Monday, 25 June 2012

Facebook - A Public Service Announcement

Recently, I've noticed various people in my Facebook feed who have seemingly decided to make their posts public.  However, when I've messaged them to let them know, they've all been horrified and immediately amended their settings to keep their posts friends only or some other custom setting.

How does it happen?  Why does Facebook suddenly start making your updates public?

Read on, and find out how you can stop yourself from making potentially embarrassing social media faux pas...

When you update your Facebook status on a computer, you will do it in a box that looks like this:

Next to the button where it says "Post", you'll see a drop-down arrow.  Clicking on it brings up a range of options, like this:

Most people choose to share their status updates with their friends on Facebook (perhaps unsurprisingly!), but you can customise your settings still further so that you can share specific things with certain people and not others (useful for all sorts of reasons...).

What you might not know is that if you change your settings once, it keeps them like that for the next post you make, and the next (including photos, videos, etc you may choose to share).  So whilst you may want to broadcast to the world that you've had a lovely meal at a certain restaurant, you may not want everyone to know that you've just fallen over the dog.

Where many people seem to come unstuck is using Facebook from their phone, because if you don't let your settings load properly (and sometimes it'll take several tries, especially if you're in an area with poor signal), the Facebook app automatically posts as "Public".  And then, even if you use Facebook from a computer next time, it will still be making your posts public unless you amend your settings again.  You can do this very easily by just posting another status update with the settings changed.

Have a look down your feed - have you got friends who may be sharing more than they think with the outside world?  You'll see the icon for Public, Friends or Custom under each post - if you see a lot of globe icons, point them in the direction of this blog post.

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