Question from Greg: I have my Facebook privacy set to “Friends”, not “Public”.
If I post something on my Timeline, can my friends’ friends who are not on my own friends list see it?
Also, if I comment on a friend’s post, can their friends who are not my friends too see my comment?
Thank you for your time.
Rick’s answer: Those are great questions, Greg. And the answers depend entirely on what everyone’s privacy settings are set to.
In a nutshell, every Facebook user has complete control over who is allowed to see the photos, status updates, comments and other info that is posted on his/her Timeline.
Since you have your privacy set to “Friends”, that means only the people who are actually on your Friends List will be able to see your posts.
Your friends’ friends won’t be able to see your posts unless they are on your Friends List as well (i.e. they are mutual friends).
However, the situation is a little different when you post on another user’s Timeline or comment on one of their own posts.
Since every Facebook user has complete control over who sees the items that end up on their Timeline, who will be allowed to see your posts or comments on someone else’s Timeline depends on that user’s privacy settings, not yours.
For example, lets say you post a “Happy Birthday” greeting on a friend’s Timeline (which of course happens all the time on Facebook).
If that friend has their privacy level set to “Public” any user on Facebook (that you haven’t blocked and hasn’t blocked you) will be able to see your birthday greeting even though your own account’s privacy is set to “Friends”.
Likewise, if their privacy is set to “Friends”, everyone on their friends list will be able to see your greeting even if they’re not also friends with you.
Now, I must mention one caveat that pertains to Facebook groups…
Everything that’s posted to a Facebook group can be seen (and reacted to) by each and every person who is a member of that group.
That means if you post something to a Facebook group, every member of that group will be able to see your post, and that even includes people you have “blocked” from seeing your profile and posts.
And now, here’s one final thing to consider…
Although this doesn’t apply to you since you have your account’s privacy set to “Friends”, Facebook’s Terms of Service (which we all agree to by using Facebook) gives them the right to take anything that’s posted with a “Public” setting and share it with anyone and everyone in an advertisement or for pretty much any other purpose.
In fact, they can even share your public posts and/or photos on a different website if they choose to do so (and they actually do that on occasion). This post has more information on that.
Bottom line: You (and every other Facebook user) control who is allowed to see the things that are posted on your Timeline, even if they are posted by someone else.
What’s more, the privacy level you choose for your own posts cannot be over-ridden by any other user. And the same applies to another person’s privacy level when you post something on their Timeline.
In other words, if it’s on your Timeline then your privacy level determines who can see it.
However, if it’s on another person’s Timeline then their privacy level determines who can see it, and that even applies to things posted there by you or some other user.
I hope this helps, Greg. Good luck!
Bonus tip: This post explains why true privacy simply doesn’t exist on Facebook (or anywhere else on the Internet for that matter).
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