There's No Such Thing as Privacy on Facebook So Just Get Used to It

Rant 6

I'm one of those old Facebook stalwarts who still believes that what you put on your private Facebook page should remain private -- even if it's between you and your 5,000 friends, most of whom you don't really know. Perhaps this is because I joined FB years ago, back before your friends of friends of friends of friends could see your comments on friends' walls. Back before websites scraped up people's comments and publicly posted them. I know it's a losing battle and lately I've come around to the idea that I shouldn't post anything on my private Facebook page that I wouldn't, say, call a press conference about. Still, I was surprised when I logged on to Twitter a few days after I posted something on Facebook to find that ... my comment was on Twitter! And I hadn't put it there.

On 9/11, I posted a short remembrance for the victims of that horrible tragedy. There was a reason I did it on my private page, as opposed to Twitter or my public Facebook page: I'm a little on the fence about people who weren't in the buildings that day or directly affected continuing to share their "stories" about 9/11 this many years later. I understand "never forget" and all that (unless you're NBC), but something about it smacks of wanting attention. Still, I was inspired to say a little something, so I did. Privately. I thought ...

A Facebook friend of mine then took the update and posted it to Twitter. It was a fine thing to post, I have no issues with it or her. I'm flattered that what I wrote touched her. However, is this the new thing? Taking FB updates of friends and posting them to Twitter? To me this is sort of like taking a private email and posting it to Twitter, but perhaps I'm behind the times. While this particular post was fine to share, others might not be -- and for reasons that may not be obvious.

For instance, today I posted something amusing on FB that happened in my apartment. I did it on my private wall because, even though I don't know all of my friends, I wanted to contain the information. An outsider, seeing the funny-ish post, may not realize that there are reasons I want to contain the info, but there are. However, after finally accepting that there's just no guaranteed FB privacy these days, I deleted the comment after a few minutes. Facebook is just no fun anymore.

Of course, you can always start up a private Facebook group of, say, you and your three best friends. I did try this, but predictably, there was little feedback on anything I posted, and I quickly got bored with it.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear that his goal with Facebook is to have everyone share everything, and it looks like that has come true. They say don't invest anything in the stock market that you're not prepared to lose, and now it seems you should not post anything on Facebook that you're not prepared to share -- with everyone.

Have you had a Facebook comment end up somewhere unexpected?

Image via Twitter

privacy, facebook, twitter


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nonmember avatar Michelle

If this is shocking to you, then you are dumber than I thought. This is EXACTLY why I am not on Facebook. If you actually WANT a private life, stay off of social networking. Problem solved.

nonmember avatar zizzler

Are you new to the internet or something?

fave82 fave82

Bahaha i agree with both above. AND just cause someone sharing their 9/11 memory doesn't mean anything to you doesn't mean it wasn't a pivotal moment in their lives. Maybe people don't give an f about whatever thrilling apartment story you posted.. But they tolerate it anyways.

heart... heartmymom

I do really wish that we could set our own "who can see what" settings easier. Just today I've had 2 friends post on their status about changing what I see in my newsfeed that is related to them. I do not like that when I post on a friends wall, other people - those that are not mutual friends - can see it. It sucks that we have to ask our friends to change the setting and that we, ourselves, can not click the "do not share my likes and comments on anyone but my friends newsfeeds" button. I'm very selective in what I post anymore because I don't necessarily want all my friends' know what I'm saying to people that they don't know. 

phent... phentigermom

Aye, I understand your concerns. And despite the comments I've read, our share everything culture has really crippled the younger generation on tact. Both on the internet and off. Everything must be shared, and they (from what I understand. I'm not saying every single minor does this) USUALLY share everything and anything. From private fights between significant others(however long those last) to what they just ate.  

I only keep Facebook now to update my photos/videos of my child and to just keep an eyeball on everyone I know. I rarely post anything from my head anymore. It's just a bunch of ecards and reposts and such. 

Deann... Deanna2872

I don't even bother with most security settings on fb anymore, as there really is no true privacy anyways. I've never posted personal information (phone numbers or exactly where I live), and I don't post many pictures of myself and especially my kids. The way I see it, if it isn't something I would be comfortable sharing with a stranger, its probably not something that belongs on a public website. If I want to keep long distance friends and family updated with photos or family news, I send an e-mail , txt, or even use good old fashioned snail mail. Its just as easy to make a friends and family list in my phones contact list and send a blast email or sms/txt of photos as it is to post them on fb. Also, I make it clear that I don't want those photos posted online, and if I find that people do, they're removed from the list and get no more photos. My kids are older now (15, 19, and 21), but I am still adamant about protecting their privacy. If the two older ones want their pics all over fb, that's their business, not mine.

Don't depend on privacy settings to maintain privacy. Just use some common sense-

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