93 percent reduction in Facebook ‘Public’ status updates

Facebook’s privacy controls have certainly changed the way we behave online.

Since announcing the changes to privacy in August, there has been a dramatic drop in status updates that are marked ‘public’


As more and more users of Facebook have become more familiar with the new settings, publically available status updates have fallen sharply  — by 93% overall according to the All Facebook blog.

Having inline privacy settings makes a huge difference in the way that people share information. The redesign placed a much stronger emphasis on user privacy and the ability to control information that was published in your timeline.  Users could easily change the visibility of all of their posts

Facebook frictionless sharing might have a part to play too.  Users no longer have to explicitly share status updates, the application does that for them.  The app decides on the privacy status setting.

You can easily get more control over your privacy by setting the appropriate level of privacy on each status update.  Alternatively you can go to Your Privacy settings and click the hyperlink next to ‘Limit the Audience for Past Posts’


Then click the ‘Limit Old Posts’ button and confirm your selection.

Facebook users how have been using Facebook have challenges with their privacy settings.  Facebook has changed default privacy settings several times since 2005.  More and more information has been available to the entire Internet. 

If you’re concerned about how much information you’re sharing there are things that you can check

  • Review your privacy settings regularly. 
  • Check how your Timeline appears to others
  • Use the Limit Audience for past posts feature
  • Log out of Facebook and see what information can be seen about you
  • Use Facebook Lists to separate your friends if you use different settings for your friends

Keep checking regularly to make sure that your status updates are actually being seen by the people that you want to see them.  Watch the settings for each post too.

Remember, that if you have published a status update marked as ‘Public’ then all future status updates will default to ‘Public’ too.

And if you’re really worried about all this  — don’t post anything at all that you don’t want to have quoted back at you in a court of law…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.