How to stop Centrelink tracking you on social media

Drew explains how to boost your privacy settings on social media.

How to stop Centrelink tracking you on social media

It was revealed last week that Department of Human Services’ (DHS) investigators are monitoring the online activities of all welfare recipients. The information collected is being used to catch those cheating the system, but if you still aren’t comfortable with a DHS employee snooping through your social media account, you’ll need to update your social media settings.


Without a doubt, the easiest social media website for Centrelink to monitor is Facebook. This is due to Facebook’s strict terms and conditions that mean almost every user’s account can be found by typing their full name into the search function. Facebook’s default privacy settings also work in Centrelink’s favour, with the majority of the preferences automatically set to the most publicly useable setting. The changes listed below will help you regain some level of privacy on your account, so that Centrelink (and other snooping organisations) won’t be able to gain access to your personal information.

Privacy settings

On your computer, login to your Facebook account.

From your start page, click the down arrow located in the top right hand side of the screen.
From the drop down menu, click ‘Settings’.
From the menu on the left hand side of the page, click ‘Privacy’. Alternatively, this link will take you directly there  
Under ‘Who can see my stuff?’ click, ‘Edit’.
Click on the button that currently says either ‘Public’, ‘Friends’ or ‘Only Me’, and select ‘Friends’.

Click ‘close’ at the top right hand side.

You’ll also want to edit all three of these settings under ‘Who can look me up’. Start by clicking ‘Edit’ next to the first setting. Change this setting from ‘Everyone’ to ‘Friends of Friends’ and click close.
Now click ‘Edit’ next to the second setting. Change this setting from ‘Everyone’ to ‘Friends of Friends’ and click close.

If the third setting is already showing ‘No’ then you don’t need to change anything. If it is showing ‘Yes’, click ‘Edit’ and untick the ‘Allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to your Profile’ box and click close.

Now your posts and profile are now no longer available to anyone outside of your friends list.


It’s rather easy to hide your identity on Twitter as, unlike other social networks such as Facebook, you aren’t required to include your full name or even your real name. It goes without saying that if you wish to remain anonymous and untraceable, you will need to change your Twitter display name and handle so that your surname is not included. 

Security and privacy

Login to your Twitter account and visit the Account section.

From the menu on the left, click on ‘Security and privacy’.
Under ‘photo tagging’ click on ‘Do not allow anyone to tag me in photos’.
Uncheck ‘Add a location to my tweets’.
Under ‘Discoverability’ uncheck ‘Let others find me by my email address’ and uncheck ‘Let others find me by my phone number’.
Click ‘Save Changes’

In the account area, you also have the option of making your Twitter account private. It is worth noting that if you do this, only people who are following you can view your tweets. Also, if you send a tweet to a specific person who doesn’t follow you, they won’t see the tweet. You can activate this by clicking the check box under ‘Tweet Privacy’.



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    9th Feb 2016
    Could you also please comment on tracking/access the default permissions allow Centrelink have when you install their mobile phone app.
    9th Feb 2016
    Some people cheating the system need to be tracked by Centrelink. If you arent cheating the system then you wont have any problems with Centrelink tracking you. Very simple
    9th Feb 2016
    Well said, Leo. We have always been upfront with these people. The last time we advised them about a decrease (of course) in our assets and this was followed by a decrease in our A.P. We went in the following month to correct this and were met with a $hit-eating grin from the cretin we last spoke with. We saw someone else who fixed our record and were told us the last guy hadn't updated our new asset figures. Don't trust ANYONE in that place and always double check your and their figures. Centrelink employees and their work should be audited.
    9th Feb 2016
    Yes Leo, I had not realised that Your Life Choices actually believed it was in our best interest to teach people how to RIP OFF the welfare system.

    I don't think I've seen a more stupid post anywhere.
    9th Feb 2016
    Fast Eddie says CentreLink staff should be audited - a masterful understatement. More like lined up and shot at dawn. (Sorry if your name is Dawn!). I have never had the same assessment of the same financial data by two different Centrelink staff. Not that you can reach anyone at Centrelink by phone in any case - and their loopy web site makes it impossible to connect by internet. Am I paranoid in thinking this is all part of Scott Morrison's plot to push older people off the planet?
    I have only felt genuinely suicidal once in my life and it was directly the result of dealing with Centrelink. They forced me to face a Tribunal and they lost. Yes. That's right. They were wrong. I had kept all the evidence - and I understood it. So Fast Eddie's observation that you need to check everything 'Centrelink' is factually accurate.
    This Government's revulsion at older people is an echo - but less overtly extreme - of what's happening in the extermination underway now in Syria.
    Mealy mouthed weasel words about 'Fairness' just don't gel with the evidence.
    If Turnbull goes ahead with a Republic he won't get my vote unless there is genuine Bill of Rights in place first. One that recognises and sets out the right to dignity and respect for older people. We are a minority in our own country too, you know. We are just as entitled to dignity and respect as any other minority - then let Centrelink staff treat us as dog turds.
    Hope I live long enough to see it.
    10th Feb 2016
    I don't have a problem with Centrelink being able to "track" me but I DO have a problem with leaving myself vulnerable to indentity theft from not having enough security on the Facebook account. I ensure that I have next to nothing in my profile (I'd never put where I went to school or where I work) and I ensure that only friends can view my posts and/or photos. It amazes me how many people don't use any security at all.
    9th Feb 2016
    So you have set out to help the welfare cheats. I don't mind being tracked as I have nothing to hide.
    I believe your website is doing a mis service to the decent living community spirited Australian
    9th Feb 2016
    I totally agree with you B5YCK some do need tracking but those who are honest have nothing to worry about,, C/L say dob in a cheater, but they do nothing, I dobbed in a big time cheater once and jack Sh## was done about it
    9th Feb 2016
    Can you and Fast Eddie tell us how much you earn, your assets and any other income please? You have nothing to hide.
    9th Feb 2016
    It's the principle of the thing B5YCK. This is a Nazi response to a few shillings going missing. Are the same Coalition Nazi Facebook intruder pervs getting the real thieves to pay back the billions of tax dollars they have stolen from all Australians - Apple, Google, Gina Reinhart, Twiggy Forrest big business, and so on and so on? See, I hold these crooks in such contempt I didn't even try to spell their names correctly - who cares?

    9th Feb 2016
    People get up in arms over nothing these days. Conversations overheard when out because of mobile phones. What has been said is nothing new or exciting, it is simply a reflection of how our world is ruled by technology.
    The only people who should be worried are those who do the wrong thing. Any app you install gives the owner the ability to know all about you. That's what apps are for.
    I would love to see all the cash in hand transactions done between employers and employees (especially those who receive welfare) get caught.
    They not only cheat the Welfare and Tax systems, they are cheating the Australian people.
    9th Feb 2016
    What precisely is Centrelink tracking? And regardless of the innocent ones here, all the government departments have inter-relationships (referred to as MOU's); so be assured that Centrelink will share info.
    But the government has been monitoring people for years now, as the level of technology increased, so did their ability to track more increase likewise.
    9th Feb 2016
    If privacy is a concern, just type in and see what it can do for you. Free and good.
    Then, search "Ghostery" for even more curtailment of invading activity. Also FREE!

    I have little to hide (so I'm told) but it is the principle: what I do and read is none of their business, whoever "they" are. I am over 18, last time I checked.
    11th Feb 2016
    I agree Janus, I too have nothing to hide but it really annoys me when people say "if you have nothing to hide why worry " bet they still lock their door and would not like every one to see their PRIVATE documents etc etc I LIKE MY PRIVACY and I bet they do to but like you said Janus it is the principal.

    The Governments of today are like the ones of yesteryear -- with the way they went on about "reds under the bed""
    Maybe tit is because they are so corrupt themselves they think everyone else is.
    3rd Jan 2018
    I agree, I prize my privacy. I pay cash for most things, do not join loyalty programs, and keep it as simple as possible on social media.
    9th Feb 2016
    I wouldn't trust centrelunk as far as I could kick them , which ain't real far. Quite common for them to act on incorrect or ambiguous information, then when you try to correct their mistake and you could be there for 6 months. Remember, their investigators are looking for indicators you MIGHT be doing something dodgy. Very easy, I would think, for them to get the wrong end of the stick completely, then you try to get it corrected.
    Why do you think so many appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal are successful?

    Best keep your business away from them with the absolute highest privacy settings if you don't want unnecessary angst.
    9th Feb 2016
    Yep! If your only tool is a hammer the every problem looks like a nail. They are 'Tools' you are right.
    9th Feb 2016
    I have no problem with giving hints about privacy settings for social media, but why use this heading about Centrelink? I agree with those saying that if you are not hiding income or assets or relationships, why would you care if Centrelink sees your posts? Any strategy that grabs welfare cheats is fine with me.
    9th Feb 2016
    I know a few dole bludgers and sole parent bludgers who will hopefully get caught out by Centrelink doing things like this. We should be supporting Centrelink NOT showing people how to safely bludge!
    9th Feb 2016
    Dob them in, how simple is that Pablo.
    9th Feb 2016
    I have done, but nothing happens to them - obviously too hard!

    9th Feb 2016
    Be aware that Facebook is one of the most devious companies around.
    They will track you constantly, if you are not alert.
    When you sign in, there is a box to be ticked "Keep me signed in".
    Be aware that even if you DO NOT tick this box, Facebook will keep you signed in, and track your every move - every webpage you look at, and every search query, no matter what page you are on.
    To stop Facebook tracking you constantly, ENSURE that you LOG OUT every time your Facebook session finishes.
    Facebook sell all your personal information and preferences, and make vast sums of money from information that YOU provide for FREE!!
    10th Feb 2016
    Facebook got in the 'big data' scene a few years ago and are literally running amok with no obvious constraints.
    9th Feb 2016
    Thanks you so much Drew. I hardly ever use my Facebook account and was unaware that it was open slather. I was horrified at how it could be manipulated by any two bit crook out there.
    Well done mate!
    9th Feb 2016
    This link gave me lots of Facebook tips and also showed me how to either temporarily or permanently delete my whole Facebook account.
    10th Feb 2016
    Thanks Scrivener, that is excellent advice!
    9th Feb 2016
    Seriously, if you don't know how to use security settings then perhaps you shouldn't be using Social Media????
    10th Feb 2016
    Protecting yourself on Facebook is not an easy task.
    The 'security settings' are only one component of the protection approach to stop people from hacking your account.
    If I was to offer any advice, it would be 'not' to connect with your mobile app as a starting point.
    10th Feb 2016
    I've never used the mobile app and don't intend to. I check my security settings regularly using the "view as..." feature to ensure that only friends can view what I post and I have virtually no real information in my profile. I don't use a real profile picture either (although I do here!). I'm 73 and I don't think that protecting myself on Facebook is difficult. With a bit of thought and effort (in learning how by using the help features) everyone should be able to do it.
    10th Feb 2016
    I've been with a few groups that were targetted by hackers from the dark-net - and I usually veer away from groups too. Anyway, I learned very quickly how 'tighten the hatches'. This info was derived from FB, user's and info security resources.
    There was a loophole (may still be there), with the 'view as' not displaying your page correctly. This is best resolved by having a friend check your page (a lot of people were hit with obscene porn and completely unaware of its existence on their pages).
    FB's protective security protocols are not the best either. Last year I had the joyful task of verifying myself. That is where they post pictures of your friends and you are to identify them. From memory, when they first denied me access, they had sent me a collection which comprised pictures of friend's pets; a ray ban female model advertisement; and/or random cartoon icons.

    10th Feb 2016
    Stupid post, if you're not doing anything wrong, no need to hide!
    10th Feb 2016
    So you would be quite happy for whatever you post or whatever photos you upload are available to total strangers? Good luck if you get your identity stolen. It's easier to use security settings than try to get your identity back.
    11th Feb 2016
    Sounds like you are another naive person trood I am sure there are things you would not make public to others like bank numbers and passwords --same thing mate
    10th Feb 2016
    Changing the privacy settings on your Facebook is only common sense. Bugger hiding from Centrelink. My life is not an open book and I choose not to share my life with strangers. Anyone who has their Facebook page visible to everyone is naive. And I go further. Friends of friends? No. Friends only. I also have my friends list set to only me. I also determine who reads each of my posts, and have divided my friends into lists according to how much of my life I choose to share with them.
    The world does not need to know everything.
    11th Feb 2016
    You Darkling are very wise
    10th Feb 2016
    Centrelink can track me...... I'm honest and don't care what they waste their time doing regarding myself....bring it on Centrelink ha ha ha
    11th Feb 2016
    Rolls eyes at Pixapd
    11th Feb 2016
    I don't mind being tracked by the Govt...they can read my comments here and at Facebook and at my web page....they might learn something.

    Centrelink can blow as hard as the big bad wolf..ha ha

    Really, don't people realise the Govt knows lots about them already
    11th Feb 2016
    I think you missed the most obvious method of stopping Centrelink from tracking you, whether it be social media or any other source. Get a job and get of the welfare merry-go-round.
    15th Feb 2016
    I hope they enjoyed our Europe Trip photos, as when you tell Centrelink what they need to know - (before they come asking for information) - then everything is happy

    Life is grand when one is not a cheat

    ditto what Leo said earlier
    6th Nov 2016
    Stopping welfare cheats is like tyred stop the weather :(

    Privateness your social media account's is very basic, even a 13-year-old can do this.

    even so, if they really wanna to keep their personal information private. they could easy buy Norton Internet Security or VPN's, when they are using phones and the internet, it's that easy.

    another way to stop Centrelink from tracking you.
    is just start using fake names and emails, when you sign up for something.
    5th Jan 2017
    I hope the Government keeps monitoring social media to catch outthe many rorters and welfare cheats. At the same time they should cancel all the fake disabled cheats as well as illegal refugees who seem to get more welfare benefits than our mainly honest aged pensioners . They should also look at the cash economy where no tax or GST is paid by many retired tradesman and thet still charge the same as tradesman paying all taxes
    15th Feb 2017
    Whilst I dont condone cheating centrelink. I am not on it anyway.
    The simple answer is dont use facebook etc then they cannot track. Simple really !! :-)
    3rd Mar 2017
    They do not track me, but I would not care if they did
    19th May 2017
    Another one is to never use social media. Once you are dead, Centrelink will leave you alone- hopefully.
    19th May 2017
    Another one is to never use social media. Once you are dead, Centrelink will leave you alone- hopefully.
    19th Jan 2018
    Yes I know of someone who is cheating Centrelink. My ex husbands defacto partner. She declare that she rents his rental home and pays rent but I have on good authority that they live together. He claims that he lives with his parents whom live two doors down from the rental property.

    Oh yes I remember a year or so ago that they both went to England to visit her relatives.

    Since when does a landlord and tenant travel overseas together.

    Mind you I'm renting whilst my scumbag ex owns TWO homes!!!

    The law is corrupt. He cheated on me, spent all my savings and walks away with two homes whilest I get nothing!!!

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