How Private Are Your Facebook Posts?

Sara Greenfield / 0 Comments /

Facebook have been making changes to their search function.

On the face of it, this is great — it provides more competition for Google and will help you with market research for your business. But as I was writing this post, I realised there is another side to these changes.

It means that your posts on your personal profile could show up in random searches.

Often new developments are rolled out in the US first, and take a while to get to us in the UK, but when I ran a few searches on facebook today, they did bring up posts from outside my usual sphere of influence. The results weren’t great. For example, I searched “spa in the UK” and it brought up posts with the words “UK and Spain”. Perhaps the full version is still to be rolled out over here.

However, in the long term, this will increasingly offer an alternative to Google. The benefit of Facebook Search is that it will show places and businesses visited by friends, which will nearly always sway your choice, especially if you are looking for a local restaurant or similar type of business.

Facebook has 1.5 billion active users and its search will pull up content from all 2 trillion existing posts.

To put this into context, Nasa says that:

One year of clock time =

(60sec/min) x (60 min/hr) x (24 hr/da) x (365.25 da) = 3.16 x 107 sec

One trillion seconds of ordinary clock time =

( 1012 sec)/( 3.16 x 107 sec/yr) = 31,546 years!

So, by my reckoning, if you were to try to count all the facebook posts in existence it would take you 63,092 years.

Now, cast your mind back to all the posts you have made since you joined Facebook — are there any posts that you might not want to show up in public searches? Might you have forgotten to change the privacy settings on any of these posts?

If you are worried this might be the case, but you don’t have time to trawl through all your past posts, you can change the setting of all your past posts so that they can be seen by “Friends” only: follow these instructions.

From a business perspective (where you DO want your content to be found in searches) it is worth thinking about keywords when creating posts.

Now that tweets can be picked up in Google searches, it is a good rule of thumb to consider keywords whenever you can when posting on social media. This shouldn’t detract from the “social” element, though. It is more important to create eye-catching content than to have a post stuffed with keywords.

November 2015

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Originally published at on November 13, 2015.