If you are a member of Facebook groups like I am, you’ll likely be aware that Facebook groups are split into three categories – public/open, closed, and secret.
If you are reading this blog post, chances are you are part of the Respectful Relationship Tribe and an abuse survivor. You may be a member of several Facebook support groups. Some of these support groups are both closed and secret.
There has been cause for concern in these closed and secret groups that posts and comments can be seen by non-members. I totally understand this concern. You may not want your abuser to see what you post in the groups you belong to.
So to ensure you stay safe, my warrior survivor friends, I hope the following will help you feel safer.
Defining open, closed and secret groups
1. Open Groups
Open groups are public. This means non-members can see not only who is in the group, but all posts, files, documents, and pictures as well.
2. Closed groups
Closed groups only show who is in the group. No posts can be seen.
Simply put, members are public, so people can see which friends are in the group. But all content, files, pictures, documents, and posts are only visible to the members in that group.
3. Secret groups
A secret group is NON-SEARCHABLE on Facebook. Non-members cannot find the groups on Facebook. They can only be invited in by current members. See the photo below for a simple explanation.
Definition of Facebook group types
Secret groups are not searchable in Facebook.
You, as a member of a closed or secret group, CAN see posts from the group in your OWN news feed. These posts do NOT appear on your Facebook wall! Your Facebook friends should not be able to see specific posts in these closed or secret groups.
Defining an open/public PAGE:
There also seems to be confusion among survivors about what a fan page is versus what a group is. Ever since I started this Facebook page, with this same name, I have had quite a number of people ask if it’s a group and if others can see what is posted.
Let’s clear this one up. Below are 2 photos. One shows the word “joined,” which appears when you JOIN a group. The other shows the word “liked,” which appears when you LIKE a public fan page. If you see the word “joined,” you are in a group. If you see the word “liked,” then you have liked an open/public Facebook fan page.
Join a group
What appears when you JOIN a group.
Like a fan page
What appears when you LIKE an open/public Facebook fan page.
There are ways, however, to cut down on even seeing it in your own news feed, and ways to tighten your settings. So bear with me, as this may be long.
1. Go to group info.
2. Go to notification settings.
3. Select off.
4. Go back to the group’s main page.
5. You see where it says “joined”?
6. Click on the word joined.
7. Select unfollow. The group’s posts will no longer show up in your news feed. You will need to manually go to the group every time to see posts.
8. Go to your account settings.
9. Click privacy.
THIS NEXT STEP IS VITAL…
10. If you are on your phone, under “who can see my stuff,” just select “who can see the people, pages and lists you follow.” Make sure it says “ONLY ME.” (THIS IS IMPORTANT……any page or person you follow and comment on WILL be seen by your friends in their news feeds if it says anything other than “only me.”)
Editing the privacy of who can view the people, pages and lists you follow
11. Make sure you are not allowing search engines to link to your profile.
12. To control what YOU post on your own timeline (whether it is a photo, a status update, sharing a video or link)
Changing audience on status updates
You can categorize those on your friends list into groups. For example, I have several people who are on my friends list who I categorize as “acquaintances.” Then, when I go to post a status update or a photo, or share a link or video and I DON’T want them seeing that particular post, I click on the little drop down box and select “friends except acquaintances.”
13. And lastly……this is also VERY important……
To further tighten your privacy settings on your OWN page, you NEED to do this part on a laptop or desktop computer, NOT your phone (as this option is not available on a phone…I’ve tried).
You need to change the audience for EVERY group or page liked to “only me.” First, go to your profile (not your news feed). Then, click on “About.” That will bring up all the things about you. Scroll to the “Likes” section. Do you see the edit pencil? Click on that edit pencil.Change the audience for every page you liked.
Then, click on “Edit Privacy of Your Likes.” In the below photo, do you see how I was in the process of changing them to “only me”? (The “only me” is indicated by the padlock symbol.) See how the first few are changed? But the rest are “friends except acquaintances.” I changed all of them to “only me.”
14. Editing the privacy of your liked pages.
So what if you don’t want anyone but your friends to comment on your profile photo and your cover photo, as well as commenting on anything that you DO post public? You’re in luck!
If you don’t want anyone to comment on your profile picture OR your cover photo (on your personal page), I suggest you do the following (and please keep in mind, this also must be done on a laptop or desktop computer, as this also is not able to be done on a smartphone):
On a desktop, go to your settings. Then click on “Public Posts.” You will see the photo below. Make sure that the “Public Post Comments” is set to “Friends.” That is the tightest setting you can have on this section.
Then, make sure the “Public Profile Info” is set to “Friends.” This also is the tightest setting that you can have on this section.
Step 15. Changing your public post comments and your public profile info to friends.
Okay, my survivor friends. I hope the above changes you make to your Facebook privacy settings will help alleviate some of your concerns about what your abusers can’t see on your Facebook page. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always comment below or message me on my Facebook page.