My ex is claiming that during our divorce I posted on Facebook about what a jerk he was. He is a jerk, but how can I review my old Facebook posts and status updates to see what I actually posted?
Generally speaking, calling someone a jerk, whether justified or not, isn’t going to land you in hot water legally. If you were claiming that he was torturing small animals or writing racist graffiti on the supermarket walls, however, then it gets a bit more complex in terms of slander and libel. I typically just recommend that people seek help and support on social media – isn’t that one of its main reasons for existing? – but by focusing on yourself not the other party or parties. To say “I’m really depressed about having to go to court” is different from “that jerkface is forcing me to go to court. I’d rather he just went straight to ….”
Anyway, I shouldn’t play marriage counselor or even pretend to be your legal counsel, so let’s just move forward and look at some of the search features in Facebook that let you find cheery and positive posts about kittens just as easily as hostile venting about someone you can no longer stand to be around. 🙂
It’s all about knowing how to use the search engine built into Facebook, a search engine that most people don’t even realize exists. Surprised? It’s on the top of every single page! I’ll tap into it by searching for “planet of the apes”, which produces a search suggestion list:
Now you’re saying What? That’s a search engine? Uh, okay. It really is. And it’s darn powerful too.
To proceed, I’ll just press Return on my keyboard to execute the search. The results are, well, big.
Start by looking along the top at the search result categories. You can easily narrow down the results to just Posts, People, Photos, Videos, Marketplace, Pages, etc. Want to search for groups about Sailor Moon or Facebook pages that match your favorite brand name? Now you can see how to do that: Do the search, then click on the corresponding tab. Easy.
The left side is a critical element of more sophisticated searches, however, because it lets you filter out all the posts from others that might have the word or phrase. Let’s look a bit more closely:
To narrow down the search results, click on “You” under “POSTS FROM”, then click on “Posts” along the top section. In my case, this identifies posts I’ve made that have all the words “planet of the apes”:
It’s a movie but it’s a board game too, a board game I reviewed over on my GoFatherhood site! Notice that they’re not in chronological order. I can’t explain why that’s the case, but Sept 19 is more recent than Sept 10 and should be on top. It’s not, however, so it means you’re going to have to do the work to scroll down and see what’s a match.
Further down I find some posts from quite a few years ago too:
This time the ordering makes sense, at least, with 2012 appearing above 2011. Generally speaking you can click on the date and time information to get to the post (in the latter example, that’d be “October 9, 2011 at 9:56 PM”) but sometimes it doesn’t seem to work. Something messed up in the Facebook database? Maybe.
You can still dig up some pretty old posts, as this demonstrates:
And that’s it, a quick primer on how to use the Facebook search engine to dig back into your old posts and find what you posted and whether it’s all that bad or not. Note that even if you edit or delete the old posts that are the worst, it’s quite possible your ex or his attorney have already archived or printed copies, so that’s not a guarantee it’ll protect you. Good luck!
Pro Tip: I have a lot of Facebook help here on the site, please take a few minutes to check it out! Also, don’t forget to follow Ask Dave Taylor on Facebook too. Lots of conversation that only appears there that you won’t want to miss.