"That girl looks nice, I'm glad you commented on her party picture"
April 5, 2010 6:29 AM   Subscribe

FacebookFilter: how can I prevent un-connected connections of mine to see comments I leave on one or the other's status/photos/videos/whatever?

Case in point: my mother. Of course I accepted her in there, and of course she can see anything I post on my account. But she can also see comments I post on publications of people that she doesn't know and who she's not friend with.

I don't publish overly outrageous things and don't live a dual life which I want to hide from her, but really, I'd rather she could only see comments I leave on publications from people we have in common, and that's it. Today she was able to fully name a new female friend of mine, to my great surprise, simply because I left a compliment on one of her latest picture. DO NOT WANT :)

Privacy parameters do not seem to help, friends lists are only useful for things *I* publish, not comments I leave, and my Google-fu is failing me. It might just be that Facebook is happy to let this kind of things happen -- to the delight of my mother, I shall add.

Also: removing family from Facebook not an option :)

Thanks for any help, MeFites!
posted by XiBe to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I suspect you will, as many of us have, find that facebook management is WAY too difficult to allow the type of filtering you're looking for, and if facebook doesn't change the rules just when you don't expect it, your needs about filtering will change....

Either have two facebook accounts, or never post anything that you don't want EVERYONE in the world to see/read, or, use e/mail to communicate with friends/family instead of facebook.
posted by HuronBob at 6:37 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I use FB a lot, and I don't really understand what you mean. Is the problem that Friend X has their entire profile public, and thereby makes public your comments as well? And your mother is - what - Googling for these comments? Because I can't see comments, posted by mutual friends, on their non-mutual friends' walls, links, posts, etc. unless the non-mutual friend has a public profile, and in that case they are not streamed to me, I'd have to go Googling for them. If this is the case, perhaps just don't post on the pages of people with public profiles (easier said than done, I guess).

I do not automatically see the comments of any mutual friends on non-friend posts.

I tend to think that FB is not a good fit for people who are perturbed by their own friends and family seeing their comments - you have SO many more problems than that, privacy-wise, that if this is a big bugaboo I might suggest throwing in the towel on FB.
posted by bunnycup at 6:43 AM on April 5, 2010

My live/news feed doesn't show comments that other people make on non-mutual friend's walls (but I can see pictures that they were tagged in). So if I'm friends with you, but not your mom, your mom can see pictures that I tag of you in her feed, but won't (for example) see your comments on a link I posted. The only way your mom can see these, AFAIK, is by going to your profile and clicking on every single "XiBe posted a comment on kro's link" and tracking those people that have public profiles.

You can delete these off of your wall (just hold your cursor over them, there should be an X on the right hand side to delete) to stop their access to them. But I have to agree with HuronBob- maybe you need 2 different profiles.
posted by kro at 6:49 AM on April 5, 2010

FaceBook removed the 'hide recent activity' on your wall option. You can remove these items individually - but maybe something like FaceBook Filter would help if you use FireFox? I don't use this myself - I just blocked my Mom entirely.
posted by kittyloop at 6:50 AM on April 5, 2010

Best answer: I don't think what you want to do is possible. You can only control the privacy of items that appear on your "Wall." If someone else posts things and has a privacy setting that allows your mother to see it (friends of friends, public, etc), you can't prevent your mom from viewing those (including the comments on those items).
posted by bluefly at 6:53 AM on April 5, 2010

Response by poster: Aaah, your comment, bunnycup, reminded me of something I hadn't thought of: Facebook privacy settings defaulting to "My friends and their friends". I myself have my settings set as "My friends only", but it could very well be that my mother sees comments I leave only when they're on the profile of friends with "friends+their friends" settings, thus making their publication visible to my own friends once I comment on them. That makes sense.

Still, it's a pain to have that thorn. I whish there were some sort of GreaseMonkey script that would inform me of the current profile's privacy settings, in order to avoid the kind of Easter lunch discussion I just had, as innocuous as it was :)
posted by XiBe at 6:55 AM on April 5, 2010

Response by poster: And marking bluefly's answer as the best one, then, since it highlights, as I did, the culprit of the issue.

Thanks guys for chiming in!
posted by XiBe at 6:57 AM on April 5, 2010

There used to be a group called Limited Profile that you could add people into and they would see just the bare minimum on your profile. That's where all my family went into. With the new changes, I haven't seen how that group acts now. If you'd like, I'll check it out and post back.
posted by deezil at 7:09 AM on April 5, 2010

I know you've chosen a best answer already, but I'm guessing that kro and kittyloop are referring to the actual way that your mom is finding these. It's a lot more intuitive for her to simply go to your wall, see all of the activity that you've had on other people's profiles/pictures/links/whatever, and follow those, than it is for her to google you. If you simply remove the automatic notation that Facebook makes to that activity, she won't know that you've done it and won't be able to follow it. Unless you want other friends to be able to spy on your activity, in which case you're SOL until Facebook builds that into their filtering system.
posted by scarykarrey at 7:14 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

deezil, as far as I can tell (although I could be missing something), facebook removed the limited profile. You can disallow people from seeing your status updates, wall posts, links, photos, etc all at once, and anything you post to somone's comments/photos is fair game unless you delete it, assuming that they have it set to a public/my friends and their friends setting. You also can't allow someone to see, for example, your status updates but not the pictures that you post.
posted by kro at 7:27 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

deezil, as far as I can tell (although I could be missing something), facebook removed the limited profile. You can disallow people from seeing your status updates, wall posts, links, photos, etc all at once, and anything you post to somone's comments/photos is fair game unless you delete it, assuming that they have it set to a public/my friends and their friends setting. You also can't allow someone to see, for example, your status updates but not the pictures that you post.

You can totally limit what various people see. I have a Work list of friends that cannot see anything but basic info. You just set your privacy settings to only friends Except (insert people you want to hide from.) A way for the op to get around mom hunting wall posts down is to not let her see your wall posting activity. This seems to let things through if you post on their wall as I've done sometimes with co-workers.
posted by edbles at 8:21 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's a little odd that you've given the only "best answer" to a comment that says there's no way around this. Kro and edbles have the right idea.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:45 AM on April 5, 2010

No, they don't have the right idea. Sorry. If you comment on someone else's wall, anyone who can see their wall will be able to see your comment. If you comment on someone else's photo, anyone who can see the photo will be able to see your comment -- regardless of your privacy settings, etc. The only solution is to not comment anywhere but your own profile.
posted by elisabethjw at 9:24 AM on April 5, 2010

Edbles, I just didn't phrase what I was trying to say correctly...it's been a long week. Facebook groups your "Status Updates, Links, Notes, Photos, and Videos you post" (copied so I didn't miss anything) into one privacy setting- so you can set a group of people to see those things and a group of people not to see them, but you can't let someone see your status updates, links, and notes but not your photos and videos.

I also agree with not commenting anywhere but your own profile- but unless the OP's mom rabidly stalks all those people who's walls they normally post on, deleting the record of it from their recent activity will make it very hard to see whose wall they were writing on. Deleting it doesn't remove the comment or make it hidden to anyone else, but it does remove the link from your wall to their wall. Reading back over my previous comments, I apparently need more caffeine or something, I'm not making what I'm saying very clear.
posted by kro at 9:43 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

No, they don't have the right idea. Sorry. If you comment on someone else's wall, anyone who can see their wall will be able to see your comment.

I know, but that's not what the OP is asking about. Reread the question.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:54 AM on April 5, 2010

Response by poster: I see this still gets answers, thanks people!

Jaltcoh, I marked bluelfy's comment as best answer, because it explains why such behaviour is happening. Having a workaround would indeed be nice, but poking around, I don't think there's any. I'd be happy to be proven wrong here, but Kro and edbles' answers still don't seem to fit the bill.

Limited profiles: I'm happy to let my family members and close relatives see anything that gets posted on my Wall, so I won't put them in such a closed profile. I do use such a limited Friends List for a few people, and I hope it works.

Deleting notifications from my own Wall: tried it, and it didn't seem to impact my mother's wall (I tested it with her account on her computer). Which seems even weirder. A cache issue might explain this, will check back later...

I don't want to shunt her from my postings, only would rather her not seeing postings on the profiles of people whom she's not friend with -- which seems reasonable, but impossible because of the "friends and friends of my friends" default setting, hence the best answer above.

My mom is not much of a stalker: she won't click my profile to make sure she can trace me back to any other profile on FB. She simply refreshes her homepage here and there, and dutifully reports her findings :)

Also, I do not know why some people mention Google in here. Maybe I missed something.
posted by XiBe at 10:05 AM on April 5, 2010

I tested it with her account on her computer

For future reference there's a widget in the privacy area somewhere that let's you see what your profile looks like to another user. Click the preview my profile button and punch in a friends name.

Perhaps there’s a behavioral fix here instead? Just a little “Hey mom when you comment on stuff I do with my friends on Facebook it sort of feels like I'm 15 and you are following me around while I hang out with my friends at the mall… I know you pay attention because you love me but it feels a little snoopy from this side of the fence.”

Kro: Ohhhhhh I totally see what your saying, I saw the photos category and assumed that limiting access to that limited access to all photos, but it just limits access to albums. Any photos you post to your wall get limited by the postings you make category.
posted by edbles at 1:02 PM on April 5, 2010

Also, kittyloop is right that you can't automatically disable the "recent activity" thing on your Wall. The one thing of other people's posts you can control in privacy settings is who can see photos and videos you are "tagged" in. In the privacy settings it's the "Photos and Videos of me" one. So if someone else posts a picture and tags you in it, you can prevent people from seeing it even though you didn't upload it.
posted by bluefly at 2:12 PM on April 5, 2010

Elisabeth is technically wrong. When you 'block' people, they will not see your comments and you will not see theirs. Blocking someone is completely different than just privatizing these things and works for people both on AND off of your friends list. Granted, you cannot block someone that is a friend as it will cut that connection entirely. Blocking is great for exes, creepsters and creepster exes.

Bluefly is also a little off, as you can no longer tag someone in a photo without getting your permission first. So before you've given permission, you just need to make sure the parameters are in place to hide it.

I have my "Work" settings so that all they can see is my actual profile - no feed news whatsoever. It will show the groups I am a part of and pages that I "fan", but will not tell them when I added it (though I'm pretty sure you can change that setting too). However, it should be noted that no matter what, anyone and everyone will be allowed to see any photos you have ever set (in the history of your FB account) as your profile photo and if you're not careful, any photo galleries you might have made. This becomes pretty important when people try to privatize their photos, but then leave the albums open - which are usually the ones you want to hide to begin with; MAGGIE'S 21 (AGAIN!) RUN!, ~GIVING BIRTH~, WHY I DIDN'T GO TO WORK THAT MORNING -- LOL!!1!

If your mom is, for whatever reason, mutual friends with people whose content you are worried about, there's really no other option than cutting one of those ties. On the other end of the spectrum, my mother continually asks me if it's okay that she added me and is it okay if she posts on my wall and if she's embarrassing and should she stop commenting in heated conversations.

Either way, perhaps it is as simple as asking your mother to respect that your life is your life.

If you have any questions about how to achieve these types of settings, feel free to PM me. There's always a lot of misinformation about what you can and cannot do on FB, and I don't blame anyone. They change their layout and their ToS so much it's damn near impossible unless you're a junkie like me.
posted by june made him a gemini at 1:04 AM on April 6, 2010

I forgot to add that each status update/"Share" post has privacy settings now, and mine is currently set to Only Friends; Except: Work, and you have the option of making that your default for each post as well.
posted by june made him a gemini at 1:10 AM on April 6, 2010

Response by poster: Again, thanks for chiming in, but I'm afraid you have some information wrong.

1) My mother and the girl I commented the party picture of are not mutual friends, and don't even know each other. It's just that, through me, they're part of each other "Friends of my friends" network.

2) I'm not concerned things I post on my wall, about my pictures, videos, etc. All of these are under control, and I both know my family will see them, AND know the privacy settings that pertain to each (like you June: "Only Friends; Except Limited Profiles" and such).

My concern is when I simply comment on someone's picture, which triggers the "Friend of my Friends" network (if that person's profile is set to the default privacy settings), and thus makes that picture and its comments visible on the Top News/Most Recent newsfeed of people who would otherwise not have access to such publication.

But, an update: after a few hours, it seems deleting notifications from my own Wall did work: I'm not seeing the picture nor the comment on my mom's profile. Success! :)
posted by XiBe at 2:49 AM on April 6, 2010

Response by poster: Update to the update: turns out, not. The commented picture still shows up, even if the notification is now deleted from my Wall.
I guess I'd need to delete from my own newsfeed the the picture-publication itself (not the comment notification from my Wall). But wouldn't that filter out further published pictures from that friend of mine to appear in my newsfeed?
posted by XiBe at 5:01 AM on April 6, 2010

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