Category Archives: Facebook Secrets

Facebook Caveats – A reminder of what you can and can’t hide

We’re still getting comments about Facebook and its arcane and obscure privacy settings. Not only are they as described, they are also well hidden. Here’s a short set of tips for you:

Things you can’t hide: 

Cover photos are all public, all the time.

Profile thumbnails are all public, all the time.

Mobile albums, the ones you upload from your mobile device, seem to default to ‘public’. You have to change the setting to something else if you don’t want these pics to be wide open to the world.

Mutual friends can’t be hidden. You can hide your complete friend list but NOT mutual friends.

While you can’t hide your ‘About’ section, you can hide virtually all of the details in it.

Summation: Three sections can’t be hidden. These are Mutual Friends, Cover Photos and Profile Photo thumbnails.

Actions you can’t hide: 

Photo likes and comments cannot be hidden. If you like Jim or Jane’s photo, everyone that can see the photo will know it. Ditto for comments. There is no way around this. Like something that isn’t under your control and everyone who can see that ‘something’ will see your like or your comment.

The act of liking a page. While you can hide the fact that you like a page, either by hiding the whole section or by quickly removing the action from your activity log, the initial like might show up somewhere. If the act of liking a page can get you into trouble, don’t like it. Read the next tip.

TIP: Facebook now tells you that “If you hide a section, individual stories can still appear on your Timeline, in News Feed and elsewhere on Facebook.” Change the word ‘section’ to just about anything that you do or share on Facebook and you’ll be well on your way to seeing that virtually nothing on Facebook is private. Even if it is private to your friends and the world at large, it is not private to employees of Facebook. OK?


If joining or starting a group will cause you problems, don’t do it. Group settings are up to the group admin and can be changed at any time. If being in a group threatens your privacy or home life, don’t join it.

The Answer to Facebook’s (Anti)-Privacy Settings: 

Start a fresh, anonymous profile, one that doesn’t reveal anything about the real you, and use it to enjoy everything you can’t hide on your real profile. Keep the new profile open in another browser and you can blithely click like or comment or post anything you want. You can relax and be your real self without harming anyone else. Go for it!

Facebook changes frequently. Keep up with these changes by Liking our Facebook page. Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook

Thanks for reading!


Summer Reruns – 10 Facebook Tips

It’s late August and very hot here in Toronto. Time for a rehash of some of our most popular Facebook posts, then we’re off to sit poolside with a cool drink and a good book. We hope your summer is going well, wherever you are.

TIP: Each link will open in a new window/tab. That way you can read the post, close the window and we’ll still here here waiting.

1. Here’s how to hide your ‘friending’ and ‘unfriending’ activity on Facebook : Hide Facebook Friend Activity

2. Lost your likes? Here’s how to get them back: Get Your Likes Back 

3. If you want a private profile on Facebook, here’s where you start: How to Hide Everything From Strangers

4.  You can’t hide everything, though. Here’s what can’t be hidden on Facebook:  What Can or Can’t be Private

5.  All about you. This post describes hiding your personal details on Facebook: Hide Everything About You

6. Does everyone need to know who your Facebook friends are? Really? :  Hide Your Friend List

7. You can’t hide your Facebook profile photo..or can you?  Hide Your Profile Photo

8. How many hidden messages do you have on Facebook? Here’s how to find out : Facebook’s Hidden Message Box

9. Tired of game updates and other Facebook ‘spam’? Get rid of the noise! How to Stop Facebook Noise

10. All about Facebook Likes. The Ultimate Facebook Likes Guide



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Summertime…and Facebooking is easy, thanks to Computers Made Simple.


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Hide Facebook Friend Activity

For some of you, Facebook is all about who is on your friend list. That’s what it’s all about, right? We’ve shown you how to keep your friend list hidden completely or partially. Today we’re going to show you how to keep your ‘friending’ activity private.

Facebook’s privacy can be divided into two sections. The first is the things you have, such as friends, photos, likes, videos, notes, etc. The second section is the things you actually do while you’re on Facebook. All of the clicking, sharing, posting and so on are actions. Here’s how to hide one of those actions, we’ll call it ‘friending’. Friending is when you add a friend to your list, obviously. Can you think of a reason why that particular activity has to be public? Why should anyone know who you just added to your list? That’s your business, isn’t it?

Steps to Hide Your Friending Activity

1. Click on your name up on the top left of any Facebook Page. This will take you to your Timeline.

2. Once your Timeline comes up, click on Activity Log.

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Start with your Activity Log.

3. The next page lists everything you’ve done lately. That’s not what we want. Look on the left middle for the word MORE. There are two but we want the top one, just under Comments. Click it.

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Click More.

4. On the longer list that opens, look for the word Friends. Click it.

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Click Friends to bring up the right page.

5. This page shows your ‘friending’ activity, adding and subtracting friends. Look up on the top right for a new icon. We’re not sure what the icon represents but click it anyway.

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What do you think this icon represents?

6. To hide your activity, uncheck everything that can be unchecked. One choice can’t be unchecked, simply because when you add a friend, you have to be able to see their profile. If that’s hidden, how would you know who your friends are?

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To hide everything you can, make sure your box looks like this.

7. Your choices in this box will only take affect from this point on, it won’t hide your past activity. For that, go down the list and choose ‘Hidden from Timeline’ for anything that you might want to hide. As you know, or as you should know, Facebook has little warnings here and there about the stuff you try to hide. Here’s what they have to say about all of this:

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A reminder from Facebook. You can hide YOUR friend list but what if your friends don’t hide theirs?


We hope we’ve given something to think about over the last two weeks. Even if you don’t agree with our suggestions on hiding everything, at least you’ll know how to help your kids, your parents, anyone who isn’t tech savvy enough to figure it out for themselves. Good luck on your journey to a more private Facebook experience.

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The Perfect Facebook Profile (Part 4) – What a secure profile looks like

We can write all kinds of posts about what your Facebook profile should look like but we think it’s better to give you an example. We’ve set up a fictitious, but active, profile that we use as a test bed for our posts. Here’s the link to it:

Our Test Profile – Meet Jean Paul Clavicle 

This is where we test our Facebook group settings, our timeline adjustments, etc. Just this morning we noticed that we can’t seem to hide the activity when we add a friend so there are still many parts of this privacy set-up to work out. In the meantime, click the link and see what you can find about this person. We think you’ll be surprised at how little information there is on that profile.

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Not much information here. Check it out.

How did we lock everything down? We started by opening one of our Facebook profiles in a different browser. If you’re using Chrome, open your own profile in Firefox. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, that you have to have two different Facebook accounts open at the same time, right? If you don’t have two Facebook profiles, we think you should make one now. That way, you can check your privacy out while you look at one profile from your other profile. Don’t add yourself as a friend, OK?

Search for your real profile in your alternative one and hit refresh every time you make a change. Continue hiding things until your real profile is the same as the one in the link above. Everything is done from your Timeline so start there. Click the various edit icons and see what you can hide. We’ve given you lots of information over the past two weeks so use our site as a guide. Remember that you have to edit just about everything, including the apps that you’ve let into your account, as well as your friends, your lists of Likes, your photo albums and so on.

Think of it this way. Let’s say you apply for a job and, as more and more companies are doing these days, the HR people decide to check out your Facebook profile to snoop on you. Is there anything on your profile that could potentially embarrass you or prevent you from getting that job? If someone is your friend, that’s one thing. If someone is a complete stranger, do you really want them to see the album from your graduation party in Key West? Put future employers into the mix and we hope you’ll see why we’re concerned about your privacy. You should be too.

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Lock up your profile and this won’t happen to you. (Photo of ex-future boss.)


Now is the time for you to ask us what things you want to hide? Our next post will explain how to hide your ‘friending’ activity. Just as no one should be able to see what friends you have, we don’t think they should be able to see when you add someone to your list. If you see something that we’ve missed, let us know in a comment below.

Thanks for reading! Facebook is always changing. Make sure you keep up to date with these changes by liking us on Facebook. Here is the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook

The Perfect Facebook Profile (Part 2) – Hide Everything About You

You’ve all heard the term ‘need to know’, right? As in, that’s all on a need to know basis. Well, Facebook loves to know all about you. That way it can streamline its ads to fit your demographic. The problem is that strangers can find all about you too. Even your friends don’t need to know everything. If some of them already have your phone number and email, why would you need to share that information on Facebook? Here’s how to hide as much as you can. Before we begin, make sure you ask yourself, “Who needs to know this?” when you’re filling in your details.

1. All of your settings for this are available from your own Timeline so click on your profile photo up on the top left of any Facebook page.

2. Once you’re on your Timeline, click on the word About.

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Click About to begin this trip to privacy.

3. On the page that opens up, you’ll see some of the details that Facebook feels you should share with the world. These include where you work, where you live, whether you are married or single or if you have a family, etc. They also want your contact information. It’s up to you, of course, but we don’t think you should just open yourself up to everyone.

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This all should be on a need to know basis.

4. For each section in this area, there is an icon on the top right that allows you to edit each of them. There are two parts to this editing. First, you can fill in the information and then you can set the audience for that information. The question you have to ask yourself is whether your friends need to know all of this or whether complete strangers need to know it.

5. If you’re unemployed and looking for work or if you’re single and looking for a partner, you might want to fill out more information. If you’re just a casual user, you don’t have to tell anyone anything much about you. Some of the stuff is harmless. Your favorite quotations or the section ‘About you’ seem harmless. You can tell jokes here, reveal some basic info but you don’t have to go overboard.  Click on the ‘See More’ words at the bottom to bring up the full section.

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This is what you see when you click the See More button.

6. When you click the Edit icon, you bring up a form with blanks that you can fill out. Each area has another icon where you can choose who you want to share these bits of information with. We like to keep most things set to ‘Only me’ while others we choose ‘Friends’.  There is nothing here that we think should be Public but that’s up to you. Set your own limits but be prepared for the consequences if you open yourself up to the world.

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Who needs to know what? We think that no one needs to know very much at all.

If you want to open your life to strangers, Facebook and friends that you don’t know very well, fine. We like to keep things private. We are what we post and share, none of this other stuff means anything. Your friends know where you are so why does Facebook need to know that?   They only want to know so that they can stream ads that you might click on. You’re nothing but a commodity to Facebook, one of millions of potential clicks on an ad, that’s all you are. Once you realize that, you’re well on the way to figuring out Facebook. Yay you!

Thanks for reading! Comments, suggestions and questions are always welcome. Hit the Like button on our Facebook page. Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook