Close the Facebook
April 2, 2012 6:16 AM   Subscribe

I thought that, once upon a time, my Facebook privacy settings were pretty locked down. Now, it seems like everyone on my friends list can see things I do on other friends' pages. Can I stop this?

I have always tried to be diligent about keeping my Facebook privacy settings fairly strict. Lately, though, I've noticed something that never happened before. When I comment on a friend's post, other people who I am friends with (but have no relation to the person doing the posting) are able to see, comment on, and share the post.

For example, yesterday Friend A posted a picture. i commented on it. Then, Friend B, whose only connection to A is through me, shared the same picture as well. I don't think this used to happen.

Another example: Friend C posts a status update. I comment on that. Then, Friend D (again, no relation to C) comments on the status update as well.

The other thing that has happened is that I have posted a picture and restricted it to "Friends Only." Then, Friend E commented on it. Soon afterward, another person that I do not know "liked" the picture.

Now, I don't have anything on Facebook that I don't mind my mother or potential employer seeing. However, I find this to be a bit alarming. I don't expect Facebook to be completely private and secure, but I am still not sure how this is happening. I thought, at first, that my friends' posts were public, and therefore anybody could see them, but I am certain that my picture is "Friends Only" and yet a person who is not my Friend was apparently able to see it and interact with it.

I'd like this to stop, if at all possible. I don't mind things I post to my own Facebook page to be available to any of my friends, but I don't like the idea that I am opening up things my friends have posted to others that they have not explicitly authorized to see them.

Is there anything I can do about this? I have set up a number of lists of Friends, and that helps restrict my posts to my own page, but that doesn't seem to be precisely the problem.
posted by synecdoche to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's the privacy settings of your friends that is the problem. If they share with friends of friends, I don't think there is anything you can do about it. I think you are seeing the increase because of the damn ticker. People now see that somebody commented on X, which drives them to the post, and then they comment.

Which, of course, is exactly what Facebook wanted when they forced that damn ticker on us in the first place.
posted by COD at 6:32 AM on April 2, 2012

Gah. That's irritating. There's nothing that I'm embarrassed about, but I have a relative who must chime in on everything about which he has an opinion, which is rather a lot.
posted by synecdoche at 6:39 AM on April 2, 2012

It's totally irritating, but as far as I have been able to find, there is not way to stop it. I'll be watching to see if anyone else knows, but my repeated investigation and checking and re-checking of settings hasn't found a solution. Other than never posting again, which gets more and more appealing.
posted by looli at 7:13 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

If anyone is tagged in the picture you posted, it will by default be visible to the friends of those people. You can change this for each picture by clicking on the drop-down privacy settings menu, clicking on "Custom", unchecking the "Friends of those tagged" box, and clicking "Save Changes".
posted by beryllium at 7:13 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Could you write a comment on a friend's post, then go into your Notifications on your wall/timeline and delete the notification that "synechdoche commented on another user's picture..."?

I would test this, but I'm blocked from FB here.
posted by smitt at 8:08 AM on April 2, 2012

What we really need is the ability to selectively block friends of friends, so we don't see them in the comments on other walls.
posted by COD at 8:54 AM on April 2, 2012

Just to expand on COD's comment, the privacy of comments on FB is determined by the privacy of the original status update/picture/whatever that is being commented on, not the privacy settings of the commenter.

Which is annoying in some ways, but also makes sense: if the visibility of comments were determined by the commenter's privacy settings, you'd have lots of situations where comments in response to other comments which would seem out of context.

E.g., suppose A is friends with B, C, and D. C is also friends with both B and D, but B and D are not friends with each other. And suppose each person has set their comments to be visible to their friends only. Then you would get things like:

A: [posts picture of cute puppy]
B: What a cute puppy! I had a puppy once. It got run over by a car.
C: Oh, how tragic. I'm so sorry.
D (sees C's comment but not B's): ?????

As it is, everyone who can see the original picture sees all of the comments, so you don't get out-of-context situations like the one above.

And yes, as COD says, it was always possible to see these, but the ticker has made them much more visible than they were before. I've trained myself to check the privacy of friends' posts/pictures/etc. before commenting on or even liking them; if they're "public" or "friends of friends" I either make no comment at all or only a very blandly inoffensive one. (And then if it's the "gear" icon you have to hover over it, since FB is doubling up on that to mean either "friends of friends" or "custom," which are very different in terms of whether I'm willing to comment on it.)

The other thing that has happened is that I have posted a picture and restricted it to "Friends Only." Then, Friend E commented on it. Soon afterward, another person that I do not know "liked" the picture.

Agreeing with beryllium: was anyone tagged (either by you or by a friend) in the picture? If there were no tags on the picture, that shouldn't happen, but tagging will always open it up to the person tagged, and sometimes to friends of the taggee depending on settings.

but I have a relative who must chime in on everything about which he has an opinion, which is rather a lot.

Well, the good thing is that it cuts both ways. If you post a status update and make it visible only to Obnoxious Relative and three other friends, only the five of you who can see the update can see Obnoxious Relative's comment on the update, regardless of Obnoxious Relative's privacy settings.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:22 AM on April 2, 2012

Also a somewhat recent addition to FB - click the arrow to the right of a post. Are you subscribed to All Updates or Most? I have noticed that sometimes if I am subscribed to All, I see when a friend comments on someone else's status or photo, even if I don't know/am not friends with that person. I usually click on Unsubscribe from Friend's Comments and Likes because it feels too stalker-y to watch what they're commenting on, even if it is public. I'm sure other people love this feature.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:37 AM on April 3, 2012

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