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5 privacy fixes your Facebook News Feed needs by New Year's

Caitlin McGarry | Dec. 9, 2014
Facebook's privacy settings are a labyrinth of information. Here's what you need to know.

Cover your tracks
To prevent Facebook from following you around the web and marketing to you based on your activity on other sites, you'll need to opt out of tracking cookies with the Digital Advertising Alliance. It takes a second for the DAA to submit your requests with the slew of companies who want to track you, and you'll have to do it for each browser you use. Once you're done, Facebook will recognize the opt-out across all your desktop and mobile web activity. There are also settings within iOS and Android you can toggle on to limit ad targeting for an extra boost.

You get the last word
Do your friends and family like to tag you in posts and photos you'd rather not appear on your Timeline? Instead of retroactively untagging yourself, use my personal favorite privacy tool: Timeline Review. It's a little tough to find, but once you turn it on, you'll have complete control over what appears on your page. Follow these steps to activate Timeline Review on your home computer: Settings > Timeline and Tagging > Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline? > Edit > Enabled.

Yeah, it's not exactly simple, but once you turn on Timeline Review, posts and photos you're tagged in will go into a queue for you to review. You can either approve a post to appear on your page or banish it. If you leave items in the queue, they'll languish there and won't be visible to your friends.

A better News Feed
The biggest complaint about Facebook that I hear from friends, family, and people on the Internet is one even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledges: The News Feed algorithm withholds some content you might actually want to see. But there are a few tricks to seeing all updates from your preferred pages and friends. If you add people to a Close Friends list, Facebook's algorithm will recognize that you want to see more from those users. In your News Feed, tap on Friends > More > Close Friends > Add Close Friends. Once your list is filled out, you can choose to receive notifications every time those chosen few post.

Facebook has been cracking down on pages spamming News Feeds with useless links and photos, which is mostly a good thing. But what if you want to read updates from your favorite local businesses or find out about deals from retailers? Well, you'll need to take action. First, like the pages you want to appear in your News Feed. There's an arrow next to the Like button you can tap on a page to see more options. Select "Get notifications." Facebook will tell you when that page posts something, even if it doesn't appear in your feed.

These steps will take some time to work through, but once you're done, your News Feed will be a slightly less annoying place. (But not perfect: I'm not a miracle worker.)


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