How To: Lock Down Social Features in SharePoint 2010

by Richard Harbridge on February 20, 2012

After having provided these instructions to a few clients as part of broader SharePoint projects/strategies I thought I could share a short how to article that outlines everything you should need to know for locking down or deactivating SharePoint’s social features effectively. Hopefully after you lock them down you will roll them out in time so that your organization can realize the business benefit they provide in a more controlled/planned manner.

What follows are the tasks that could be executed after a SharePoint environment has been provisioned and validated. These tasks are specifically designed to remove, hide, or disable many of the social features from SharePoint 2010. Effectively if you follow all of these features you will have a ‘non socially enabled’ SharePoint 2010 implementation.

Authors Note: Please note that SharePoint 2010’s social features are extremely valuable and add considerable context and collaboration capabilities in a variety of settings. I would never recommend removing them/deactivating social features in SharePoint 2010 due to lack of understanding. However there are times when the features are fully understood and other applications/solutions are in play, or where the organization plans on rolling each feature out slowly along with training and communication to support it. In these latter cases it can be important to lock these features down or deactivate them; I am hoping this guide helps many people with those situations.

If you aren’t sure whether you should be locking these features down, or how to plan and roll out Social in your enterprise please feel free to contact me at or read Eight Key Considerations When Implementing SharePoint 2010 Social Capabilities.

Adjust User Profile Service Application Permissions

What follows are the steps that will be executed in order to ensure that certain social features are not available to users until the organization is ready to roll them out.

  1. Go to Central Administration > Application Management > Manage service applications > User profile service application
  2. From the ribbon, Click “Manage User Permissions” under People
  3. In the “Permissions for User Profile Service Application” pop up, select a user group, e.g. All authenticated Users.
  4. Uncheck the Create Personal Site and Use Social Features checkboxes.
  5. Click OK.

De-activate Farm Level Feature: Social Tags and Note Board Ribbon Controls

In order to ensure that Social Tags and Note Board Ribbon Controls are not available to users we will disable this farm level feature.

  1. Go to Central Administration > System Settings > Manage farm features
  2. De-activate Social Tags and Note Board Ribbon Controls.

Update MySite Host Navigation

Additional steps must be taken to remove the default links to different sections of a person’s profile page. To reset these settings it will be necessary to re-create these links.

  1. Navigate to the MySite Host root Site Settings page.
  2. Select Quick Launch
  3. Remove The Following Links:
    1. Description: “Content” & URL: “/personcontent.aspx”
    2. Description: “Tags and Notes” & URL: “/_layouts/thoughts.aspx”
    3. Description: “Colleagues” & URL: “/_layouts/MyContactLinks.aspx”
    4. Description: “Memberships” & URL: “/_layouts/MyMemberships.aspx”
    5. Optional: Any additional Libraries/Lists references.

Authors Note: Remember that by default the MySites have no way back to your Intranet or Portal. Make sure you have updated the MasterPage or navigation settings as needed to allow users to seamlessly move from the MySites/Profile pages to other key SharePoint systems.

Modify User Profile Properties

There are specific user profile properties that will be adjusted from SharePoint’s default settings.

  1. Go to Central Administration > Application Management > Manage service applications > User profile service application
  2. Select Manage User Properties
  3. Update Properties According To Excel Sheet (SharePoint User Profile Properties Listing)
    1. The Excel Sheet will highlight ‘changes’ in red. So when planning profile properties identify the changes you want/need and then keep a record of the changes in the Excel sheet itself in case you ever need to re-provision or re-create the environment.
    2. This is also extremely helpful when planning new property additions, or when working with external parties that need this data.

Change Default Page of MySite

Since your organization may not be using the Feeds or Activity features of SharePoint 2010 in phase 1 it makes sense to change the default page for MySite/Profiles to reference the profile page instead.

To change the default home page of the MySite Host Site Collection open the site collection in SharePoint Designer (you need to be a site collection owner of the my site host). After the site collection has been opened click on all files on the left hand side.

In the right main area you should see a bunch of items. One of these items will be default.aspx which is the current default page. There is also a person.aspx which is our desired default page. Select person.aspx and then in the ribbon click “set as home page”.

Modify Display of Status Message

Since the status message will give an error (due to it being disabled in the user properties) we need to load SharePoint Designer and edit the person.aspx page that we set as the default page.

To do this go back to SharePoint Designer and click the hyperlink for person.aspx this time and it will open in edit mode. Since we want to change settings set in the site definition we need to edit in Advanced Mode. To do this select Advanced Mode from the ribbon so that the page loads in advanced editing mode.


Once that is done the page will refresh and all of the code is now editable. Find the following div tag (surrounding StatusNotesControl) and hide it (using style=”display:none”) or comment it out.


Save your changes.

Close SharePoint Designer and go to your user profile. The Status Message control is not displayed.

To Remove Add As Colleague Button

The following can be added to the MySite Masterpage or appropriate CSS file to hide the ‘Add As Colleague’ button.

To Hide Social Webparts

There are a 3 social webparts that should be hidden by editing the person.aspx page in SharePoint.

  1. Navigate to a user profile.
  2. Click Site Actions > Edit Page.
  3. Click on the Ask Me About Webpart Header
  4. In The Ribbon Select Web Part Properties
  5. Expand Layout Section
  6. Check Hidden
  7. Click OK
  8. Click on the Recent Activities Webpart Header
  9. In The Ribbon Select Web Part Properties
  10. Expand Layout Section
  11. Check Hidden
  12. Click OK
  13. Click on the Note Board Webpart Header
  14. In The Ribbon Select Web Part Properties
  15. Expand Layout Section
  16. Check Hidden
  17. Click OK

Authors Note: “Due to the visual whitespace found on the page after hiding these controls I recommend adjusting the ‘My Organization Chart’ webpart’s layout setting so that it was displaying in the middle left zone and not the middle right zone.”

Hope this helps,
Richard Harbridge

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