How to View the Comments on a Dark or Unpublished Facebook Post

How to View Comments on Unpublished Facebook Posts

Facebook advertisers far and wide have found enormous success creating dark (or unpublished) posts. It’s a terrific way to optimize and create ad variations that reach the News Feeds of your target audience.

But these same advertisers repeatedly ask the same question: How do you check the comments on these posts?

You see, unpublished posts are just that — they aren’t published to your Facebook Page. So monitoring these posts can be a challenge without a bit of creativity.

The Solution

Select “Manage Pages” from the top left drop-down within Power Editor.

Facebook Power Editor Manage Pages

After selecting your Page on the left, you will then see all of the corresponding recent and unpublished posts within a list. Highlight the post in question.

Then click “View Post.”

Dark Unpublished Facebook Post View Comments

This will open the post’s permalink, which will allow you to view all activity on that post.

The Admin Panel

One issue with this method is that Facebook will only display the most recent posts within the Manage Pages area of Facebook. So your post will eventually fall off that list.

However, keep in mind that any time users comment on your unpublished post, you will receive a notification as you would for a published post in your Admin Panel.

Facebook Admin Panel

You may want to click that alert to access the dedicated page for that post to bookmark it for later.

Ads Manager Preview

Note that there is another way to do this from the Ads Manager, though it only works for photos, videos and text updates (not link shares).

Click the ad while in Ads Manager. That will bring up a dialog that reads: “Linkable Area. Users who click this area will link to the destination specified by this ad. preview.”

Facebook Ads Manager Preview

Click the “preview” link. That will bring up the dedicated page for that post.

Unfortunately, it only opens the link you’re promoting (not the post permalink) for link shares.

Still having issues? Watch the video at the top of this post!

  • Guest

    How does somebody leave a comment on an “unpublished” post? I thought the whole idea was place the ad WITHOUT the post displaying on one’s page? I’m missing something here.

    • Caspar Aremi

      Anyone who sees the post can comment on it – so those it is targeted at! If no one could see it, it’d be a bit pointless :) It’s called unpublished as it’s not on your main page timeline or fans news feeds, but you specific who *can* see it.

    • Daniel Lo Nigro

      It appears in the news feed and people can comment on it that way.

  • Caspar Aremi

    I use a different method – from the campaigns dashboard (don’t go into Power Editor) i view the ad, then preview by clicking ‘View in newsfeed’ and you can see all the comments/likes/shares that way. If you click on the image to get it in the pop-up preview window then remove the theatre=1 bit from the end you can share that link with colleagues or anyone else who needs to see the post.

    • Jon Loomer

      I don’t see the “View in News Feed” option, but I did just realize one other way that I’m adding to the post.

      • Terry D. Whalen

        I don’t see ‘view in newsfeed’ either, but I think I’ve seen it before. This sort of thing happens more than you’d think!

        • Amit Lavi

          I see it under every ad – View in Newsfeed (Desktop). Click on it opens the ad in my newsfeed. it doesn’t work if you connect from a gray account…

    • Jon Loomer

      Actually, never mind. The way I was adding only works for photo/video posts. Where are you seeing the “View in News Feed” option? Not there for me.

  • davenathan

    When I know (or have quick access to) the post ID number, I simply type and that doesn’t the trick.

    • Jon Loomer

      Yep! The challenge, though, is when you don’t know the ID (in particular, this happens if you have an older unpublished post). But one of the workarounds above should work!

      • jonnychn

        Great post. Thanks for sharing. For me, I usually put down the post ID for any unpublished page posts I ever created on Google Docs. That way I can track and monitor the comments at ease. I use instead of =) Also, I wish there’s an easier way to extract the post ID from a given the post URL, especially for photo posts or multi-story photo albums.

        • Arne

          How do you find out the ID If you don’t know the URL?

          • jonnychn

            If you don’t know the URL, it would be hard to find the post ID. But when you can click on the timestamp on any post, you can receive the URL.

  • AmyJoNeal

    OMG. Thank you. This was driving me nuts!

  • Adam

    In power editor, right click the news feed post preview –> Inspect element –> hit delete on keyboard.
    Now just shift-click the date on the post. Problem solved

  • Ivan

    May I know how to publish the unpublished post?

    • Ivan

      I just got it already.

  • Jodie Hodges

    Hi Jon, thanks for a great article! This also has been driving me nuts. You said that you will receive a notification as you would for a published post in your Admin Panel. This is not happening on the pages I monitor (another team member sets up the unpublished posts) – I was wondering if it has something to do with the settings in Power Editor?

  • victoria ordin

    I was happy to see a post about reach on the wall of a Facebook friend. I am definitely interested in a private session. I heard Matt Hicks speak in SB, formerly at FB now with Randi Zuckerberg at R and Z. Everyone with a business or fan page knows that weekly reach went down around Labor Day 2012. When FB stock plummeted, the “promote” (later “boost”) feature was introduced and it radically changed the feed. But the new Insights are obviously bogus.

    Have you written anything about these issues? 1) The change around fall 2012, 2) The new “Insights” which were underway a long time and then appeared with obvious bugs (for instance: if 20 people like a picture, it’s logically impossible that 5 people saw it). I don’t know a single person who believes the new Insights, which begs the question: were the old Insights bogus or should we trust the new ones?

    Matt Hicks’ big point in his lecture “Beyond the Like” was that a page with 2000 likes and no one “talking about” it is useless. If your content isn’t being liked, commented on, and shared, then your content isn’t going out.

    Also, my personal page is very active. It’s not unusual to get 60 or 70 comments on a post. I posted a piece of banana cream pie and it generated over 100 comments (not 100 people) on a page with just 700 friends. My public page has 486 likes and before the change, my ratio of likes to talking about was 80% at least. The industry standard, according to Hicks, was 16%. It was unheard of, he told me, for a non-celebrity to have anything like that ratio. That all ended around Labor Day, 2012.

    Half the people who like my public page are friends (or 45%), yet my friends are used to coming to my page (as a blogger/writer without a day job, I’m posting constantly). I know that if I stopped posting on my personal page, people would migrate to my public page but I’m not in this for the money and I do what I do because I enjoy it and people are entertained (and often , I’m told, helped with various issues in their lives but not because I’m a Woo Woo New Age positive thinking sort).

    But I will say things on my personal page I will not broadcast to the world, either on my blog which turns three in April OR on Victorian Chick FB (which is public of course).

    These are some issues I’ve been wanting to discuss with a professional.


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