“Mirror, mirror on the (Facebook) Wall – who can see everything about me most of all?”
Have you ever wished for the ability to look into the mirror, and see yourself the way that others see you? Well on Facebook, you can! Here’s how to check what your Facebook profile (also called your Timeline) looks like when others view it. This is an easy way to make sure that your Facebook privacy settings are doing their job.
[Instructions updated January 2013 and again May 2015]
View your Timeline as someone else
1. Click on your name to get to your Timeline, otherwise known as your profile page.
2. Towards the right of your large cover photo, you’ll see a few buttons – Update Info, View Activity Log, and three little dots. Click the dots and choose “View As….”
Or, you can use the Privacy Shortcut button near the top right, as shown here. Choose “Who can see my stuff?” And then “What do other people see on my timeline?”
3. You’ll now see your timeline as if you were a member of the “Public”. In this case public means someone who is logged into Facebook who is not your friend or otherwise associated with you.
If you’ve set privacy settings judiciously there should not be much shown here. (If you see more information here than you are comfortable with, go back to your Timeline, click Update Info and then edit the privacy settings for any portion of your profile.)
4. Now click “View as Specific Person”. Once you start typing a name, you can choose from the names as they appear. Then you’ll scroll down to see what your friend would see when viewing your timeline.
Why preview your Facebook profile or Timeline?
With all the changes Facebook makes, reviewing your privacy settings on a regular basis is a good idea. Some of the changes might expose information that you thought had been private. You can control who can see the information you choose to share. For example you can set up a Friends List, add friends to the list, and then use that list to restrict those friends from certain content. So to make sure the privacy settings are working, preview your Facebook timeline as someone else from time to time.