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Who Can See My Social Media Posts?

Have you ever posted something on social media, then got a reply from a stranger? Maybe you wondered how that person saw your post. Or maybe you thought your post was only visible to your friends. Most social media share your content publicly by default, so follow these tips to make sure your post settings match your expectations on different social media platforms.

  • Look at your settings on each social media site you use. The settings will vary a lot, and some platforms like Twitter only let you have your account as private or public. Others, like Facebook, let you share things publicly, with all your friends, or with a subset of your friends. Facebook also lets you quickly change the settings on an individual post — look for a button directly under your name and click on it to change who can see that post.
  • Another way to protect your posts is to use a “pseudonym,” which is a name not connected to your “real” identity. Then you might feel less concerned about sharing posts publicly. For example, you could make your Twitter handle “LovesCats24” instead of “JoeSmith24.” Not all sites let you make up your user ID, however; Facebook, for example, requires you to use your real name when setting up an account. 
  • Some social media platforms have a setting that keeps your posts from being indexed on popular search engines like Google, even if the post is public. Check the privacy settings on each site you use for this feature.
  • Ever wonder what some random person on the internet sees when they click on your social media profile? Facebook has a feature to let you do this. Go to your profile and look for the “View As” option (currently listed under the three dots on the top part of your profile). This will show you the public view of your account.