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3 privacy settings to tweak before Facebook search rolls out

  • Facebook Graph Search 3.jpg

    Jan. 15, 2013: A new search function announced Tuesday by Facebook allows users to sift through the social network for information about friends and contacts. (Facebook)

  • Facebook Graph Search 2.jpg

    Jan. 15, 2013: A new search function announced Tuesday by Facebook allows users to sift through the social network for information about friends and contacts. (Facebook)

Tweaking your Activity Log just became a necessary and tedious new part of being a Facebook user. 

Thanks to the social network's new Graph Search feature, all that profile info you've painstakingly updated over the years (employer, home town, relationship status, movie likes, etc) and all the photos you've added over time, are now to become data in a database of the social network's trillion connections between a billion users. 

Before Facebook rolls out this new search engine to the masses, it is rolling it out in a very limited beta to select users. And while those guinea pigs test it out, the rest of us will have the chance to tweak a few things to ensure that our dirty laundry isn't so easily accessible. Granted, all this data has been available to our friends forever. We put it out there for them to see. All Facebook is doing is indexing that info for our friends, and friends of friends. No new data is being added and the general public won't have access to the name of your mother or the college you attended.

But, if you would rather not have your friends of friends be able to search for "single women in New York from Kansas who like big bang theory" and come up with your name, you'll want to take a closer look at your profile. 

First off, you might want to limit who can search for you in Facebook. To stop friends of friends from seeking you out:

  1. Click the lock icon on the top right of your profile. 
  2. Click Edit next to "Who can look up your timeline by name".
  3. Select Friends from the drop-down menu that appears. 
  4. Click Close.

Next up, it's time to check out your Activity Log and make sure you're happy about all those photos your friends have tagged you in, the likes you've shared and the places you've checked in. The tedious part here is that you'll need to review every item ever entered on your timeline. So, settle in, cause this could take a while. 

  1. Click the lock icon on the top right of your profile. 
  2. Click Use Activity Log next to "Review all your posts and things you're tagged in". 
  3. Click on the icon of two people's heads to the right of any post, like, tag, comment, photo, etc. that you'd prefer to limit visibility. 
  4. Click Report/Remove Tag (in the event of a photo; language changes depending on type of entry).
  5. Select "I want this photo removed from Facebook."
  6. Click Continue. A message will be sent to the person who posted that item, assuming it's not you, requesting that they remove it. 

The way Facebook work's its privacy settings these days, you automatically limit future posts to just Friends. But, you may not have the same settings on your past post. To lock out friends of friends from your frat party pictures, you'll need to: 

  1. Click the lock icon on the top right of your profile. 
  2. Click Limit Past Posts next to "Limit the audience for old posts on your timeline".
  3. Click Limit Old Posts. Note, this step cannot be easily undone, per a warning pop-up.