You could fill a library with all the possible settings to adjust, but there are a few major ones everyone should deal with. Assume they all see whatever you put online and act accordingly. But then follow these steps to lock down your Facebook account.

To be clear, Facebook’s entire goal is to nab as much info about you as possible, and makes locking things down tricky:

It changes its privacy policy often, by default, leaves crucial settings at their most open and happily uses tracking cookies (among other technology) to gather your data and infiltrate your every move. One especially insidious tidbit:

Simply visiting any website that has a Facebook Like button on it — you know, virtually every site now — sends an identifiable ping back to the company’s servers, no matter whether you click it or not, or even have a Facebook account, for that matter.

Here are 5 steps to protect your privacy on Facebook:

 

  • 1

    Stop Facebook Cookies From Following You

    Even if you log out of Facebook, it will still track your web browsing until you quit your browser. Make sure you're completely logged out after you're done using Facebook.

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  • 2

    Limit Access to Your Old Status Updates

    There’s no reason the whole world needs to know you had tacos for lunch in September 2010.

    • Click Privacy Settings > Limit Past Posts next to “Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public?” This will convert all your old posts to be viewable only by your friends (instead of the public).
    • Click Limit Old Posts, then click Confirm. Note: This is a difficult setting to undo, as you’ll have to go post-by-post to change this setting later.
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  • 3

    Stop People From Tagging You

    Tired of manually untagging yourself from questionably appropriate photos?

    • Click Timeline And Tagging under the Privacy tab.
    • Set the dropdowns for “Who can add things to my timeline?,” “Who can see things on my timeline?” and “How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?” to Friends.
    • Toggle “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?” to no one.
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  • 4

    Prevent Friends From Taking Your Info via Apps

    When your friends go into “Farmville” or “Words With Friends” through Facebook, they currently take your data.

    • Click Privacy Settings.
    • Click Apps from the left-hand menu.
    • Select Edit next to Apps Others Use.
    • Check boxes to determine what info you want shared when other people use apps. There are 17 options that vary from Birthday to If you're online.
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  • 5

    Stop Broadcasting Your Web Activity Everywhere

    If you find it creepy that your friends visiting Yelp know where you’ve been eating, turn off the personalization.

    • Click Privacy Settings.
    • Click Apps from the left-hand menu.
    • Click Edit next to the Instant Personalization tab.
    • Uncheck the box next to “Enable instant personalization on partner websites.”
    • Click Confirm.
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