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