Who can see your comments and likes on Facebook?

I received an e-mail this week asking “When I comment on someone else’s post, how can I keep that activity from appearing on my wall, and how I can keep that activity from the general news feed?”

This is an excellent question and something to keep in mind when commenting.   Your comments and likes on Facebook are shared with different audiences depending on the privacy setting of the original post.  Since you can’t control the privacy setting of original post, think before you like or comment!

Here’s how it works

When you comment on someone’s post (status update or link or photo or anything they’ve shared), whoever can see the original post can also see your comment.

You can quickly determine the privacy setting of the original post by the icon next to it.

  • Globe icon  The Globe icon means “Public“.
  • Friend icon  The picture of two small heads means “Friends”.  (This icon can also indicate friends of anyone tagged but that’s a different article for another day).
  • Gear icon  The gear icon means “Custom“.  Custom could mean “Friends of Friends”, or a custom privacy setting.
  • Hover your mouse over the icon to see the details.

Here’s an example.  My friend Mary “liked” her friend Jeanine’s post.  I don’t know Jeanine, I am not friends with Jeanine, I have never heard of Jeanine!  But, I am able to see this post, along with Mary’s “like”, right there in my Facebook “ticker”.  The reason I am able to see this, is because Jeanine’s privacy setting is to share this post with Public.

If Jeanine had shared this with just “Friends”, then I would not have seen the post or Mary’s “like”.

Screenshot of a public status update with a comment, seen in the Facebook ticker

 

What about teens and Facebook privacy?

Parents should know that minors on Facebook can only share with “Friends of Friends.  They do not have the option to Share with “Public”.  However, I have observed that many teens have 200, 300 or even more than 400 friends.   Now I’m no mathematician, but if your teen shares with their 400 friends, and all those friends share with their friends of friends, that’s about a zillion people who can see that post.  How many of those zillion people does your teen actually know?

So remind your teens:  Think before you post!

Learn More

Facebook has updated their “Help” section and they now provide information that is actually helpful.  Here’s more on the topic, from the Help section.

If I make a comment on something and then the person who posted it changes the audience, who can see my comment?

Anyone who can see a post can see comments made on that post.

How can I control what stories display on my Wall?

These stories only appear to people who are able to view that specific content, based on privacy setting chosen by the person who posted it. For example, if you comment on a friend’s status, then only people who are permitted to see your friend’s status will see a story about it when they view your Wall.

Who can see stories about my comments and likes in ticker?

To control stories about your commenting activity in ticker and News Feed, always check who can see the privacy of the posts you’re commenting on. Learn more about sharing privacy. If you aren’t comfortable with who can see the post, please don’t comment on it or like it. If you do, a story about your activity will be eligible to appear on Facebook, including on your timeline (profile), in News Feed and in ticker.

Got Facebook Questions?

Facebook privacy is always a hot topic! What are your pressing Facebook questions? Leave a comment and give me some topics to discuss in future posts.

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Comments

      • James Sammon says

        Hi Jean, Wow! Really interesting. I have a question. I don’t know what my settings are on F.B., but I know I clicked on only friends. I was off F.B. for a year and one half and recently went back on. Now I found someone posted a scam on my home page. My question is does everyone who is my friend see what this so called friend posted on my page?

      • Jean says

        Well it depends on a lot of factors. You can control who can post on your profile (timeline) as well as who can see what you post. If you are talking about your News feed (the page you see when you first log in) then friends don’t necessarily see everything there. It is your view of the different updates from your friends and pages you have liked.

  1. Lisa says

    I’ve noticed that people who are not my friends can go on my wall on the Facebook App on the Ipad and see when I say “happy birthday” to someone. How do I restrict one person who is not my “friend” from doing this? Can I limit it to restricting just one person without blocking that person?

    • Jean says

      First off I’d check to make sure that your profile/timeline settings are in place so that only “Friends” can see your information, instead of Everyone or Friends-of-Friends. But if you wish your friend a happy birthday on their wall, I believe it will be their privacy settings that determine who can see your greeting.

  2. juanita says

    my friends can see every like i make and i recently joined a group page and my friends can see every post i make and comment i make. how do i stop it from showing up?

  3. saqib says

    hello sweaty jean plz solve my problem,
    when i joined a group or page or like something , if also i comments in a group or of some friends Than all of my recently activities can see my face book friends ,
    how do i stop it my all comments and recently activities form showing up of my friends wall,
    plz send answer give my email or face book link

    Thanks a lot ,

    • Jean says

      sweaty jean? That’s a new one! Well in both these situations, like I mention in the article above, if you comment or like something that is public, then your comment is also public. If you comment on something and the friend who posted it is sharing with friends-of-friend, then their friends-of-friends can see your comment. I think this is also true of public groups. Some groups are private and then those comments would only be seen by members of the group. Also check your own profile or timeline settings to see who can view your info. Change it to “Friends” if you don’t want everyone in the world seeing what pages you like. It does get complicated, so you may want to also review the Facebook help which has quite a lot of info: https://www.facebook.com/help/privacy/basic-controls

  4. Christy C says

    How do I disallow ‘things’ I’ve indicated I like from posting on my wall on Facebook? i.e.-I ‘like’ Volkswagan buy I don’t want their posts showing up on my wall…

  5. Jean says

    If you don’t want to see updates on your news feed from pages you’ve Liked, here’s what you can do. Go to the page. The liked button will say “Liked” since you’ve already liked the page. Hover over that button and then you’ll see some options. Then un-check “Show in News Feed”.

    If you don’t want people to know which pages you’ve liked, you can go specify who can see them: https://www.facebook.com/help/100522066706974/

    • says

      hi jean how r u .. yar can u tell me how i can put privacy on the things which i do like or comment on others posts like my frnds posts .. so how i can put privacy that wht i have commented or liked should not b on my timeline or my frnds should nt came to knw abt dat

      • says

        and one more thing how i can put privacy n my display picture .. coz i have heared dis dat privacy on dp is banned by facebook or i also had experienced dis .. kindly tell me :-) how i can put privacy

      • Jean says

        Hi, well, on Facebook there are certain parts of your profile that are always public and one of those is your profile picture. If you are concerned about that you can always change yoru profile picture to something else (like a graphic of some type) or just not have a photo.

      • Jean says

        Hi Anglina, well as mentioned in the article it is the audience of the post you are commeting on that determines who can see what you wrote. If you comment on a publicly shared post, you have no way of keeping it private. It won’t necessarily show up on your timeline page, but it is possible that your friends or others may see the comment or “like”. For the most privacy, don’t comment or like any publicly share posts.

  6. Angie K says

    Jean: Question for you. I have two “friends” on Facebook who’ve had a falling out.

    One does not want her posts that I like or comment on being seen by the other.

    What settings do I need to have in place for this to happen?

    For the record, Friend One is a true and dear friend. Friend Two is a very nice person, but really more of an acquaintance. Actually met Friend Two through Friend One, and I don’t want to hurt #2’s feelings by unfriending right now.

    I just want to honor Friend One’s request.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • Jean says

      Hi Angie,
      That’s a challenging scenario! But I think that the visibility of your comments on friend #1’s posts are more under her control. If she shares an update with “friends” and you comment on it, then I think only her friends will see that. If she shares with “friends of friends” or “public” and you comment, then friend #2 could see it since she falls into that category. The other thing you could try, short of un-friending is to put your acquaintance in the “restricted” friends list that Facebook provides you. That might restrict her from seeing your activity.

  7. Angie says

    Thanks Jean. That’s what I thought, that it’s really more determined by what she allows people to see than what I like.

    But I wanted to be sure. At this point, I have #2 on a restricted list, just to be sure. I don’t hate #2, but frankly, I only knew her through #1.

    Kinda weird. I didn’t even know that they’d had a falling out until yesterday … and that it happened something like nine months ago. Neither mentioned it, and with them both living far from me, I don’t see them any more than once a year.

    Thanks for your insight.

  8. MS says

    Hi there Jean,

    All my status updates and photos appear on my Friends’ News-feed as I always set my settings for “Friends” but problem arises when I comment on my own status/photo. The comments I make on my own statuses/pictures do not appear on my Friends’ ticker. Kindly help me out on this.

  9. MS says

    No comments on my own status/photo appear on my Friends’ Ticker I want all my comments to be visible on my Friends’ Ticker. Please help.

    • Jean says

      Hi MS,
      That’s a tough one – I’m not really sure why your comments on your own posts wouldn’t appear in the ticker, especially if they are appearing in the News Feed. I checked Facebook Help but didn’t see any specific information about this particular issue there. Sorry that I couldn’t be of more help on this one.

  10. MS says

    Thank you so much for replying Jean. I don’t know why it’s happening it’s getting so frustrating and even I inquired from Facebook Help but to no avail, hope the issue gets resolved at the earliest. Please let me know if you do find a solution to it. Thanks for your reply once again really appreciate it. God bless.

  11. Emma says

    When I post on a friends timeline it comes up on everyone’s newsfeed a bit like Emma > whoever happy birthday or whatever i write is there a way I can stop this as I can’t write on their wall without all my other fb friend seeing it

    • Jean says

      I think this is due to your friend’s timelime settings and who can see what is on their timeline. So especially if you have mutual friends, the mutual friend could see what you wrote on the other’s friends timeline. I think the only way to really keep anything private on Facebook is to send an Inbox message!

    • Sanjeev says

      I have been facing this problem for last month. I get notifications about my friends commenting on my photo but when i go to that photo no comment can be seen . I am also not able to comment on my own photo.
      It only happens on MY LAPTOP. If i log in to my FB account from other PC i can see the comments & I can make comments as wel.
      Hence it appers to be the problem related to the PC and not the facebook.
      I think its related to java version or some pluging required !

      • Jean says

        Hi Sanjeev,
        I haven’t heard of that problem! Yes I wonder if it is plug-in or something else. I suppose you could also try using a different browser on your laptop to see if you get the same results. And also to make sure you don’t have more than one FB account. Sorry I don’t have any other ideas for this particular issue.

      • Sanjeev says

        Thanks Jean. But before one month or so i was using the same laptop and same browser (googlechrome), but I will try using other browser also.
        Other doubt is on my friends reccomendation i had changed setting as follows. He wanted me to hide his post from my friends ( which are not his friends on fb) The way i accomplished this is put the cursor on his photo icon by the side of his post (without clicking any key or button);when again a window poped up showing his name ; i took cursor there ; right clicked the mouse to get the pull down and went to “settings” and then selected “hide comments”.
        I think my problem started after this change in setting.
        When i doubted this i actually changed the settings back but it has not solved my problem so i concluded that that may not be the cause.

  12. Tee says

    There used to be a setting that would keep comments you make on a friends post from being seen by anyone who wasn’t your friend also, in other words, comments you made were visible to friends only. I can no longer seem to find this setting and really would like to keep my comments between me and my friends.

    • Jean says

      I’m not sure I remember that setting, as Facebook changes these things so often. But now I’m pretty sure that if you comment on a friend’s post, their friends will see it too (or whoever they allow to see their posts…) I guess the best way to keep things private on Facebook is to send a Message.

  13. Jeff Harding says

    Very nice write-up, but it totally didn’t answer the question! (maybe it was answered in the comments)

    The question was – Let’s say I post a comment on someone’s picture, maybe it’s from a picture in a public page. How do you prevent a news feed article being generated and shown to MY friends that I posted such a comment (which then also links to the image/comment)

  14. Jackie Church says

    I think I also have Jeff’s question. Hope you don’t mind me rephrasing it for clarification
    1) So if I post a comment in the Comments under a FB post in my News Feed, say from Upworthy or Scholastic Teacher, will that be reposted on my Friends’ NewsFeeds? “Jackie posted a Comment on Upworthy”? Or maybe repost the actual comment?
    2) Or if iI Like a photo/poster from a Friend’s feed that they Shared on their page (and therefore appeared on mine), do MY Friends see it? (this is awful to explain) .
    3) if I Like an image from my NewsFeed from a page I follow, such as a TV show. Will THAT show up on my Friends feeds, even though I didnt share it?
    I ask these complicated questions because occasionally I see posts “from” Friends that they merely Liked or commented on, but didnt Share. How annoying to think I cant comment on or Like something as a way of communicationg with that page (like a public figure) without it being broadcast to my Friends amd cluttering up their newsfeed.

    Thanks for your help. I know these were complexly written questions.

    • Jean says

      Hi Jackie,
      I know it is complicated, right? But basically the audience of your comment is dictated by the audience of the post. So for your examples 1 and 3, its pretty much the same. The post was public, so your comment is available to the public. “Available” doesn’t mean all your friends WILL see it. It means they COULD see it, and that depends on Facebook algorithms that I just don’t know the details of! For the most part these types of things show up (at least for me) in the “Ticker” in the upper right of the screen.

      Hope this helps a little!

  15. sam says

    If someone posts on your wall, can people who are friends with you see it if they are not friends with the person who posted?

  16. Alec says

    hi :) so what concern me is about notifications my friends would get when i comment to a photo on facebook. even if the privacy setting of the original post is Friends (it is not my post). and my friends don’t know any of people who commented before or shared the post. for example if i would comment now on that post, my friends from my friend list would get a notification like: “me” commented on a post…” or something like that and then can see the entire comments, even mine? so it is just about that notification. because you said that if the post is set to Friends, my friends from my list cannot see the post (comments)

  17. Zehra says

    I have a query

    me and my close friend both have a mutual friend (which i have put in my custom settings) means that mutual friend cannot see some of my posts. what happens if i post something on my close friends wall and i dont want that mutual friend of ours to see it. Will the mutual friend see that posts??

    • Jean says

      Hi Zehra, good question. I think in this case it will depend on the settings on your close friend’s wall; there is a setting “Who can see what others post on your timeline?”. So if your close friend has that as “Everyone” or “Friends” and doesn’t limit that mutual friend in any other way, then likely your mutual friend could see that post on your close friend’s wall.

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