Every Edit You've Ever Made to a Facebook Post Is Visible

Sunday, January 05, 2014 - 06:01 PM

A lot of people know that Facebook gives you the ability to edit your status updates or comments after posting them. If you make a tiny grammatical error, or realize that there’s a punchier way to make a joke, you can sneak in and quickly improve your post.

Except, as it turns out, those tiny fixes and changes aren’t so secret after all. Anyone who can see your post can see a full history of its edits. All they have to do is click the gray text that reads "Edited" at the bottom of your comment, just to the left of the "Like" button.

I poked around on Facebook to find a quick example of an edited post and found this comment by a woman named Pamela J. Miller, who had posted on Barack Obama’s Facebook page.

Of course I was intrigued: what could the first draft of “aND YOU ARE RIGHT, I BET HE HAS NO BALLS :)” look like?

So, I clicked the edit button, and, voila:

 

BERT replaced with the much more understandable BET.

So, there you go. Maybe everyone else on earth already knew this, but I didn’t. And now I feel retroactively embarrassed for all the tiny changes I thought I was subtly making. 

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Comments [8]

sandra m from long beach, california

I don't care if Facebook saves everything I write on THEIR website. What bothers me about Facebook is how intrusive it is on OTHER websites. I have signed out of Facebook and gone to other websites (that I never linked to my facebook account) and found my facebook picture along with a request to "like" the website I'm browsing. In another case, sometime last year my facebook picture started appearing on my Hotmail account when I signed in. Now, that particular picture I only use on Facebook and I've never given Facebook my Hotmail email address. What is going on here? I googled this question and saw posts from other people claiming that the same thing has happened to them. I don't use my Hotmail account anymore and I've locked down Facebook as well.

Jan. 12 2014 07:07 PM
EdWhiteSpace

Who really cares about the little grammatical errors being edited? Sure, I fix mine because I care but occasionally those 'edits' are less about spelling or grammar as they are about clarification of a view or change of viewpoint... If I have 'liked' a comment that is later edited, I am glad I can them go back to see what that edit is. Not so necessary for friend's comments, but occasionally liking comments made by strangers on Page? I definitely want to be able to see what they changed and to un-like it if that change was substantial.

Jan. 09 2014 04:52 PM
Matt Preece

I never knew this so of course i've looked. I found one within seconds. Edited from "NICEEE" to "NICE". Obviously didn't think it was that nice. Its quite funny if you imagine people sitting at their computer deliberating whether to make an edit or not, and they do, only to take two "E" off haha

Jan. 09 2014 12:53 PM
Alexis from Boston

I have recently been using Ravetree instead of facebook, primarily because of privacy issues, and I have to say that it's really cool. Users can be anonymous, and there are also several useful apps, such as calendar, file storage, and more. I'm trying to get my friends and family to sign up, and I recommend that anyone who cares about privacy check it out.

Jan. 09 2014 12:31 PM
Hugh

Anyone have any idea how to turn that off? And while I don't disagree with you Daniel about alerting others to an edited post, perhaps, if a post is edited, it probably wouldn't be that hard to alert the others who have "liked" or commented on them and have them allowed to change their "like" status or comment or simply just delete the comments and "likes".

Jan. 09 2014 12:16 PM
Adrian

Very old news.

Jan. 09 2014 10:45 AM
zbeast

Ah Facebook, the big website of bad Ideas.
Facebook were really the NSA.

Jan. 09 2014 09:46 AM
Daniel Bennett from Washington, DC

Funny to be leaving a comment that may or not be edited after leaving the edit window.

Being able to edit a comment was a huge improvement. But not to have edit/version history would be egregious.

Just imagine you leave a comment that a person "likes" or comments on, then you change the comment to be the opposite meaning. Without the context of the "edit" status and the history, the response would mean the opposite of what it was intended.

This issue has plagued writers and drafters since the days of Track Changes in Microsoft Word and other similar word processing features. Of course the best thing would be to edit carefully in a separate editor prior to copying into the Facebook comment (or similar system). However, expediency rules and even I rarely do that.

Generally, Internet comment systems are not for serious conversation, like this one, and really just to allow us to communicate quickly to leave a mark and be forgotten. A more serious comment solution that helps to improve communication and progression of the issue is not high on the list of desires of social networks or the media web builders. However, editing and deleting comments is an important feature for users that Facebook has incorporated. Wikipedia/wikimedia, etherpad.org and Google Docs all have well documented versioning and history systems. Etherpad even has a great time slide tool to allow a quick and obvious way to see changes in the note.

Daniel Bennett

Jan. 06 2014 11:34 AM

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