Facebook News Feed and Wall: How To Control Privacy

Facebook at night A Facebook friend recently mentioned she was intentionally responding to new Facebook friend requests late at night as she didn’t want to clog up her friends’ feeds. Thing is, there’s a setting in your Facebook Privacy to control exactly what gets published on your Facebook Wall and your friends’ News Feeds.

I have my settings tweaked so that when I add a new friend this is not published on my Wall or friends’ News Feeds. One of the main reasons was, like my girlfriend, I didn’t want to clog up my friends’ feeds.

But, also, what I found was that some folks would watch my feed and see who I was becoming friends with, then reach out to them and infer we had a much deeper connection than was so. Such is the nature of Facebook friends — it could be someone brand new you’ve just added or someone you’ve known all your life.

In any case, there are a few settings you may not be aware of either when it comes to what content you choose to publish on your Wall and, by default, out into your friends’ News Feeds.

How to edit your News Feed and Wall settings:

On the top blue navigation bar, mouseover Settings > then click on Privacy Settings > then click on News Feed and Wall as shown in the screenshot below:

Facebook News Feed and Wall

On the next screen, check or uncheck the settings as you wish. The screenshot below is exactly how I have my settings:

Facebook News Feed Settings

Add a friend

If you have the “Add a friend” setting checked on your News Feed and Wall privacy section, your Wall could look like this when you confirm friend requests en masse:

Facebook friend posts

Plus, this activity may show up in all your friends’ News Feeds. There could be very strategic reasons to leave this setting checked as maybe you want people to see how many friends you’re adding, or who they are. But my preference is to have it private for reasons mentioned above.

I’ve been at the 5,000 Facebook friend limit since fall 2008 but I do monitor my News Feed very closely to ensure the people in my inner circle are a match for my style and vice versa. (By the way, if ever you remove a friend, no notifications go out at all. I know this is a concern for many folks!)

Show Wall posts or not?

If you also use Facebook for personal purposes and want to keep personal separate from business, you might want to give thought to this Wall setting. In other words, if you prefer to have the Wall posts you write only show up on that friend’s Wall and not be published out into the News Feed of all your friends, uncheck the top setting. (There is a much more granular way to control your Publisher settings which I’ll write about in a separate post).

I tend to be totally open and use Facebook for strategic professional networking 99% of the time. Every action creates visibility so I’m happy for all Wall posts to go into all friends’ feeds.

Facebook Birthday Greetings One thing to consider though is when you’re wishing your friends a happy birthday. Whether it’s you or an assistant that writes birthday greetings, you might want to be aware that every Wall post may go out into your friends’ News Feed assuming the “Show Wall posts” setting is checked. If you have a lot of friends and all you write is “Happy Birthday” on your friends’ Walls one after the other, frankly, I think it looks automated and impersonal. Instead, I suggest mixing up the birthday greetings and perhaps even spacing them out a bit.

Change relationship status

Again, it’s a personal choice. But, for me, I recently went through a personal transition as I wrote about here and I didn’t want to broadcast that news via Facebook. This setting may be irrelevant to most people – but it’s certainly one you should be aware of.

Here’s what your friends might see in their Highlights section on their Home Page, unless the setting is unchecked:

Facebook relationship status

Let me know if you found this post useful and how you like to have your News Feed and Wall settings in the Comments section below. Have you taken advantage of the really granular publishing and privacy settings? What’s your biggest question(s) about these settings?

Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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Posted in Facebook for Business, Facebook Tips, Personal Branding, Privacy, Relationship Management, Reputation Management, Social Media, Social Networking
  • http://communicatevalue.com Christine Gallagher

    Great job Mari. I find my clients are often totally unaware of their privacy settings and how much control they actually do have. Posts like this really help people understand that they can be on Facebook and benefit from it (especially as a biz owner) but do not have to have every single movement they make on the site broadcast.

  • http://www.askjamesholmes.com James Holmes

    Mari – I just love your work, you are always providing information and ideas that are immediately actionable and result in our online efforts being just that little more effective today.

    I particular appreciate your comment regarding notes like Birthday wishes on the news feed. If you are going to take the time to post a note to a friend, make it personal. As we know, it only take 5% more effort to effectively build community through social media and truly engage with people.

    Great post!

    James
    http://Twitter.com/AskJamesHolmes

  • http://www.StreetSmartWealth.com Jackie Ulmer

    This was very helpful and I had not previously explored the privacy settings. There have been times my “business” friends have “friended” my personal friends and created some tension, so I am glad to have the Add Friend info, for sure.

    Thanks Mari!

    EXPECT Success!

    Jackie Ulmer

  • Louis Halpern

    People should be pro-active with thier privacy settings on all thier socicail media sites.

    Very nicely explained. Thanks I’ll bookmark this page.

  • http://www.ConsultBigPicture.com Dawn Lennon

    I’ve been on Facebook for about 20 days and it has been both exciting and daunting. Your tips here are immensely helpful and have been duly instituted. I marvel at what appears to be your bottomless energy and am grateful for your generous efforts to share your knowledge. I too am in the “help others” business which, I believe we agree, is not an oxymoron! I’m following you and attempting to be a capable student. Many thanks.

    All the best,
    Dawn

  • http://www.ghostqueen.com MarVeena

    Thank you Mari for a good explantation of how this works. You have been a blessing to my twitter and facebook experience!

    Blessings
    MarVeena-The Ghost Queen

  • saisree

    i am unable to find the option news feed n wall for the past two or three days…n i desperatley wantto change my setting..pls kindly help me out.how can i change my settings now?

  • saisree

    i am unable to find the settings of news feed n wall in my privacy settings…plllllllllllllllllease help me!!!

  • Pat Doyle

    I agree with saisree, I can’t find the settings for “News Feed and Wall” either. Has Facebook changed something?

  • cookie

    @ saisree

    Me too ! I don’t want others to see what I post on my friend’s wall. But I don’t see the option news feed and wall.

    Help please !

  • http://bonniescalhoun.com Bonnie Calhoun

    All of a sudden it is posting all that crap to my wall again, and the Newsfeeds and Wall section is gone from the privacy list. Do you know where it is hiding now?

  • Larry Corbi

    Hi Mari! Thanks for your awesome leadership out there…very cool.
    I was wondering if you had an update on the new “News Feed and Wall settings.” I can’t seem to find it anywhere and my old settings changed.
    Can you point me in the right direction on how to edit these settings? Thanks always Mari.

    Much success,
    Larry

  • http://www.ppacri.org Paul Hiatt

    I was looking over your info on privacy settings options, and I don’t have the “Newsfeed and Wall” option on my privacy list – any ideas on why?

    Thanks!

    Paul

  • Cindy

    I was searching on how to change who appears in my news feeds and came across this information which I thought would be helpful. Since jFacebook updated and made several changes a few months ago, these tabs no longer are the ones on the privacy settings. Please consider updating this information. The tips were great as to what to have private and why or why not though. Thank you.

  • stephane guay

    how do i get all wall post on at the same time insted of hitting older post like 200 time? it to time comsuming that way tky!

  • Shanna

    same question, different person … where can we find the privacy settings for news feed and wall in the new version of Facebook? Also, is there a way to not post to your profile every time you comment on someone’s status? Thanks!!

  • http://www.shelleycarlisle.com Shelley Carlisle

    Hi Mari,
    I am reading this post 1.19.10; there is no longer a “News Feed & Wall posts” privacy option, unless it is somewhere else in FB that I cannot find.
    Any suggestions?
    I appreciate all the wonderful information you share with the world.
    Warmly, Shelley

  • Susan

    Hi Mari,

    I have the same exact question as in the previous post by Shelly Carsisle.

    Since there is no longer a “News Feed & Wall Posts” privacy option, is there another way to “hide” my posts to other’s walls so they don’t go into the general feed to all my friends?

    Thank you,
    Susan

  • Scott

    Hi Mari,

    I have the same exact question as in the previous post by Shelly Carsisle and Susan.

    Since there is no longer a “News Feed & Wall Posts” privacy option, is there another way to “hide” my posts to other’s walls so they don’t go into the general feed to all my friends?

    Thank you,

    Scott

  • ?

    what gives. Please explain the recent change.

  • prita

    now the option is gone.

  • Cristina

    I have the same question as several others – with the new profiles, there seems to be no way to change relationship status without notifying everyone in their News Feed… is there a way with the new Facebook Profiles to change relationship status (especially if you break up!) without notifying everyone in the News Feed but still letting it be seen on your “Info”? Help!

    Thank you,
    Cristina

  • Sctt Macgregor

    I want to be able to post a comment on a page and not have it appear on my wall or any one else’s wall or news feed. Your directions said to go to the top blue navigation bar and mouse over to “settings”. There is not “settings” on the top blue navigation bar. It says “account”. Then you said after clicking on “settings”, click on “privacy settings” which only appears under “account” and not under “settings”. Then you say click on “news feed and wall” and you even show a picture where the “news feed and wall” is between “search” and “Applications” but it’s not listed on mine. I see the “applications” and “search” but the “news feed and wall” that is between them in your picture, is not there for me to click on. How do I find it the “news feed and wall”?

  • Huron

     can we still do this?

  • Marouen

    I think I have the answer. When you go to your New feed (wall), go to anywhere it says that you added someone as a friend. In front if this message, when you move the mouse on the message, a small cross will appear. Click on it and Facebook will ask you to confirm what you wanna do. Select either to delete just this message or all the friendship activities. And it is done.

  • guest_1

    there are not anymore these options?? can we still control the “News feed and wall” settings?? I use to like friend’s pictures and that appears in my friend’s news feed as single picture one by one… I don’t want anymore to share the picture I liked with all my friends!!

  • Gina Marie Bc

    This is not helpful because what you say to do is not there.  Bummer

  • guest

    Yep, I have the same feeling. It’s very annoying to show all non-mutual friends the pics that you liked or commented on. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about it now because this article was written in August 2009, while now we have a different kind of Facebook which allows us less privacy :( That’s why we can’t find the “News Feed and Wall” label in Privacy Settings.

  • Val

    Oh this is just what I wanted to do, but it doesn’t work like that anymore in the new fb … damn … does anyone have a solution ?

  • Affenbar

    This all sounds great, but I don’t get the screen that is shown above when I go to privacy settings. I too would like to have “now friends” NOT show up on my wall.  Also, the photos I post on my wall are not showing up on my news feed and also are not seen by my friends (I have set it to do so). Help please!

  • Ldewitte

    exactly my idea!!!! but how???!!!!

  • ???? ??????

    It was great thank you for sharing this useful???? ???? * ?????? ???? ???? ????? * ????? ???? * ??? ???? * ??? ????? * ???? ??????

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