22 October 2013

Facebook has recently removed one of its older privacy settings which prevented people from looking up your Timeline by name using the site's search functionality.

It now recommends that you use the privacy settings that apply to your individual posts.

You can check the default privacy setting for your individual posts in your privacy settings under ‘Who can see my stuff?’.

About Facebook privacy

Facebook provides simple options to manage your privacy. It is not difficult to do and only takes a minute. The small padlock icon near the search bar takes you to your privacy options.
Some of the information you will see circulating online about Facebook and privacy can be incorrect or based on rumours. Some of it is actually little more than spam.

Facebook publishes information about changes on its news feeds, and this includes sections dedicated to security and privacy where you can learn more.

About the change

Before this change, Facebook permitted you to control who could see your Timeline with one setting that applied to your entire Timeline. Facebook has recently introduced alternative ways for people to find you, and with it, more granular control over what you share.

Facebook states that if you are still using the old setting, you will see a notice on your homepage advising you of the changes.

No privacy settings for individual posts have been affected.

Editing privacy settings on Facebook

You can customise the individual privacy settings on your posts by clicking the drop down box that appears next to the ‘Post’ button when editing a new status.

Facebook privacy settings can also be found at: https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy We recommend you set ‘Who can see your future posts?’ to be ‘Friends’ by default.

Facebook has also recently stated that teens (13-17 years old) will have ‘Who can see your future posts?’ set to ‘Friends’ as the default option.

You can review all of your previous posts by clicking on the ‘Use Activity Log’ button on the same page.

You can also set the ‘Limit Past Posts’ option to control the privacy setting for all of your past messages. If you are unsure of what information you might have publicly displayed in the past, we recommend you choose ‘Limit Past Posts’, then, ‘Limit Old Posts’. This means that only friends can view your past posts on Facebook.

More information

The Australian Government's Easy Guide to Socialising Online is a great resource for learning how you can protect your family and your information when using social networking sites, search engines and online games.

See Facebook’s blog post about the change.

Stay Smart Online has more information on protecting your identity and privacy online and safe use of social networking.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.


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This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.


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