A Very Quick Guide to Facebook Privacy

As I wrote my post about the new Facebook News Feed today, one of my concerns was over the Ticker and privacy. It’s not that your privacy settings are changed in any way. It’s that Facebook now surfaces some things that you didn’t previously think about.

These things in particular:

  • You commented on someone’s status update
  • You commented on someone’s photo
  • You commented on a Facebook page
  • You commented on someone’s wall
Facebook Wall Privacy
Be careful of what you post on my wall. My friends can see it.

These things were always available before. If a friend went to your profile, there was an update there for these items. It’s just that people don’t regularly go to profiles to see that information. So most of us didn’t think much about it.

But now it’s there in plain view. When you write on someone else’s wall, all of your friends know.

This is really important to keep in mind:

You control privacy of your own wall, status and other updates. When you post on someone else’s wall or comment on someone else’s update, your privacy is at their mercy.

Let’s provide some examples…

1) You write a status update, you control who sees it.
2) You write on someone else’s wall, the people who can see that are subject to the wall-owner’s privacy settings. It could be all of their friends. It could be completely public.
3) You comment on someone’s update, the people who see that are subject to the poster’s privacy settings.

So here is the rule of thumb that I have always followed and I suggest you do the same:

Feel comfortable posting your own updates. You control the audience. But be careful whenever posting on someone else’s update or wall. Post as if anyone can see that info.

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  • Sam

    Facebook seems to change things so often that I don’t know if what you’ve said above doesn’t apply now or if I’m seeing things or maybe some people I know (a lot in the last few weeks) have opened up their security.

    A fictional example though…
    Dave a friend of Fred (and Fred is a friend of mine), posts on his own wall (that I can’t see). Fred comments on it or likes it. It is then appearing on my feed that Fred has liked/commented on Dave’s post and shows it to me. Me and Dave are not mutual friends, I do not want to see this.

    Therefore, I want to post a comment/like on a friends wall, but I don’t want non-mutual friends to be spammed with it. How do I do this? Why you might ask? Well, what if a friend posts on their wall (because they don’t mind telling only their friends) that they a ill or worse. I now don’t want to comment or wish them well as I don’t want all my friends seeing this.

    I think this is a big let down. When posting an update, I can restrict who sees that update. But apparently I’m restricting it to them and all their friends (who might be friends of mine that I excluded from the post??). Or does the checkbox for “Friends of those tagged” sort this out. To me “Tagged” means people I mention and their name becomes a link or people I name in photos!

    Maybe I’m just very confused

  • Nicole Desourdis

    I found this article particularly interesting, even though it’s about to be four years old. Facebook changes so frequently that the same issues apply, and all the big gripes seem to focus in on privacy concerns. And for new users, infrequent users, and users that wouldn’t be considered tech-savvy, the guidelines for privacy can be quite confusing. An issue that I have, especially when posting to others walls, is when it comes to businesses. If my friend and I both subscribe to Targets page, and lets say I buy a vaccuum from there that doesn’t work, and for whatever reason Targets customer service was bad and I decide to use their Facebook page as an outlet to complain, my complaint is showing up on my friends wall. I don’t want them to read my gripes, just as I’m sure they don’t want to read them, but I want to be able to complain….without coming across like a sour, bitchy, square of a human being on social media. I’ve given up on adjusting my privacy settings and have just kept everything aboutmy page very basic to not draw unwanted attention.