Here's why you should copy and paste important Facebook statuses instead of sharing them

Here's why you should copy and paste important Facebook statuses instead of sharing them
A picture taken on December 28, 2016 in Vertou, western France, shows logos of US online social media and social networking service Facebook. / AFP / LOIC VENANCE LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images
A picture taken on December 28, 2016 in Vertou, western France, shows logos of US online social media and social networking service Facebook. / AFP / LOIC VENANCE LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images

Amid all the political turbulence and discontentment, people have been turning to their social media platforms to share their two cents.

When it comes to social justice updates, Facebook is convenient, as it is neither photo-heavy like Instagram nor does it impose a 140-character limit like Twitter. It's also easier for many to share their views over the internet than in real life, a Pew Research Center study shows, since it is less confrontational. The platform's popularity helps, as it has the widest reach: according to Pew, Facebook is the "most-widely used" among major social media platforms.

If you've been keeping tabs on such posts, then you may have noticed users asking their friends to copy and paste their status instead of sharing. Is there really a difference? You bet.

Facebook is the most widely used of all social media platforms. Pew Research Center

The difference between sharing vs. copy and pasting

Clicking "Share" on someone's Facebook status is a lot easier than copying, pasting and formatting — but the share button has limitations. The biggest restriction is the original user's privacy settings. According to Facebook, if someone's setting says the post can only be seen by their friends, then sharing the post will only show the content to your mutual friends. Sharing is largely only effective if the original post is on a public setting that lets anyone see it, regardless of whether or not they are friends with the original poster.

When users call for people to "copy and paste" but not share, it is to ensure privacy settings are not preventing a message from being spread. If the goal is to get a piece of information to reach the largest potential audience, then copy and paste is the safest best.

Additionally, Facebook cracked down on "like-baiting" in 2014 in an effort to declutter the News Feed. The social media giant defines like-baiting as "when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive." If the algorithm change is still in effect, then Facebook can detect the call for action to "share" a status and make sure it is not as prominently displayed in users' News Feed.

Copying and pasting may reach more people and be less likely to get penalized by Facebook, but it is more difficult to assess how many people have spread the word. When a post is shared, there is a running count on the bottom left corner that shows how many other people have shared a post. But there's no way to keep count with a manual copy and paste so it is hard to determine how effective the status update is.