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How to change your Facebook privacy settings

What you can do to limit your personal data being shared by Facebook.

Last updated: 16 August 2018


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.


Block apps and websites from using your data

You may be taking a mental tally of all the Facebook apps you've clicked Accept to, or the websites you've signed in to using your Facebook account. The good news is Facebook has begun limiting who can use your data.

If you haven't used an app for more than 90 days, Facebook now considers any permissions you gave to have expired. If you still want to see and control which apps have access, follow these steps:

1) In the top right-hand corner of the web or mobile app, click the dropdown icon. Then click Settings.

2) On the left, select Apps and websites. From this screen you can view your Active, Expired and Removed apps.

  • Active apps and websites are ones you've logged into within the last 90 days. These can still request from Facebook the information you agreed to share with them when signing up.
  • Expired apps and websites are also ones you've logged into with Facebook, but haven't used for more than 90 days. They still have access to data you've previously shared with them, but they can't make new requests unless you use them again.
  • Removed apps and websites are ones you've removed from your account since 2015.

Block advertisers from using your data

You can stop Facebook providing your data to advertisers directly.

1) Go to Settings via the dropdown icon in the top right.

2) Select Ads on the left.

3) Open the Your information tab and manage settings that share your relationship status, job title, education and interests.

4) Open the Ad settings tab and set those options to Allowed or Not allowed, depending on preference. You can also temporarily disable specific ad topics via the Hide ad topics tab.

Alternatively, you can go to the Your interests tab and make advertisements more relevant to you by pruning topics you don't like.


Location history

You may have given Facebook permission to track your location.

1) Go to Settings, then Location.

2) Enter your password to view your location history. 

According to Facebook, your location history is private and can be deleted at any time. You can also delete individual days.


Timeline and tagging

You can restrict whether content you've been tagged in turns up on your timeline without your permission. This isn't something that will change what data can be collected about you by apps and advertisers, but it's an easy way to keep unwanted tags being made public or visible to your friends list.

1) In the Review section, turn on Review posts that you're tagged in before they appear on your timeline.

2) Do the same for Review tags that people add to your posts before the tags appear on Facebook.

3) You can also click View as to see your profile as a stranger would. This helps you see any information you've made public that you'd rather not.

Keep in mind that reviewing all tags will increase the amount of hands-on attention your Facebook profile requires, as you'll need to give the OK before things become visible.

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.