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Safety Planning

Safety While Using Social Media

June 7, 2013

How do I prevent someone from seeing my Facebook profile?

If you have a Facebook profile and you do not want someone who is abusing or harassing you to be able to see your profile, there are a few ways to try to accomplish this: “unfriending” someone, blocking and/or reporting the person, or limiting what that person can view on your profile.

First, if you are already “Facebook friends” with the person, you can “unfriend” the person. If you “unfriend” the person, Facebook does not send a notification of this action to the person but if s/he checks your profile, s/he will probably realize you two are not “friends” anymore since s/he will only see the basics of your profile (i.e., just your photo, your city, etc.). To “unfriend” someone, hover the cursor over the person’s name if s/he has posted on your page, then click on the word “Friends” that appears - from there, scroll down to click “unfriend.” If the person’s name does not appear on your page, you can search for the person and hover the cursor over the word “Friends” that appears at the top of the screen on that person’s Facebook profile - from there, scroll down to click “unfriend.”

To “block” someone means that s/he cannot see any of your activity on Facebook, including your profile or things you write on other people’s walls. To “block” someone, click at the top right of any Facebook page on the lock icon. Click “How do I stop someone from bothering me?” Enter the name or email address of the person you want to block and click “Block.”

However, if you believe it would be unsafe for you if the abuser knows that you blocked or unfriended him/her, you may instead choose to keep the person as a “friend” but limit the amount of information s/he can see on your profile. You can go to your Settings by clicking on the top right of your Facebook page. From there, you can indicate what information would be shown to specific people, which can allow you to keep certain information private possibly without the person realizing that you are limiting his/her access to your profile.

To limit who can find you through Facebook searches, you may set search settings to “Friends” instead of the default “Friends of Friends.” You can change the search settings by selecting the arrow icon at the top right-hand corner of your Facebook page. In the drop-down menu, select “Settings,” then click on the “Privacy” link. On the privacy page go to the section called “Who can look me up?” Use the “Edit” button at the far right to change it to “Friends.” This way, even if the person you wish to block is still “friends” with some of your friends, your online profile will not be searchable by the person so s/he cannot find you after you have unfriended him/her.

Note: This information is current as of March 2016. Due to the continuous changes in Facebook privacy settings, the specifics of these functions are frequently changing. If you want to learn more about how to do the actions described above, you can go to the Facebook Privacy Center.