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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