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iPad, iPhone, IT, Security, Social

Facebook: Keeping your timeline clean for your Friends

Prompted from a recent post on a friend’s Facebook Timeline I thought I’d review how you can ensure your Timeline is “Clean” and without clutter for your Friends to enjoy.
Primarily, this means ensuring your FB apps and linked websites aren’t sending rubbish to your friends constantly.
Every time you register a new App it gets some permissions. One of these is likely to be to post on your behalf to your timeline.
This is a quick tutorial on how to allow these Apps to work but hide the posts form your Friends.

Facebook on iOS:

If you have been reading this blog for a while you’ll know I like iPads and iPhones. So I’m concentrating on those for this tutorial.
The Android and Web Apps have similar functionality.
I just find iOS easier to play with.

Finding the Privacy Settings:

Like all Settings pages, this is a little hidden away.
Load up Facebook and there is a “Menu” button on the top left, highlighted here in a red square.
Now you can see all you most common Groups, the Sponsored App and “installed” Apps. this menu scrolls with a finger swipe up.
Now you can see the various Facebook Options. The one we are interested in is “Privacy Settings“. Tap this one.
Now you have access to many settings in Facebook. Because we are wanting to make our Timeline “Clean” we need to look at “Apps“.
Finally, we are at the list of Apps that have access to your Facebook account. Although you can change or remove many of the permissions these apps have on your account from this page, we are concentrating on how to restrict the visibility of the posts they generate, either automatically or when you request them to.
You can see that they are categorised by what visibility they currently enjoy.
The default options are:

  • Sharing with Public
  • Sharing with Friends
  • Sharing with Only Me
  • Sharing with Custom

Note that Sharing with “Friends of Friends” is not in that list.. For some reason that counts as “Custom“, as does “Friends except Acquaintances“. Curious.
Select an App you want to change.
Now lots of options appear. We want to change the visibility of the posts from this App so we select “Posts on my behalf to:“.
Ah! Now we haver options for “Friends of Friends” and “Friends except Acquaintances“.
Simply select “Only Me“. From that point forward they will appear on your Timeline but be visible only to you.
Note that the real “Custom” option only appears if you have set his via a PC Web Browser. This is a limitation in the iOS app for Facebook.
Also, you cannot alter what is meant by “Custom” from here.

To stop editing permission/settings and return to the main Facebook page, simply click the “Back” arrow at the top left.

Limitations and notes:

  1. Previous posts by the App are unaffected and remain visible to the groups active at the time of posting (you’ll have to find every one of them and change it manually)
  2. Alas, the FB Message menu (chat) on the right stays there permanently, limiting the screen space available. Minor quibble.
  3. The real “Custom” option is not available unless the App currently has that set.
  4. The real “Custom” option is not configurable or visible. To do that you’ll need to be on a full web browser on a PC.
  5. You can prevent the App from posting completely (by removing the “Post on your behalf” permission) but this very often prevents the application working or forces it to generate an annoying number of errors.

About harlekwinblog

"Thoughts of an idle mind." Information Security professional.


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