I know that many of my friends take their Facebook privacy very seriously, and lock it down for everyone but friends. I do too, but today I discovered a ‘new’ (to me at least) privacy loophole. You may know that your profile picture and cover photo are visible to the public by default. Anyone searching for “Doug Sillars” is able to my profile and cover picture (currently a selfie of myself and my spouse – and a beach picture).
What I did not realize is that all of my OLD profile and cover pictures are also still visible to the general public. I’ll walk you through the steps to see if you are also affected by this issue, and then how to fix it.
First. How do I see if my old profile and cover photos are visible to all??
1. Click the little “lock” widget on the top of your Facebook page. This will open a drop down. Click “Who can see my stuff?”
2. This will expand the menu to look like this:
3. Click the “what do other people see on my Timeline “view as” This will now open your Facebook page as the general public might see it. See the black bar across the top in the image below? You can see this view is the public view of my Facebook profile.
Now – are your photos exposed? Click the photos button (3rd link below your name).
Whoops! I have old cover photos that the general public can see! You can see the beach scene at the top left (my current cover photo) that MUST be public, but additionally a night scene, a dog picture and a goat. I want to hide these.
If you only have a few pictures, follow these steps:
1. Click an image from this page.
2. In the upper right hand corner, you’ll see your name, the date the photo was added, and a little globe. That little globe means “Public.” Click the globe:
3. Change to the setting you’d like (I chose Friends for mine).
4. Close the photo
5. Repeat for all photos.
If you have a lot of photos, this procedure will really be a pain in the rear. So, follow these steps instead:
1. From the public profile view described above: hover over an image. You’ll see the folder name appear (in this case, over the night scene, you’ll see “Cover photos.”) Click this link.
2. Now you will find yourself on a screen with all of your cover photos (You have left the “view as public” settings in Facebook). Remember that the first photo (in this case the beach) is my current cover pic, and must be visible by others. The rest – not so much. You have to change these manually. So click the 2nd image.
3. Now you are looking at the night scene photo. Change the privacy as you see fit:
4. Move your pointer over the image. You’ll see the arrows appear,and the “right” arrow is default:
5. click the picture. this will advance you to your next cover photo.
6. Repeat Steps 3-5 for all of your Cover photos.
You will have to do this for every album that has publicly visible images. In my case, Cover Photos, Profile Pictures, and somehow, a few “Mobile Uploads.” After you complete each album (it is a pain), make sure you go back to the “general public view” and ensure that the images are all indeed gone, and you did not miss any.
I hope you found this useful.