Everything You Should Know About Facebook Hashtag Privacy

By on June 17, 2013

Now that Facebook has finally introduced hashtags, the internet has responded with distressed and confused speculation over how private hashtags will be. As usual, SMMU comes to the rescue with everything you need to know about your privacy settings, and how the hashtags you use will affect the exposure you get on your profile. Read on!

 

The Hashtag Privacy Rules So Far

By their nature, hashtags are a public offering, meant to get your post or update more views from a wider audience. But Facebook has been around the block a few times, and they know how important privacy is to their users. That’s why they’ve outlined these basic rules.

• You can USE hashtags on personal and business pages, in groups and even in comment sections. So you can use them anywhere, really.

• If you use your personal profile, the settings that you have right now will apply to your hashtags. Click on your privacy shortcuts button, next to ‘home’ in your top toolbar. There, you’ll see ‘who can see my stuff.’ The setting you have there, will apply to your hashtags. If you have ‘friends only’ then only your friends will be able to see your personal hashtag.

• Your hashtags however will ALWAYS be clickable, which means that anyone can click on it to find other posts that are similar or in line with yours. They can use the hashtag link, but this doesn’t mean anyone outside of your friends can see your post – your settings prevent that.

• What happens if a wild friend appears and uses hashtags in the comment section of your post? Will the world be able to see it then? NO! Even if your friends use dozens of hashtags in the comment section, they don’t control the privacy settings on your post. That means once you’ve set your profile to ‘friends’ only friends can see it.

• In group scenarios if your private members use hashtags, even though those hashtags will be clickable, only the members in your group will be able to see your post, because it’s private.

• Business posts that use hashtags will be indexed, because they are not private – they are public, just like all business pages are. This means you’ll be able to get more fans and interactions by including 1-3 specific hashtags in each post.

 

Hashtag Etiquette on Facebook

Right now, leading sites have established 2 methods of using hashtags appropriately on Facebook. The first is to use the #hashtags in the sentence like this (if they are simple, and fit into the sentence). Using #hashtagsforawesomeppl that are long and don’t make sense in a sentence are best left to the second acceptable method.

At the very end of your post, underneath your update – it’s acceptable to use 1-3 Facebook hashtags consecutively to index your post. You should NEVER use more than 3 (ever) and they need to be highly specific so the right people can find your posts. It’s time to integrate a hashtag strategy into your daily social posting.

Are there any privacy concerns you aren’t clear on yet? Ask about them here!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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