The privacy settings of Facebook puzzles me. This is a thing I can't figure out:


  1. I post a status update on Facebook, setting the privacy to "Friends".
  2. A friend of mine, let's call him Joe, likes my update.

Which one of the following things happens after that?

  1. Joe's friends sees the like as well as my update in their feeds

  2. Joe's friends do not see the like in their news feed, but they can access it by going to Joe's page.

  3. Joe's friends do not see my update nor can they see the like or original post in any way.

3 Answers 3


If your status update is posted to only Friends, and no one is tagged in your post, then Joe's friends will not see the post or the Like on the post unless they are also your friends. This is (c) if there is no tagging or mutual friends.

If it is posted to Friends and Joe is tagged in the post, normally that will make the post and Like visible to Joe's friends as well. Joe's friends may see it in their News Feed, although they may not (Facebook determines what it thinks is most relevant for your News Feed, especially if you have a lot of friends). Joe's friends may be able to see the post on Joe's profile/timeline, although Joe may have removed it from there or may have changed this using his Privacy Settings.

If a post is not visible to someone then that person will not be able to see Likes on the post either.


When someone Likes one of your posts, only the people allowed by the initial visibility setting (the one you set) will see the Like.

However, when you tag someone, the post may go on their Timelines. From here, things get a little tricky. The first check is against the visibility setting you assigned to your post.

If you set it to Friends or Friends Except Acquaintances, then the friends of your tagged friends can also see it (except your own acquaintances, as applicable), UNLESS you also uncheck the "Friends of those tagged" box after clicking the Custom... option. This checkbox can also be unchecked globally for all future posts from Privacy Settings under the "Control Your Default Privacy" section. Simply select Custom, then pick Friends and uncheck the box.

Back on topic. The post will NOT be visible to your tagged friends' friends' if you set visibility to either of the following

  1. A more restrictive group than Friends (besides Friends Except Acquaintances) (eg. Close Friends or Family)
  2. A custom group/list (it doesn't matter if it's a list that encompasses all of your friends — what matters is that visibility show "Custom").

Do note that "Friends of those tagged" only applies to Friends and Friends Except Acquaintances. Whenever you restrict the initial audience, it's as if you unchecked that box as well.

Still with me? There is then a final check in how your tagged friends' configure their own Privacy Settings to allow their own friends to see the posts that they are tagged in. This setting is under Timeline and Tagging, "Who can see posts you've been tagged in on your timeline?"

This all seems rather complex, but I think it makes sense. The general philosophy is that by default, Facebook tries to share your posts as broadly as possible, but as soon as you add restrictions (such as sharing with a smaller group than all your friends), then it will do what it can to respect your restrictions.

As for Public, this setting does not make the Friends of those tagged checkbox available because it assumes that it is checked. Your tagged friends' setting for who can see their tags on their timelines still applies.


This depends on how you set your privacy settings: https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy - the tab "How you connect" is what you're looking for. You can control whether or not the post is available to your Friends of Friends.

In your scenario, it is a mix between b and c - Joe's friends can see that he liked your status update on Joe's page, but will not be able to see the post itself.

  • Joe's friends will see that he liked something but not what he liked?! Weird. Jul 23, 2012 at 12:42
  • 2
    This is incorrect. Likes are not shown for a status update that is not visible.
    – mark4o
    Jul 23, 2012 at 16:23
  • 1
    @mark4o is right; that statement is incorrect.
    – user13779
    Jul 27, 2012 at 18:14

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