Many Facebook users are still confused by an unintuitive privacy setting quirk that can affect their default privacy setting when creating a new post.
Your default privacy setting is probably the most powerful, all-encompassing privacy setting on the platform, and as such, the most important to get right. Any reader of our site will know that when using Facebook, your default privacy setting really should be friends only.
That means all the posts you make on your timeline, including photos and status updates, can only be seen by your Facebook friends, and are hidden from the prying eyes of strangers.
However, we often get complaints from our readers that this important privacy setting keeps changing by itself, reverting from ‘friends only’ to the worst possible setting; public. Many point the finger of blame for this apparent meddling at Facebook themselves.
But it seems likely, in at least some cases, that this is down to some lingering confusion on how the audience selector feature works when creating a new post. Let’s clear up the confusion.
While a user may have the friends only privacy setting applied, there may come a time when they want to create a public post. To do this, a user can change the privacy of the post using the audience selector option when creating a new post, as per below.
However, while a user may believe that changing this option will apply only to the post they are currently in the process of creating, they are actually changing their default privacy setting, which will affect all future posts a user makes going forward.
Yes, this is somewhat unintuitive. A user may justly believe that changing the audience selector option in the “create new post” box will affect only the post currently being made. But in reality this is essentially a shortcut to your platform-wide default privacy setting.
And we imagine some users aren’t realising this, and somewhere down the line they notice that all their new posts are set to public, and point the finger at Facebook, blaming them for automatically changing their privacy settings.
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So it’s a quirk that’s certainly worth mentioning. If you do want to change the privacy setting for a single post (for example, make it public instead of friends only) then you need to change the audience for the post after you’ve posted it. So select the edit option on the post once you’ve posted it, and then change the audience. This won’t change your default privacy level.
Alternatively you can just remember to change the default privacy setting back to its original setting once you’ve published the post.
Either way, now you know, hopefully you won’t get caught out.
To change your default privacy setting, go your main settings (arrow on top right for desktop users, the three lined icon for mobile app users) and select Settings & Privacy, then Settings and then under privacy it’s the Who can see my future posts? option.