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How Can I Make Sure Only Certain People See My Twitter and Facebook Information?

March 28, 2009

in Internet,privacy & security,social networking

by Tina Gasperson

Social networking is fun, but you have to be careful about monitoring your privacy in online communities and behaving accordingly. Otherwise the whole world might see you with the cyber-equivalent of a lampshade on your head at the company Christmas party. Either watch what you type, or make sure your privacy settings are set to prevent anyone you don’t want nosing in your personal business from doing so.

On Twitter, the default state is that anyone with an online browser can see your Tweets by visiting, even if you don’t have any followers. You might think that no one really cares what you’re typing and even if they did, they wouldn’t see since there are million of people using Twitter and finding your Tweets would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. But that’s not the case. Tweets get archived just like any other Web page and they are searchable through Google, Yahoo!, or any other search engine. The only way to prevent non-followers from seeing your Tweets is to set them to “protected” status. To do this, log in to your profile at Click “Settings,” and check the box next to “Protect my updates.” Now only your approved followers can see your updates.

Facebook privacy settings

Facebook privacy settings

Facebook can get you in trouble too, if you’re not careful. To make your profile visible only by your approved friends, log in to Facebook, hover your cursor over “Settings” and click on “Privacy Settings” when it appears. Facebook gives you very detailed privacy options, so go through each section and tailor your settings to your liking. For example, you can set your profile page to be seen only by your friends, or by everyone, or even by friends of friends. Within your profile page you have contact information, personal and work information, and other types of information, and each of these can be set to varying levels of privacy. With Facebook, you can even upload pictures and set them to be viewable only by you. Of course, no privacy filter is completely unbreakable, so you should never share your deepest darkest secrets online — keep those to yourself.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.