The Basic Facebook Post Types and Your Privacy
Control your privacy on Facebook and have more fun posting and sharing. Understanding how settings work is key to avoiding unintended results!
There are three basic types of posts you can make on Facebook. First, and most simply, you can answer Facebook’s “What’s on Your Mind?” by typing text into the status box. Second, you can share pictures or video that you have taken, yourself, and uploaded to Facebook. You can combine these first two into one – adding descriptive text to your photos and videos. Third, you can share others’ posts. These may come from anywhere on the web, including news sites, blogs, or your friends’ Facebook profiles.
Note that the sharing of your posts is controlled by you. First, set a default privacy setting for all posts you make:
Go to your Facebook Settings > Privacy. Click Who can see my stuff? > Who can see your future posts?
My default is Friends, as shown above. Click that button to modify your settings – from Only Me to Public. If you have created Lists, you can select one of those as your default, if you prefer.
NOTE: Posts with the privacy setting Friends or Public can be shared by members of the specified group. Public means everyone. ONLY posts that are set to Friends or Public are shareable, currently. This means that posts marked Friends of Friends are not (currently) shareable.
If you use certain sites and mobile apps, your default privacy settings may differ from the ones you’ve set on Facebook, itself. Remember back to the first time you shared something from a news site, or using that app? You agreed to give it certain permissions on Facebook. One of those was permission to share to your profile. To check, and to modify your default sharing settings for such sites and apps, go to your Facebook Settings > Apps and select each one that may have permissions to post on your behalf. Look for App visibility and post audience as shown below:
Click the button (in the example, above, it says Friends) and change it if needed. Click Save. This will be the default privacy setting for any posts you share from that site or app until you change it again.
If you are confused (or were, in the past), you can change the privacy of all your past posts to Friends in one step, and you can, if you wish, go back and selectively modify the setting on each post, to make some of them Public again. For more information, and to check your settings after you’ve modified them, refer to my post: See Your Facebook Page the Way Friends (and Strangers) Do
Text: “What’s On Your Mind?”
This is the simplest sort of Facebook post – just type the answer to that question in the text box, verify the post’s privacy setting, and click Post. If you want to share this post, then, beyond your own profile page, there are two ways to do that. First, you can only share a post that’s privacy is set to Public or to Friends. This also determines who else can share it: Everyone, or just your Facebook friends. If you do not want that, set your post’s privacy to something else. Friends of Friends gives you a wider audience than just Friends, but not as wide as Public. A specific list of your friends narrows it further. Remember that anyone who is a member of the group can read, and if you set it to Friends or to Public, anyone who is a member of that group can share your post.
Image or Video
Use the camera icon to add photos or video to a text post, or to simply share photos or video without text. The same general rules apply, as described above.
Any text in your post will remain with your post when it’s shared – unlike text you add when sharing someone else’s post as described below.
Sharing of Someone Else’s Post
You should always respect the privacy settings on your friends’ posts. Do not copy/paste their text or images or video without explicit, written permission from them. Always ask first!
You can generally assume, though, that if something is shareable through normal means, it is meant to be shared with a selected audience. Use the Share link freely! It is the poster’s responsibility to understand Facebook privacy settings and set them. It is your responsibility to respect their settings and not try to share to a larger or different audience than they intended.
Here are the basic post Share options:
Share Now (Friends) means to share the post to my own Facebook wall immediately with my default privacy settings. This type of Share is quick and easy, but does not give you a chance to add your own commentary, choose a location for sharing, or change your own post privacy settings before sharing.
Share… means I’ll get a chance to add my own introductory commentary, choose a location for sharing (my own wall, a friend’s wall, a group, or one of my Facebook pages), or change my post privacy settings to something other than my default before sharing:
Send as Message means to send as a private message to a Facebook Friend. (It’s the same as Share… > In a private message.)
Again, using any of these provided means of Sharing, a post can only be shared if it’s from a public web site or on someone else’s wall, page, or group where the post privacy is set either to Friends or to Public.
Note that when you share someone else’s text or image post, any additional, introductory commentary you add to the status box will not be shared if someone shares the shared post from your wall. This is confusing, isn’t it? If you share a news article or a friend’s post, and add your own commentary to it, your commentary will not be shared further if someone shares it from your wall – even if that was what you or they intended!
The first image is on my wall. When I shared it to Willard’s wall, I added the text that appears above the image. If someone else shares it from his wall, only the image, my name, and the text below it (about turtles lazing on the river) will be shared – the text “This is an example of how image sharing posts work” will not carry forward.
None of the discussion (comments) made on the original post will carry forward, either. If you share a post, it creates a new copy of the original post, but not of things that were added to it later. HOWEVER, if I tag a friend in the original text on a post or share, then the post will (if my friend permits it to) show up on my friend’s wall – as will any comments made. For anyone tagged in the original post, the version that shows up on their wall is the original – not a copy. Comments will appear everywhere the post appears.
It’s helpful to remember this, when commenting on a post – know that it may appear on the wall of anyone “tagged” in the original text or image:
I hope these explanations make it easier to control the privacy of your Facebook posts without fear and misinformation limiting your fun!
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, below!