If you’d like to maintain tighter control over what appears in your Facebook timeline (and thus to everyone you’re Facebook friends with), there’s a simple, but underused, mechanism built right into Facebook to give you approval rights over everything people tag you in.
Why You’d Want to Do This
Let’s face it, we’ve all got at least one of the following people in our stable of Facebook friends: the person who tags everyone in their [political/event/multi-level-marketing] posts, the person who likes to post random (and often inappropriate) content and tag everyone they think might find it funny, the person that takes a million photos at every event and tags every person present in every one of them, or any other number of people who abuse Facebook’s friend tagging function.
If you’re tired of friends tagging you in announcements for the “Super Awesome Rap Slam Battle!!!” they’ll be in next weekend, or you really don’t want photos of you from a party last weekend to automatically flood out to your Facebook feed without your approval, then you absolutely need to take advantage of the “Timeline Review” feature. In short, timeline review puts every single thing you’re tagged in–posts, comments, and photos–up for your review before it is published on your Facebook timeline (and visible to your friends/family/coworkers).
Before we dive into turning the feature on, there are few things worth highlighting about the timeline review feature just so there’s no confusion. First, the timeline review function doesn’t allow you to actually censor content you don’t like off of Facebook, it merely allows you to keep stuff you don’t like off your personal timeline so that it is not visible there (nor pushed out to your Facebook friends). Denying a post via timeline review doesn’t erase it, it just keeps it off your timeline.
It also doesn’t prevent the tagger’s friends from seeing the posts–so if you have any friends in common, they’ll all see those posts no matter what. This can only prevent the posts from showing up on your profile page, and showing up in the feeds of the friends you don’t have in common with the tagger.
Similarly, it doesn’t stop people from posting on your Facebook wall per the settings you’ve configured for your wall. The timeline review function is for filtering posts you are tagged in, not filtering posts your friends leave directly on your timeline. If you want to tweak who can post to your Facebook wall, please refer to our tutorial here.
Lastly, it’s an all or nothing thing. As of yet there is no function within timeline review to set any sort of trusted friends or the like. This means if your spouse tags you in tons of family photos, there’s no way to say “Approve everything from user XYZ, I trust them”, and you’re left manually approving all those posts before they appear on your timeline.
Those caveats aside, it’s an extremely handy way to stop your friends from seeing your uncle’s crazy political rants (which he insists on tagging you in) or everyone in your family from seeing the multi-level-marketing garbage your coworker is always tagging everyone in.
How to Turn On Timeline Review
Turning on and using timeline review is a pretty straightforward affair. While you can toggle the setting from both the web site and from the Facebook mobile app (we’ll show you how to do both), it’s slightly faster if you do it on the website.
Enabling Timeline Review on the Website
To enable timeline review via the Facebook website, log into your account and click on the small menu triangle on the upper right side of the blue navigation bar, then select “Settings”, as seen below.
In the left hand navigation pane, select “Timeline and Tagging”.
In the “Timeline and Tagging” menu look for the entry “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?”; by default this setting is off. Tap on “Edit” to change it.
In the now open menu, click on the drop down menu and toggle “Disabled” to “Enabled”.
The changes take effect immediately, there’s no confirmation or save button to press.
Enabling Timeline Review on the Mobile App
If you’re reading this tutorial on your phone and want to jump right into changing the settings, here’s how to do it from the Facebook mobile app. While there are minor differences between the layouts of the app on different mobile platforms, you should be able to follow along easily using these iOS screenshots.
Tap on the “More” menu button in the navigation bar and select “Settings” in the resulting menu, as seen below.
Select “Account Settings” in the pop up menu.
Select “Timeline and Tagging” in the “Settings” menu.
Just like on the website, select “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?”
Toggle “Timeline Review” to on.
Again, like the website toggle, there’s no confirmation and the changed take effect immediately.
How to Use Timeline Review
Now that you’ve turn the timeline review function on, let’s take a peek at what it looks like in action. To demonstrate we enlisted a friend to post a Minions meme and tag us. On a sliding scale of things we’d prefer not to be tagged in, we’ll put Minions memes solidly between invitations to parties where overpriced candles are sold and posts that implicate the tagged users in interstate drug smuggling operations.
When someone tags you, you’ll get a notification like so.
The notification always looks something like “[user] tagged you in a post. To add this to your timeline, go to Timeline Review” with a thumbnail of the post. Click on either the bolded “Timeline Review” or the thumbnail to jump to the post.
There you can select either “Add to Timeline” or “Hide”.
As you add or hide items, you’ll see condensed entries for each item that reflects how the post will appear on Facebook, like so.
Remember, adding a post to your timeline inserts it into the news feed of your friends, places it on your wall, and otherwise integrates it into your Facebook footprint. Hiding the post from your timeline stops those things from happening, but it doesn’t delete the post or remove the tag. If you wish you can visit the post and manually select “remove tag” to remove the link to your Facebook account entirely from the post or, if the post is more than an annoyance and actually a violation of Facebook rules or illegal, you can click the report button.
While timeline review isn’t perfect, it’s a pretty great way to catch a lot of the stupid posts you might get tagged in and, in the process, avoid cluttering up your timeline (and annoying your friends) with garage posts.