Facebook changes – the TICKER problem
At around 1am EST on September 21, 2011 Facebook made a drastic change to your newsfeed. One of the most noticeable changes is a “ticker” at the top right side of your screen. This “ticker” shows you what your friends are doing in real time. As if anyone really needed to see all that. :-\
One of the problems with the “ticker” is that it shows every single comment you make on your friends’ posts. That means that friends of yours can see comments you make on other friends’ posts, even if they’re not friends with each other. For those of us who value our privacy, this is a HUGE problem!
I spent about an hour tonight, experimenting with some friends to find some solutions to this “ticker” problem we now have. I’ll try to explain each one in as much detail as possible.
You are friends with Jack and Jill. Jack and Jill are NOT friends with each other. They are NON-mutual friends. You want to post a comment on Jack’s status, but if you do, Jill might see your comment in her “ticker”. Not cool, especially if you happen to be saying something about Jill that you’d rather Jill not see.
Before you comment on Jack’s post (status, link, photo, etc.), check to see what the privacy settings are for that post. To do this, hover your mouse over the symbol to the right of the time-stamp on the post. You will see one of four options: the post will be shared with either the Public, Friends of Friends, Friends only, or a Custom list of friends. If the post is set to anything BUT Public, then you are safe; Jill will not see your comment on her “ticker”. If the original post is set to Public, then you can either choose not to comment, or you can ask Jack to change the privacy of that post to anything but Public.
You are friends with both Jack and Jill, and they are also friends with each other. They are mutual friends. If you make a comment on Jack’s post, chances are Jill will see that comment in her “ticker”. Of course, Jill would be able to see the post and all comments to that post if she went to Jack’s wall, so this isn’t really a privacy concern, it’s only a “ticker” problem. Maybe you don’t want Jill to be alerted to your presence online at that exact moment, and you commenting on a mutual friend’s post would alert her that you’re online and commenting. Again, if she happened to be looking at that particular post, or was hanging out on Jack’s wall, she’d see you comment anyway. The point is, you don’t want everyone seeing every little comment you make ALL. THE. TIME.
This is where you change YOUR privacy settings, to keep your activity a little more private and off the “ticker”. Go to your profile. Find a post that says something to the effect of “You commented on Jack’s status.” Hover your mouse over the post, then click the hazy blue “X” that shows up to the right of that post. Click on the option that says “Hide all recent comment activity from my profile.” Verify your choice by clicking on “Hide All”. Now do the same to any other type of activity you don’t want seen by everyone on the “ticker”, like who you’ve recently friended. Voilà – no more comment showing up in everyone’s “ticker”.
You want to post a status, but you only want your family to be able to see that post. First, you must create a “friend list”, or you can use the one that Facebook provided with the changes that happened sometime last week. On the left side of your Home Page, hover your mouse over the word “Lists”, then click on the word “More”. You’ll be taken to a new page, where you will find the many lists that Facebook has provided, or you can create your own list. Click on the Family List, and you can add friends to that list.
Once you have all of your family added to the list, you can now post a status that will only be seen by people on that list. Type out your status, but before you click “Post”, click the button to the left of the “Post” button, and you will be able to choose a list of people that you want to see your status. Click on “Family”, then post your status. You can change this later if you decide it’s ok for everyone to see your status. But remember, if you make it PUBLIC, then when someone comments on that status, their friends will be able to see it in their feed, even if they are not a friend of yours!
This one is very simple. If you post to Facebook from an outside source … Twitter, for example … it will NOT show up in the “ticker”, nor will comments made to that Twitter post.
So, there ya have it. The fruits of my labor (and the labor of my wonderful friends Ali, Mary and D.a. who were a HUGE help to me in figuring this all out).
Be careful with what you post out there in Facebook-land! And NEVER take your privacy settings for granted. You never know when Facebook will make a major change, and obliterate the settings you’ve come to expect to keep your stuff PRIVATE.