if you pay for advertising at this early stage.
So just click on Skip and walk away from the temptation!
Once you click that Skip button, you’ll be taken directly to your brand new business page, and Facebook will give you a quick guided tour.
It’s very useful and spots on in terms of a nice introduction. On the first stop of the tour we see the 3 tabs (plus Help) forming the top menu of your business page, but please note, you may see a menu slightly different to this depending on page type, don’t be fazed by that.
The tab labeled Activity will be joined by Insights eventually, but for now, there is no Insights data on your new business page so it doesn’t appear.
Just click Next to move on:
The next tour stop is your Like button, this is the magic button which prospects and customers click to show approval for what you do. More importantly, though, when they click ‘Like’, that activity is seen by all of their friends … and thus, your business is exposed automatically to many more people, rather than just one.
In addition to this, once somebody clicks that button, all of your future posts will show up in their News Feed. Immediately you are able to stay in touch with that person, and your interactions can be seen by their friends, spreading the word about your business virally.
All this before we even have to think about paying for advertising! Your page is not ready, don’t share it while it still looks horrible. There’s plenty of time to share, wait until the page is properly set-up, that way you can make an immediate and impressive impact.
My advice is to click Skip for now.
The next prompt shows us our headline information and page data. Nothing is going on just yet, it’s a brand new page, but as you get momentum, this window will give you a quick feel for how the week is going, without having to delve deeper into your Insights.
You can ignore it for now, but it will become more important as your page gains more and more momentum. The final panel prompts you to invite your email contacts to your page. You should skip this for now, who wants their contacts to see an unfinished page after all?
I also think that this is a bit spammy, it feels a little bit desperate to me, so I’d always prefer willing volunteers on my page rather than those who have been press-ganged. My advice is to skip this, it will feel lonely for a little while, but there are other great ways to gain that initial traction and this is not a good one in my opinion.
Just click the blue Next button and move on for now.
Incidentally, by this stage, you should have a welcome email from Facebook sitting in your Inbox:
You’ll notice that Facebook wants you to get dug in with the set-up process, it does not want you to forget or abandon your new page.
You’ll even get a prompt panel at the top of your business page to nag you into completing the most essential tasks:
Finally, we get to see our raw page, which looks completely unappealing at this stage. This is why we don’t promote it or advertise it yet, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Unpublishing your raw Business Page
I honestly don’t think that it would be a good thing to promote that page just yet, regardless of how delighted you are to have created it. My personal preference is to unpublish it for now so that only you – as the page’s administrator – can see it until it’s ready to release into the wild.
To do this, click on the Settings link in your main business page menu and – rather conveniently – Page Visibility is the first option that you see at the top of the menu of choices:
Click in the Unpublish Page checkbox.
Once you have done that, click the blue Save Changes button.
Now you can work away privately on your new business page without fear of it being found when it is only half-baked:
What We Just Did
In case you’re still struggling with the relationship between a personal profile and a business page, this is a great point at which to regroup.
If you’ve got it sorted in your mind already, feel free to move on!
We have a personal profile, on which we connect with Friends and share personal stuff – photos, gossip, news, and fun things:
We also now have a business page which is connected to our personal profile.
At the moment, only we know about that connection, nothing links our personal profile to our business page. You are linked of course because you created the page and you administrate it – but nobody else can see that. If you go to your new page and ‘Like’ it, your own friends will see that on your News Feed.
So if you want to keep it secret for now, don’t ‘Like’ it!
You may navigate to your business page at any time via the top right-hand menu.
Nobody knows you’re there, neither can they see when you’re working on it.
If you post on your personal profile, it will not be seen on your business page.
Your personal page and your business page are completely independent of each other.
The only time you make a connection is when you click that ‘Like’ button.
There is another step later on which can link you to your business page, but I’ll deal with that when we get deeper into your business page settings. It’s switched off by default, so there’s no link for now.
Remember, don’t click that ‘Like’ button and nobody will ever know you even created that page. It’s not even shown in your personal activity log, so it’s just our little secret … for now.
The Basic Anatomy of a Business Page
It’s worth establishing the basic anatomy of our business page before moving on so that you know what we’re aiming towards. You may not wish to include all of the things that you’re about to see, but it will, at least, give you a good idea what a fully developed page looks like.
I’ll use one of my own business pages to do this, and you can take a closer look at it at https://www.facebook.com/ClixeoUK
At the moment your own brand new page looks nothing like this, we have a bit of decorating to do first.
There’s a lot to look at on even the most basic business page:
1: Takes you back to your front page – or homepage – wherever else you’ve navigated to in the meantime.
2: Use this to view and manage messages to your page.
3: Your page Notifications, it’s where you’ll find Likes, Comments, Shares, Activity, and Requests.
4: Your page Insights with Likes, Reach, Page Views, Actions On Page, Posts, Videos, People.
I’ll dedicate an entire chapter to this, later on, it’s very important and very useful.
You won’t see that option on a brand new page, it appears automatically once there is enough data to show you something meaningful.
5: You can also access Publishing Tools here too, showing details of Published Posts, Scheduled Posts, Drafts, Expiring Posts, Videos and Lead Ads Forms (this is for more advanced Facebook advertising, not covered in this guide).
On the far right-hand side of our page, we can access Settings and Help. The Help menu is very straightforward, do make use of it if you get lost or stuck:
Please get used to using this, it is actually very useful, you’ll find all of the answers that you need to assist you with any business page related matters here:
Getting these settings correct will make all the difference to your business page.
Moving down your business page, here is the next set of menus. Facebook has a habit of messing around with these, so don’t be thrown out if yours looks a little different from the image below:
1: Takes you back to your Timeline/Newsfeed view, a bit like a ‘Home’ button on a regular website.
2: You need to fill in this area as fully as possible, using as many descriptive keywords as you can, to power up the SEO on your business page.
Don’t skimp here, take your time, fill it incorrectly and comprehensively. If you have a physical premise, make sure that you list by postcode so that Facebook is able to draw in an accurate Bing map of your location.
I have known businesses have to fiddle around a little sometimes to express their business address in a way that Bing Maps can locate correctly.
3: This link will vary, in the example above, mine is determined by one of the apps attached to my page. Don’t worry if yours looks different!
4: The More menu leads to your apps, videos, photos, and tabs, as well as your Notes. More on Notes later! Depending on how many extra ‘bits and pieces’ you end up adding to your page, this can become quite a long menu!
5: Your ‘Call To Action’ button. This is very important for marketing purposes.
6: Your Like button, the fabulous Facebook viral engine which will get your page seen by more and more people. Indicates that you have clicked Like and are following the page.
7: Allows page visitors to send a message to the business page administrator(s).
8: Yet another menu, allowing you to complete many page-related administrative tasks. Note that you can also use this menu to create a new business page.
9: Your business page avatar
10: Your business page banner
We also get along, right hand menu which gives us some handy tools such as ‘at a glance’ statistics for the current week (1), a ‘quick click’ timeline function to help you whizz back to older posts (2) and the constant opportunity to place an ad for your new page (3):
At the moment, the left-hand side of your new business page will be looking quite sparse, with maybe as little as People, About, Photos and Like information showing:
In a well-established business page, that left-hand area can begin to get quite busy.
On my page at https://www.facebook.com/ClixeoUK, I get more visual information about Likes and People and a nice preview of my About section.
Notice here how important it is to have your web links included and a short, informative description.
This allows prospects to get to your main website or blog easily and without friction. As you add photos (1, below) and videos (2), they will automatically populate corresponding areas on the left-hand side of your page.
You don’t tend to see many people using Notes (1, below) these days, but they’re still available and a great way of creating long-form content on Facebook.
I keep reading online articles saying that they’re going to be ‘souped-up’ in future and as a previous fan of the feature, I would welcome this. Facebook has already begun the improvement process by allowing Notes users to add large images at the top of each note and the layout has improved too.
You can also access posts to your page (2) when you have some:
Apps (1, below) are really important on Facebook, you get an area on the left-hand side giving access to just three of these.
Mine were created with my own software product, but I will demonstrate some cost-free alternatives in the later chapter dealing with Apps installation and use. In very simple term, apps allow you to add cool things to your Facebook business page and they are most often provided by 3rd parties rather than Facebook.
Facebook gives you Notes and Events as apps and that’s pretty well it.
We can also see pages which your business page has liked (2) not your personal page (gets confusing doesn’t it?) and, depending on the type of page that you created, you may also have access to reviews (3):
That’s a pretty packed page, I hope you recognize the power of these business pages already – and remember, this is all completely free of charge. Finally, we have our posting area, it works pretty well the same way as your personal Facebook profile, but you are posting as your page here, not as your personal profile.
So, to be absolutely clear about that. When I post via my personal profile, I am posting as me and I am identified by name:
When I post as my page, I am identified by company name:
Remember, I have a (different) picture of me on my business page, if I was posting as one of my other pages, which uses a graphic image, it would not show me at all. It’s your choice as to whether you use a personal photo on your business page, for Clixeo I do, for The Secret Bunker, I don’t, I use a book cover.
Either way, my business page has a life of its own, completely separate from my personal profile. It’s like having multiple identities.
You can change who – or what page – you post as at any time:
When you first create a new page, you’ll see the Joined Facebook (2) and When was this founded (3) areas. You can remove your joining date if you want to, just hover your cursor in the top right-hand corner and a small arrow will appear which lets you access the menu option:
It’s quite nice to complete the founding information I think, it lends to your business reputation and credibility. Just enter the appropriate data (1) and add a nice photo if you have one (2).
Finally, we can post on our new business page.
Even posting gives us a number of options, it’s the same principle as posting via your personal profile, some things are the same, but you get some added features too:
1: The posting area, just write a post as you normally would via your personal profile
2: Post a video or a photograph, this is the same (almost!) as in a personal profile
3: Add a photo/video to a post
4: Use emoticons to add some personality to your post, the same as with a post from your personal profile:
5: This is nice, you can add a location if you wish to:
6: Schedule a post for release at a specific time:
7: Audience Optimization: Better used with much larger audiences. This gives you the ability to target specific groups within your total audience.
8: Add Events, Offers or Milestones:
Milestones are self-explanatory, they’re easy to set-up by entering your basic milestone info (1), uploading a photograph (2) and then choosing whether or not to hide the new information from the News Feed (3).
You may also have access to Offers depending on how well established your page is and what type of page you set-up. Please note that (at the time of writing) only pages for local businesses/places with at least 50 likes can create offers on Facebook.
Offers are really nice and well worth a try, though please do check out the Terms and Advertising Guidelines before you click on that blue ‘Create Offer’ button.
Events are very easy to set-up too – they may be ‘real life’ events at premises, or online events like webinars, teleseminars or Tweet-Ups. By default, you get access to your full audience on your business page, but you can also target by age, interests, gender and so on.
In the area where you are invited to ‘Add a link for guests to get tickets’, you may wish to use a 3rd party site, such as Eventbrite, to facilitate that. Eventbrite
9: This function allows you to boost your page:
A page boost does just that, it is a paid feature, it costs very little money and it makes your post available in the feeds of people who you define in the next step:
It’s generally accepted that page boosting is not the best way to advertise on Facebook, but is has improved greatly of late and should definitely be considered now.
Until fairly recently I’d have advised you not to waste your money on page boosts, but I think as Facebook continues to improve the process, it becomes more and interesting and these days you should definitely try them.
10: Schedule, backdate or save your post as a draft Scheduling allows you to manage when posts are made live on your page. You might use this if you go away on holiday and don’t want to abandon your business page for a week or so. You may also backdate posts via a simple interface:
Creating a Banner for your Business Page
We were given the opportunity to set-up our avatar when we created our new business page, but we’re missing a really important element at the moment, and that is our banner:
Facebook has guidelines on business page banners and you should keep an eye on these, sometimes they change them and it can be a bit disruptive. For instance, they once introduced a ‘20% text’ rule, which restricted page owners from having more than 20% of their page area covered in the text.
Just try figuring that one out!
In spite of having phased out the 20% rule, it’s fair to say I think that Facebook would always prefer you not to be too sales-oriented via your page banner.
Make sure that there’s plenty of images used there, it will work better on Facebook anyway, Facebook users are there to build relationships first, the sales come further down the line.
Facebook gives plenty of information about the dimensions of your banner image and although these measurements have remained the same for some time now, Facebook does have a history of changing them. At the time of writing, cover dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels.
You have a number of choices when it comes to creating a fabulous and eye-catching banner for your business page:
1: Make it yourself
2: Pay somebody else to make it
3: Use a 3rd party tool or service to create your own
I’m going to recommend two methods of completing this task and remind you of a third tool which I have already mentioned. I’m bearing in mind that this book is aimed at small businesses and solo operators, so I’m assuming a limited budget in making these recommendations.
Firstly, if you have some basic technical or artistic skills, use Online Photo Editor | Pixlr Editor to create your own banner image. Secondly, if you don’t want to make the banner yourself, you could outsource the project.
The budget option and a highly recommended resource from my point of view is Access to This Page Has Been Blocked. You’ll be able to pick up a great banner there starting from $5 – seriously!
Have a good look around while you’re there, you can get virtually any online job that you can think of done there for $5, it’s an amazing site. Use the same due diligence as you would on a site like eBay, search out providers who have plenty of great feedback and take a close look at their portfolio first.
Payments are held in Escrow, so you don’t actually part with your money until you’re totally happy with the job. If you have a bigger budget, go somewhere like People Per Hour.
Finally, my most recommended resource across the board for social media graphics is Amazingly Simple Graphic Design Software. This is truly a remarkable site, I’ve used it with a lot of small businesses, and with course attendees of differing abilities, and even the most technically terrified love it.
Canva lets you build ready-sized social media banners and graphics, with no tech skills required, and they let you do it for free. Just a small word of caution, though, Canva does have paid for options, it will make it very clear if you need to buy a particular image or a fancy font, though.
The key point is that you definitely do not need to pay anything on Canva to make a great banner and it’s so easy, you’ll never want to stop using it once you break through the initial learning curve.
It’s very intuitive, you may not even need to look at the instructions to figure it out, but if you do need a little help, they have plenty of excellent tutorials on offer here: Graphic Design Tutorials By Canva
I’m not a designer, so I always outsource my banner graphics. If you’d like some great tips on how to create a fabulous Facebook banner, please check out this excellent article from Art and Design Inspiration.