Facebook £5.99 subscription hoax: How to keep Facebook posts private

The latest Facebook hoax suggests it will charge £5.99 to keep your posts private, unless you post an informational message. Is it a hoax? We explain how to keep your Facebook posts private. Also see: Don't fall for the latest Facebook privacy hoax

Facebook to charge – is it a hoax?

"Now it's official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: £5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to "private". If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (I said paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste."

That's the message doing the rounds on Facebook, so is it a hoax? Yes, of course it is.

This particular rumour first appeared on Facebook in 2013, and went viral in Septemner. We're still waiting for Facebook to start charging £5.99. We'll be waiting a long time for it to do so because, apart from anything else, it is not in the business of alienating its users. Also see: What is Facebook Privacy Basics?

This message has since been joined by a couple of others. For example:

"It's official. Signed at 10:33. It's even passed on TV. Facebook will start charging this summer. If you copy this to your wall your icon will turn blue and your Facebook will be free for you. Please pass this message, if not your icon will be deleted. P.S. this is serious, the icon will turn blue. (Copy and Paste to your wall.)"

Also, "Oh Dear Some PEOPLE COULD BE IN TROUBLE Everything you've ever posted becomes public from tomorrow. Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry. Channel 13 News talked about the change in Facebook's privacy policy. I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. With this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. Copy and paste to be on the safe side."

The idea that simply copying and pasting a message would protect you from such a change is frankly ridiculous, never mind the fact Facebook would be in seriously hot water if it decided to open up its users' private data for all to see.

If you wish to keep your Facebook posts private, do not share this hoax message which does nothing other than keep the rumour alive and allow people to falsely believe they are protected. Instead, follow our advice below on how to keep your Facebook posts private. Also see: Best Facebook tips and tricks

How to keep your Facebook posts private – the only way to lock down your Facebook profile from prying eyes

Spreading a hoax message on Facebook won't protect your posts from unwanted eyes. If that's what you hope to achieve, do the following:

Step 1: Click on the down triangle at the top right of Facebook and choose Settings. If you're using Facebook on a phone or tablet, tap the three horizontal lines icon and choose Account Settings.

Step 2. Tap or click on the Privacy Settings tab.

Facebook privacy

Step 3. Under 'Who can see your future posts' select Friends.

Step 4. If you're worried that previous posts may have been open to a wider audience, also select 'Limit the audience for posts you've shared with friends of friends or Public' and choose 'Limit old posts'.

How your Facebook profile looks to other people

An easy way to check your Facebook privacy settings are as they should be is to view your profile through the eyes of random people with whom you aren't Facebook friends. In the desktop version of Facebook simply open your profile page and click on the three dots below your Cover photo. Click View as. This will show you your profile through the eyes of the public; use the selector at the top of the page to view as a certain person.

Read next: What is Facebook Dislike?

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