Getting Started with Facebook

Download these instructions in PDF format

How to get a Facebook account

There are some good resources, both video and text, at the Goodwill Community Foundation (GCFGlobal) that will help you get started.

Start at for the table of contents for Facebook information. This page, and the pages it links to, have links to some great videos as well.

Note that some of the illustrations and settings here are a few years old and Facebook looks slightly different now. The recommended settings below have been compiled using the current version of Facebook.

Facebook privacy settings

Facebook doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to your privacy. However, there are tools in the settings that can give you reasonable control over your privacy and allow you to enjoy this social connection with few worries.

Here are some recommendations as at April 2020.

Settings – General

Memorialization Settings – Your Legacy Contact

Add a legacy contact.

Your legacy contact is someone who can look after your account after you pass away. They’ll be able to:

  • Manage tribute posts on your profile, which includes deciding who can post and who can see posts, deleting posts, and removing tags.
  • Request the removal of your account
  • Respond to new friend requests
  • Update your profile picture and cover photo

Your legacy contact can only manage posts made after you’ve passed away. They won’t be able to post as you or see your messages.

Recommended Settings – Security and Login

  • Login password: Make sure you use a strong password since Facebook may end up containing a lot of personal information. Your password should be: unique – not used for any other service at least 12 characters, longer is better either a ‘random’ looking password or a set of 3 or 4 unrelated, uncommon words (along the lines of ‘correct battery horse staple’ but not that one!) include upper and lower case, numbers and ‘special’ characters.
  • Two-factor authentication: This is strongly recommended to avoid hackers getting access to your account if your password is stolen. You can use an authentication app or an SMS on your phone.
  • Extra Security: It is also a good idea to get alerts about unrecognized logins.

Recommended Settings – Privacy

Section: Your Activity

  • Who can see your future posts?: Friends

Section: How People Find and Contact You

  • Who can send you friend requests?: Friends of Friends
  • Who can see your friends list?: Only me
  • Who can look you up using the email address you provided?: Friends or Only me
  • Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?: Friends or Only me
  • Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?: No

Recommended Settings – Timeline and Tagging

Section: Timeline

  • Who can post on your timeline?: Friends
  • Who can see what others post on your timeline?: Friends

Section: Tagging

  • Who can see posts you’re tagged in on your timeline?: Friends
  • When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience of the post if they can’t already see it?: Only me

Section: Review

  • Review posts you’re tagged in before the post appears on your timeline?: On
  • Review tags people add to your posts before the tags appear on Facebook?: On

Settings – Location

Location history – Turn off

Settings – Face Recognition

Face Recognition – Turn off

Settings – Pubic Posts

Who can follow me – Friends

Settings – Apps and Websites

These are apps and websites you’ve used Facebook to log into. Recommended – Avoid using your Facebook, Google or other account to login to apps or websites as it is a security risk.

Settings – Instant Games

These are Instant Games you’ve played on Facebook or Messenger. Recommended – Avoid playing instant games or quizzes. They can take your information and also that of your friends and on-sell them to advertisers and scammers. Additionally, Facebook quizzes may lead you to a website with dangerous downloads, or have malicious links and possible viruses included in the questions. See:

Finally, think before you post!

Be particularly careful posting information that could compromise the security of you and others, including:

  • dates of birth
  • your address or your current location
  • information about your daily routine
  • holiday plans
  • your grandchildren’s schools
  • photos of you or your family and friends – and always seek permission before posting a picture of someone else, particularly children.

Further information

Andy O’Donnell (February 2020) ‘5 Things You Should Never Post on Facebook’ Lifewire (

Andy O’Donnell (February 2020) ‘10 Things You Should Never Post on Social Networks’ Lifewire (

Jack Schofield (March 2019) ‘Is there a way to use Facebook without giving up my privacy?’ The Guardian (

Linda Geddes (Sept 2014) ‘Does sharing photos of your children on Facebook put them at risk?’ The Guardian (