Facebook Hashtags and Your Privacy

June 19, 2013

Worried about Facebook Hashtags and How They Impact Your Privacy?

People who use social media are, understandably, worried about privacy.  Since Facebook has over 1 billion users, when it makes a change, a lot of people are affected. As a result, today, I would like to explain Facebook hashtags and how they will affect you.  I don’t want to bury the lead here. The fortunate thing is if you are properly using Facebook, you do not have to worry about the hashtags impacting your privacy all that much.

How do Facebook Hashtags Affect You?

What you need to understand is that you control who can see each of your posts on Facebook. As a result, if you consistently control who sees your posts, the Facebook hashtags will not have much of an impact.

Privacy Settings for Facebook Posts

When you write a new post, you will see that you can choose who sees that particular post.  Once you choose who sees a post, you will default to that setting until you change it.  So, if your posts normally go to “Friends” then until you change it, all of your posts will default to Friends.  Currently, my posts default to Public.

Changing who can see your post is as easy as clicking on “Public” and then clicking on whatever you would like.  When you click on Public you will see a drop down menu.

So, the first step in controlling your privacy, is to make sure you are aware of who can see your posts. Remember, your posts will default to your last choice.  So choose Friends if you only want your Facebook friends to see your posts. This is always the best choice, because then you know who is seeing what you post. If you choose Friends of Friends, anyone who is friends with one of your Facebook friends can see your posts.  That is a lot of people you know absolutely nothing about.

Now let me go back to explaining how Facebook hashtags work.

Facebook Hashtags

Facebook hashtags, just like Twitter and Google+, mean that you are using the # sign to mark a word or phrase in a post.

Once I actually submit my post, the result is the word hashtag, which is now blue. The reason for this is the word has actually become a click-able link. If I click on the link, I can now search any posts that are available to me that use the same Facebook hashtag.  You can see the results below.

I can do the same search using Facebook’s search box.


Facebook Hashtags Make Your Posts Searchable

In the end, what Facebook hashtags mean is that your posts are now searchable, if you use a hashtag. But the posts are only searchable and findable by the people with who you choose to share your posts.  Using hashtags does not make your posts viewable by people you did not choose to share them with.

What you need to keep in mind is that your privacy settings still control who can see your posts, regardless of whether you use a hashtag. So don’t worry, just because your posts are now searchable with a Facebook hashtag, does not mean that just anyone can see your posts.  That is still up to you.


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