Facebook ate my posting-time.

September 21, 2011 @ 7:32 pm | Filed under:

I’ll skip the rant about the obnoxious new FB profile overhaul and cut straight to the privacy info, since that’s important:

1) Be aware that your Facebook posting default is no longer really a default. If your default setting lo these many months has been “Friends” (meaning only FB friends will see your status updates) but you occasionally post an update to a different audience, like Public or Friends of Friends, well, now whatever you’ve changed it to for that one post is the new default.

See this official Facebook post for more on that. Key sentence: “When you change the audience, it remains selected for future posts until you change it again.”

2) OK, the new ticker thing is driving people nuts, and there are browser extensions to get rid of it if you wish. Here’s one for Chrome.

But even if you get rid of it—or maybe you love the thing and want to keep it!—there’s something important to know about what people see in that ticker. The privacy setting for each ticker item (post AND comments) is determined by the original poster. Which makes sense.

But say you leave a comment on your friend Jack’s latest update. If Jack chose the “Friends of Friends” settings for that update, and I’m your friend, I will see your comment in my ticker. I can hover over your comment and see Jack’s original post, and all the other comments people made on that post, whether they’re my friends or not.

Fine, it’s Jack’s post, he gets to decide who sees it. But you should know that if you comment on that post, all Jack’s friends (and he has a LOT) and all their friends can see your comment.

Thing is, this is actually nothing new. That was always the case with people who share with “friends of friends.” But before, in order to see your comment, I’d have to have noticed on your wall that you’d commented on this guy Jack’s post, and to see it I’d have to click through to Jack’s page. Which I wasn’t doing, because if I wanted to read Jack’s Facebook page I’d just plain friend him.

The difference now is that the ticker puts your comment (and by extension, the whole spicy discussion on Jack’s page!) right in front of all your FB friends in an eyecatching manner.

So if you’re commenting, be aware that other people might be looking.

3) How to know who is seeing your comments on other people’s posts:

In your ticker, hover over the comment and you’ll see the whole post & all its comments. Look for the blue “Like Comment Share” line and hover over the gray gear icon or people’s heads icon. A popup will show you who can see this post and all its comments, including yours. Now you know. Knowing is good, I always think.

There’s lots more privacy tweaking to be done, but these are the big new things to watch out for.

UPDATE: Apparently today’s Facebook changes were nothing compared to what’s coming down the pike:

But these changes are just the beginning. The changes Facebook will roll out on Thursday are designed to enhance the emotional connection its users have to each other through Facebook. These changes will make Facebook a place where nearly everything in your life is enhanced by your social graph. These changes will make it so you know your friends better than you ever thought you could.

Um, creepy much?

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8 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Sara says:

    It’s getting creepier by the day, though i don’t have the new changes yet! Thanks for posting this. Doesn’t google+ have that same thing where the last circle you posted to becomes the default?

  2. coffeemamma says:

    Exactly why I’ve not joined Facebook- too much work on my part to protect my privacy. And yes, very creepy :/

  3. David T. Macknet says:

    It’s more of the same creepiness, really, and why we left them with the first change to their privacy policy.

  4. Melissa Wiley says:

    @David, you & T are wise…I’m there uneasily but doggedly because, well, it’s the online online venue that has drawn my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters-in-law, (one of) my sisters, etc. I stay at Facebook not to share my own stuff but to read theirs. What to do?

    @Sara, yup, post settings are sticky on G+ too. But there the “sharing with” box is so much more visible. And it was like that from the start, not a change sprung on us.

  5. Becky says:

    Thanks for this, Lissa. I don’t use Facebook, but two of my kids do, and posts like this are a big help for us to keep up with all the changes; actually, I *am* on Facebook, but only unofficially, so I can supervise their accounts.

    I had to laugh the other day when Google opened +You to the public — when I clicked on the blue arrow, I got a box to help me start my public Google profile, and they already had my name, “Becky Sharp”, in the boxes. Thank goodness for aliases! I used to feel rather paranoid when I started online with a pseudonym, but now it’s more relief than anything else.

  6. Amy Caroline says:

    I am giving up Facebook. I feel bad because there are a few people I will really miss, lol.

  7. Amy Caroline says:

    Oh, sorry,
    and as my daughter said, “I don’t want my friends to know me that well!!”


  8. Kathy says:

    Yeah, I dumped FB about 18 months back and every new change just makes me gladder that I did.