Facebook's privacy settings are quite confusing - Randi Zuckerberg, the elder sister of Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg, found this out in a hard way when her family's private photo posted on her Timeline leaked to the Internet.
Zuckerberg had posted a warm family photo to Facebook that was tweeted out by Vox Media director of marketing and special projects Callie Schweitzer. She tweeted to her sizable following, “.randizuckerberg demonstrates her family’s response to Poke #GAH pic.twitter.com/EHNwJ78b”
Zuckerberg was quick to respond, saying “I posted it to friends only on FB. You reposting it to Twitter is way uncool.”
The 24-year-old Schweitzer swiftly apologized, saying that she's "just your subscriber and this was top of my newsfeed. Genuinely sorry but it came up in my feed and seemed public."
The photo and the Twitter conversation was picked up by Buzzfeed, then published on various news sites.
According to Forbes, the photo appeared on Schweitzer's feed because she was Friends with one of Zuckerberg's tagged in the photo, and was able to see what was intended to be a private picture. Zuckerberg believed her photo was set to friends only, but it's notable “friends-only” does not mean it is actually “friends-only” and at times friends of those tagged in the picture can also see that tagged photo.
Such situations arise quite often because of Facebook's confusing privacy settings. Users should know that even if they delete any content from their Timeline, it isn't actually deleted, but only removed from view on their Timeline. So, if users want to delete any content such as status or pic, they have to use the Activity Log.
In a bid make it privacy settings simpler, Facebook recently rolled out new and improved controls for content management on the social networking website. The update includes a new icon on the toolbar, which gives users access privacy settings from whatever page they are on. The icon has things such as “Who can see my stuff?” “Who can contact me?” and “How do I stop someone from bothering me?” Users can also access Help Center content from these shortcuts.
Facebook's new Privacy Shortcut
Similarly, Facebook made changes to App Permissions, and added an 'In-product Eductaion', which helps users understand, in context, what content is still visible to others, despite hiding. Read more about Facebook's privacy changes here. Also read, Do you need to keep up with Facebook's privacy changes?