Since Facebook redesigned their privacy settings, many users have become confused with the difference between wall posts, tagging, commenting and how to control the visibility. I regularly receive emails asking about making wall posts private among other things, so I figured it would be a good idea to clarify the difference between wall posts (on friends walls), restricted updates, and comments. This brief guide will explain the difference between each and some of the best practices for posting updates.
Wall Posts Were Meant To Be Public
Wall posts, a feature which originally evolved from the MySpace and Friendster “Testimonials” area on profile pages, are a form of public message. When you visit a user’s profile, you can leave them a note which they will see as well as all of their friends. Any mutual friends that you have will also receive a news feed story which notifies them of the wall post. There is no way to make wall posts that you make on your friends’ profiles private, because they are meant to be public. If you want to make the message private, there are two alternatives: send a message or post a private update to your wall and tag your friend.
Posting Private Updates
While most people understand how to post messages on walls, many users still have not figured out how to control the visibility of those posts. In the video below I highlight the difference between profile wall posts (which currently have no privacy settings) and those posts which you make from your own profile publisher. The idea is that you can publish content which will have limited visibility and that your friends won’t be able to see. Also the news feed story generated by your wall post will not be visible to others. Watch the video below to learn how to make private posts through Facebook’s tagging feature.
Unfortunately you can’t control the visibility of generic wall posts on your friends’ profiles right now, however the purpose of wall posts was originally to make them public. If you have something that you want to keep private, you can use the publisher privacy settings as highlighted in the video or you can send a private message directly to your friend’s inbox. If you want a complete overview of managing your Facebook privacy, you can check out our new Facebook privacy guide.