Over the Christmas break, there was a story about Randi Zuckerberg which you might have missed. She uploaded a photo to share with her Facebook friends (not publicly visible), showing the Zuckerberg family using the then newly released Poke app. She tagged in the various people in her photo….. and without realising it, she inadvertently shared her private Facebook photo with 40,000 others.

How? Well, it might surprise many of you that when you tag a friend on Facebook, all their friends can see that post/photo/check in as well. So you are sharing the photo or post with a much wider audience than you planned, and many who you may not know at all. For example, you might have a lovely photo of your kids having a laugh in the bath. If you tag in your partner, your other family members and your ante natal group (just so they all are notified of the photo) then potentially all their friends may be able to see the photo of your kids in the bath – and that might not be OK.

In Randi’s case, one of the group in the photo was also Facebook friends with a journalist – who took the photo and shared it on Twitter. Boom. Suddenly it was public property.

If you don’t want this happening to you – or perhaps you just don’t want your friends seeing posts you are tagged in until after you have seen them yourself – then the good news is that there is a Facebook Privacy setting exactly for this. It is called Timeline Review. Here is the how-to from Facebook Help.

What is timeline review?

Posts you’re tagged in can appear in news feed, search and other places on Facebook. Timeline review is part of your activity log and lets you choose whether these posts also appear on your timeline.

When people you’re not friends with tag you in a post, they automatically go to timeline review. If you would also like to review tags by friends, you can turn on timeline review for tags from anyone:

  1. Click  at the top right of any Facebook page and select Account Settings
  2. In the left-hand column, click Timeline and Tagging
  3. Look for the setting Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline? and click Edit to the far right
  4. Select Enabled from the dropdown menu

You can also adjust this setting from your privacy shortcuts by clicking  at the top of any page.

Here is a screengrab of the settings screen where you elect if you want to review tags before they are published to your timeline, and also who can see the tagged items once they are published.

Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 10.50.29 PM

Facebook changes the privacy settings all the time, and if even Mark Zuckerberg’s sister – who used to work at Facebook – is confused, then that shows that it pays to check the settings regularly.

Here is a post from June 2012 that might also be handy:  3 Simple Checks To Protect Your Facebook Privacy