How to Lock Down Your Social Profiles

How to Lock Down Your Social Profile for College Students

Over the past decade, online privacy, once an expected right, has been dwindling faster than you can shout out, “Tag me in that!” With friends posting less-than-professional photos on Instagram and Twitter updates sent when you’re not in the best mindset, the old adage of “what happens in college, stays in college” no longer applies. To keep your put your most polished foot forward, adhere to the following social media tips.


For the king of social media (and likely the first profile an employer will check), you’ll need to lock down a few settings to stay secure. First, head to the main Privacy Settings and Tools page to limit who can see your posts, contact you, or look you up.

1. Who can see my stuff?

The first setting concerns who can see your future posts. The options are Public, Friends, Only Me, or Custom, where you can specific friends or groups. If you want to stay private, limit this to Friends, but if you have a lot of Facebook “friends” you don’t even know, you may want to create a custom list of friends you trust and want to share with.

Limiting past posts makes previous public posts available only to friends, which we’d recommend.

2. Who can contact me?

The option for friend requests isn’t too flexible, with Facebook only allowing you to limit requests to only Friends of Friends. Otherwise, everyone is able to send you requests.

3. Who can look me up?

You can limit how people look you up by not allowing the public to search Facebook with your email address or phone number. Since employers you’re interested in likely have access to this information, it’d be beneficial to keep this to Friends or maybe Friends of Friends.

The setting that asks if you’d like search engines to link to your timeline is an important one. To prevent your Facebook timeline to come up when your name is searched for, you’ll need to uncheck this box.

Don’t think you’re off scot-free if you’ve fixed the above settings! There are more important ones hiding in the Timeline and Tagging Settings. Here are the important ones to review:

4. Who can add things to my timeline?

To prevent tagged photos appearing in your timeline, enable the review setting so that every post you’re tagged in will need to be reviewed before appearing in your own timeline.

Note: Posts you’re tagged in can still appear in search, news feed, and other places on Facebook. To untag yourself completely, you’ll need to head to your Photos under activity log and select the photos you want to remove tags from. After choosing, click “Report/Remove Tags” at the top of the page, and click “Untag Photos” to confirm

You can also restrict who is able to post on your timeline, cutting down the chances of a not so savory comment being posted without your consent.

5. Who can see things on my timeline?

If you’ve already changed the setting above for hiding future posts, you’ll still need to change this so employers don’t see things that other people besides yourself post on your timeline.


Compare to Facebook, Twitter is a breeze to lockdown. Just head to Security settings, and check off “Protect my Tweets.” This way, followers have to request following you before seeing your tweets instead of openly tweeting for all of Twitterverse to see.

Another safety setting you may want to make sure is unchecked is “Add a location to my Tweets.” This setting can help prevent employers and general creeps alike from finding out your location when tweeting. No one really needs to know exactly where you are when raving about the latest episode of Scandal.


Making your Instagram private is another easy fix that can prevent you from trying to explain an embarrassing photo in your interview. Simply go to your profile and tap “Edit Your Profile.” There, next to “Posts Are Private,” either toggle the switch to On or check the box. The feature depends on whether you’re on an Apple device or an Android/Windows phone.

Similar to Twitter, Instagram also has a Photo Map where users are able to see the exact location where you posted the photo. To turn this off, simply make sure the option is not checked when adding a photo to Instagram.

Now that your social media accounts are secure, you’re one step closer to acing that interview!

This article was written by Erica Moss, Community Manager for Semester Online. Learn more about their courses for college credit from top university partners at the Semester Online site.