Securing Facebook Privacy for Professional Success

Love it or hate it, it cannot be denied that the social networking site Facebook is ubiquitous; the company boasts of over 2 billion monthly users worldwide, including 1.43 billion that access the service daily (Noyes, 2018).   Per Osman (2018), users spend an average of 35 minutes on Facebook each day.  Furthermore, they are quite active: every 60 seconds on Facebook there are 317,000 status updates, 400 new users, 147,000 photos uploaded, and 54,000 shared links (Osman, 2018).  Perhaps most impressively, Facebook’s own research has determined that everyone is no more than 3.5 degrees separated – literally bringing the world closer together (Osman, 2018).

For a professional and/or job seeker, this last statistic may inspire thoughts of grandeur over the networking and marketing possibilities that this level of connectivity facilitates.  Alternatively, it may inspire dread; the internet is full of stories of people whose careers were ruined due to irresponsible, insensitive, racist, or otherwise ill-advised postings and comments on Facebook and other social media platforms.  In order to maximize the networking potential of Facebook while minimizing the risk, it is incumbent upon a professional user to both be intentional about what they post and to adjust their security/privacy settings to protect their online presence from the actions of others.  The following are suggested security and privacy settings to implement to help keep you protected.

First, assess your current privacy settings.  To do so, log into your account, click on the arrow beside the question mark icon in the top menu bar, and click ‘Settings’.  Here, you can make some immediate fixes to improve your privacy.

  • Set “Who can see your future posts?” to ‘Friends’
  • Set “Who can look you up using the email address you provided?” to ‘Friends’
  • Set “Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?” to ‘Friends’

Next, adjust you Timeline and Tagging settings.  While still on the ‘Privacy’ page, click on ‘Timeline and Tagging’ in the left menu.

  • Set “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” to ‘On’
  • Set “Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline?” to ‘Friends’
  • Set “Who can see what others post on your timeline?” to ‘Friends’ or ‘Only Me’
  • Set “Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?” to ‘On’

Finally, review what your profile looks like when someone who you are not yet connected to views it.  Go to your profile.  Click on the ellipses (…) besides the ‘View Activity Log’ button.  Click on ‘View As…’.  You are now seeing what the public sees when they view your Facebook profile.  Go through your feed and assess what needs to be hidden or removed.

By controlling what is shared and who has access to your content, a professional can more effectively take control of their digital footprint and prevent unnecessary or potentially damaging information from being shared while enjoying the powerful capabilities for networking that Facebook makes possible.


Noyes, D. (2018, April 25).  The top 20 valuable facebook statistics -upated april 2018.  Retrieved from

Osman, M. (2018, Feb 18).  28 powerful facebook stats that your brand can’t ignore in 2018.  Retrieved from

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