Public vs private on Facebook: Do you know the difference? 4



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I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I love it because it allows me to stay connected to the people I’m close to, communicate easily with pretty much anyone, and share my happiest moments in life to a huge audience of people all at once. I also see a lot of cute dog videos on there, which is great.

But what isn’t so great about Facebook is that I always need to be extra careful I don’t accidentally share something I don’t want to.

The thing with Facebook is that nothing you do is anonymous. It is literally an online profile of yourself – your name, your photos, and your life exposed for everyone to see. So it’s important that you only share the things that you want to, because if you don’t…that will be on your name forever!

One common mistake that people make is not being able to distinguish between writing a post and private messaging. Believe it or not, people do mistakenly type private messages into the post section instead, and this message gets published for all to see!

Now, although we’ve covered this topic in recent months, we thought we should revisit it in a little more detail, as it’s still a very common question.

Here’s the distinction, so that you don’t make the same slip up!


What a lot of people do is go onto a friend’s profile page and try to communicate with them from there. When you’re on someone’s profile, you’ll see this at the top:

If you type a message into “Write something to [Friend’s Name]”, and then click “Post”, your friend will receive a notification and see this message on their wall.
However, what some people don’t realise is that this message is also published for all to see! Anyone who goes onto your friend’s profile will see this on your friend’s wall. In addition, it will also appear on people’s Newsfeed – anyone who is on your Friends List will see this post on their Home page!

This message you’ve written for your friend will be public. Only when you intend for others to see what you write to your friend (for example, if you want to wish them a Happy Birthday) do you use this feature to communicate with them.


On your Newsfeed page, you’ll see the icon for private messaging on the top right-hand corner of the screen. If you click on this icon, you will be able to send private messages. These are messages that can only be seen by one person – the person you’re messaging.

Share your questions about Facebook below.

Michelle Pham

Michelle works at ReadyTechGo - an Education business helping people gain confidence and skills to embrace modern technology. All lessons are personalised, and held in the comfort of your own home or office. ReadyTechGo also runs technology workshops to help people discover how to make the most of your devices.

  1. how do you get rid of all the private messages after you have read them?

    1 REPLY
    • You click on the little sign which looks a bit like a star and it gives you the option to delete conversation.

  2. How do I make my fb private so no one can look into it?

    1 REPLY
    • Hi Diane, when you first log into Facebook, you can adjust your privacy settings by clicking on the LOCK icon at the top-right corner for your screen. These settings can be used to adjust who you allow to see your posts. Alternatively, you can go onto your profile, and hide specific posts and photos on your timeline. At the top-right corner of every post, you will see an arrow pointing downwards. Click on this arrow and then click on “Hide from timeline” in the drop-down.

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