How to Send a Message on Facebook Without Others Seeing It

by David Nield

Facebook is built to help you share as much as possible with your friends, so if you're sending a message that you'd like to keep private, it's important to check that you're sharing it with only the intended recipients. As well as the one-to-one private conversations you can make over Facebook Chat and the Messages system, you can also control the audience for messages posted to your timeline or the timelines of others.

Sending a Private Message

1

Log in to Facebook and click on the "Messages" link. Select "New Message."

2

Begin typing the name of the person to whom you'd like to send a message. When the correct name appears, click on it to confirm the intended recipient. If you want to send a message to more than one person, add other friends in the same way.

3

Click inside the "Write a message" box and compose your message. You can attach any files and photos using the links underneath the main input field.

4

Click on the "Send" button when the message is ready to go. The message is added to your existing conversations with the friend or group of friends you've chosen.

Posting Privately to your Timeline

1

Log in to Facebook and click inside the "Update Status" box. Type out the message you'd like your chosen friends to be able to see.

2

Use the tag, location and photo buttons underneath the text box if you wish to add people, places or pictures to the update.

3

Open the audience selector drop-down menu (by the "Post" button) and choose "Custom" from the list.

4

Choose "Specific People or Lists" from the first drop-down menu, and enter the names of the friends you'd like to be able to see the post. When the correct name displays, click on it.

5

Select "Save Changes" to confirm the post's audience then click "Post" to publish the update to your timeline. Only the selected friends will be able to see it on your timeline and in their news feeds.

Tips

  • Facebook Chat and Facebook Messages work in tandem and share the same conversation history, so you can select a friend from the chat list and type a message in the pop-up window as an alternative to going through the Messages screen.
  • Sending a private message is useful for lengthy one-to-one conversations kept private from your other friends. Publishing an update to your timeline with a limited audience is more suitable if you want a record of the message on your timeline page. You can also post messages on the timelines of others, but you cannot control the audience of these posts.

Warning

  • If you append a new message to an existing conversation on the Messages screen, be sure to check the list of recipients (at the top of the thread) to make sure the message is being sent only to the people you want.

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About the Author

An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.

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