How to Delete Stuff from Facebook Timeline

The new Facebook Timeline has many Facebook users in a tizzy. I, for one, abhor it and deleted my account earlier this week.  However, before I decided to delete it, I took the time to try and delete things from the past on my timeline. I wanted to delete all of the things I posted before I knew what “lists” were and before I knew how to manage my personal brand online. I joined Facebook in June 2008 and I was sure that there were many photos of me out with my girlfriends that I either posted or was tagged in that I didn’t want to be on my permanent Facebook record. Not that any of them were really bad, but I just decided that people don’t need to know personal things about me that I carelessly and previously shared unknowing that the day of Timeline would come.

As usual, the UI and tutorial are not all that transparent. For example, I never accepted those posts from family members that said “I just confirmed that we’re related” from the Family Tree app, yet if I was tagged in them prior to September 2011 when you could review tags, they showed up in my timeline – ugh. I deleted the app and supposedly all posts from that app from my timeline, but when I hit refresh, they were still there for a while. Apparently it takes Facebook a few minutes to catch up with you – which just makes you wonder, did you really get rid of it??

I’ll show you step by step in a minute, but I also want to warn you about photos. Incriminating photos can hurt you in a job interview or a future job interview. But it doesn’t have to be a drinking photo, it can be a picture of your new baby and you could be getting back in the job market after you just had a kid. It’s illegal for a potential employer to ask you if you have children, but nothing it stopping them from checking out your Timeline on Facebook and then disqualifying you because “you weren’t  a good fit”. And photos are a bit harder to get rid of.  I’ll go into this a bit more below.

Steps to delete stuff from timeline:

Note: You can remove anything from your timeline, but if you want to permanently delete it, you have to go an extra mile – literally.

  1. You can hover over the item in the timeline and depending what it is, you can hide from timeline or delete post.
  2.  Additionally, if it is a photo or a series of events like “Likes” or “Photos”, then you can review individually and that’s where the extra mile comes in.  For photos, you have to click on each photo and remove the tag which will automatically remove it from your timeline.

There’s a misconception out there also about who can see what’s on your timeline. For example, if you shared a private post with someone. a list or limited your post to a select group of people, then only the people who were on the original post can see it. You can see everything in your Timeline, but not everyone else can see everything. Everyone else can only see what was public.

About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is a social media consultant, strategist, and analyst.

Comments

  1. Yea, I personally hate the new timeline. It’s like one big noisy party. I know Twitter is all about this but it just feels so much different with Facebook. Anyway, thanks for the post SocialStrand.

  2. Maureen Maxwell-Simon says:

    An ad showed up on my timeline that says not from faebook but I have no idea how it got there or
    how to remove it! Help!!!:)

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      Hi Maureen, it’s probably an app that you authorized (unknowingly) to post to your wall. Go into your privacy settings and check your app settings for each app and uncheck the ability to post on your behalf. Hope that helps.

  3. When Timeline started I spent hours hiding and deleting everything I could find, but only discovered now that there is still an enormous amount of material there. It either was hidden from me when I tried to scour everything I could find, or it was reinstated without my permission.

    So what do I do now?

  4. perv kav says:

    my posts and pix have just DISAPPEARED from my

    TIMELINE on fb and I CANNOT RETRIEVE THEM :{

    REQUEST HELP IN RESTORING MY TIMELINE, PLZ :}

  5. How can I delete a post that I put on someone else timeline that I put because it shows the box that has the list of stuff people posted on their page and It wont let me delete what I put.

  6. So I went through and clicked “Remove From Timeline” on every photo I wanted to “de-tag” and found out that it only removes it from timeline and the tag stays with my name on it… The problem is I can’t find these photos to go back and remove the actual tag now (there were hundreds). Any way to see what I am actually TAGGED in?

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      Once you remove from timeline the only way you can possibly untag yourself is to go to the person’s profile who actually uploaded it and untag from there. otherwise, no way to untag that I know of once it’s removed from your timeline.

  7. Midwinter says:

    “You can see everything in your Timeline, but not everyone else can see everything. Everyone else can only see what was public.”

    To be honest, I’ve found a far easier and safer principle to use is simply this: assume everything – everything – that you post to Facebook is going to be public. I’ve found that people rely very heavily on (deliberately?) convoluted ‘privacy’ settings that don’t always do what you expect them to do. In fact, I’d go so far as to apply the same rule to the Internet as a whole: before you post anything, ask yourself if you’re happy for the world (plus dog) to see it. If the answer’s no, don’t post it to Facebook or anything else, no matter what the privacy settings say. I speak from many people’s experiences when I say that it’s far better to be safe today than sorry tomorrow.

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      Yup. I agree. There’s no such thing as privacy on the internet – period. Thanks for the comment.

  8. I was finally migrated over to Timeline and while there are some things I like, as usual there are a lot that I don’t like.

    I am removing photos from my Timeline that aren’t all that interesting, but the number of photos that are tagged of me is also going down. I want to take them off of my Timeline but I’m fine with them being tagged and people should be able to see them if they click on my “Photos” section.

    As usual, this makes little sense. Thanks for any advice.

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      Hi WC, if you remove them from your Timeline it also asks you if you want to remove the tag. If you don’t remove the tag then people who click on those photos on someone else’s timeline can still see you and identify you via the tag. They just won’t show on your Timeline if you delete them. (Albeit, is very time consuming, isn’t it?). That’s why I deleted my account back in March.

      • But it doesn’t ask “if you want to remove the tag”. There is just ‘hide’ option. :(

        • Tracy Sestili says:

          You should be able to use the remove option on the post or in the dropdown menu connected with the post. Click on the photo, under your name you should see a “Remove” link. When you click on that you get a message that says: This photo has been removed from your profile. To remove a tag click Report/Remove Tag.(the report/remove tag is a hyperlink).Also, if you made the post, there’s a delete option on the post itself under the pencil.

  9. I dont really like timeline but i guess if you wanna use facebook your stuck with it.. i deleted my timeline years so they dont show anything but want the year i joined facebook to show for public view. Does anyone know how to achieve this?

  10. Lauren Russell says:

    Hello! So I recently just got married and changed my status to “Married” and I sent my hubby the request to have it say “Lauren Pourrokny is married to Travis Russell”, but before he accepted it people were commenting on the regular status update. I removed it from my timeline and now I want that post back. How do I do that?

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      Hi Lauren, you can click on your Activity log to see if it is there, but usually once you delete something, you can’t bring it back or undo it.

  11. i want to hide a photo i ws tagged in from my timeline..i removed da tag but stil its cuming in my photos..and there s no option lyk hide it from timeline on the right corner..how can i remove it??