I tried doing some tests on Facebook to see how they implemented this, but with the new Timeline for profiles, it is less apparent how this works within Facebook.

Let's say I have a social network with 2 users. User A tags User B in Photo 1.

This shows up as an item in User A's Feed: "Tagged User B in Photo 1" This shows up as an item in User B's Feed: "Was tagged in Photo 1".

Let's say User B deletes the feed item. Should the feed item also be removed from User A's feed?

What if it was User A deleting the item from his own feed? Should we delete the item from User B's feed as well?

2 Answers 2


Lets just say User A does something -> It appears in User B's feed.

If you remove the item from A's feed when B deletes it, A will wonder what happened to the item that was just in their feed. If A has a lot of "friends" or whatever, they will often find items disappearing. As A's number of "friends" approaches infinity, their feed will become completely empty. This doesn't make sense.

Conversely, it does make sense to remove the item from B's feed when A deletes it. We can presume that A had a good reason to hide their action from the feed and it would be good to hide it from everyone else.

I guess that it makes sense for only the owner of an item to be able to hide it from other people's feeds.

Back around to the phototagging example, you might decide that it would be a good idea for the subject of a phototag to be its owner, since it identifies them in what might be a compromising situation. In this case, since B is the owner of the phototag even though they didn't create it, B deleting it removes it from everybody's feeds.

Above, B deleting the phototag removes it from everybody's feeds. Nobody knows what happened at the office christmas party. However, since A created the tag in the first place, we can assume that they do know, and hiding it from A is useless.


Basic principle: Only the owner of an item can delete it from other's feeds.

Special case: The subject of a phototag, not its creator, is considered to be its owner.

Special special case: Hiding a phototag from it's creator will not destroy their memory of having created it, so hiding a phototag from its creator is useless.


In the general (not specific to Facebook) case, yes. By User B removing a record of them being tagged, they don't want this activity to be visible, so the privacy setting should extend to all users who would be able to see the record.

If you are asking about Facebook specifically, it depends what action User B takes.

  • If they remove the tag, then it should be as if the tag never existed, so none of the users would have any record of the tag.
  • If User B simply hides the post from their timeline, but the tag still exists and is still visible by other users, the post will remain in User A's history.

(However, if User B hides this post, this will not show up on any of their friends' News Feeds since User B will now control the privacy of this post. I'm treating User A different as they were originally the poster, if a record actually existed for them as "You tagged User B in a photo", which I don't think it posts anywhere.)

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