Facebook paranoia: don’t worry, be happy


Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that Facebook has recently introduced some sweeping changes (with more game-changing things on their way).

I’ve seen a number of my friends post this – a meme, I guess.

I’m struggling with the idea that people are that paranoid about their comments.

Facebook is a social network. Therefore it’s social and, well, a network. Both words indicate you might be meeting people and talking to them. Why would you want to hide your comments?

Honestly the first place my head goes is: what are you ashamed of? What are you hiding?

I can tell you that the friends of mine who’ve posted this to Facebook have nothing to be ashamed of. Which leads me to believe this is a comfort issue – I get asked a lot about privacy when I do speaking presentations so I’m not surprised.

Again, for me, it comes back to the idea that if you aren’t comfortable with people seeing your online activity you shouldn’t be online.

Or you need to get over it.

Nothing you do or say in a social network like Facebook can every truly be concealed.

If you really have a problem with friends of friends seeing your comments and likes ask yourself these things:

1) Am I being offensive?

2) Why do I have social network account(s)?

3) What could be the worse thing to happen to me?

If you’re posting anything which you really think might be offensive or controversial, take it to a Facebook message if you’re unsure. Don’t respond in the comment thread.

I understand that my friends don’t want to feel that Facebook has deceived them in some way by making their comments and likes more public than they thought they would be but there’s no reason for the paranoia.

This is the age of the internet where data is transferred in the blink of an eye.

I think it’s a bit late for for this kind of paranoia.


  1. I think the discomfort comes from the fact that we all tend to use different language with different people in different contexts—some more so, some less. But I might make a crack on one friend’s status that would feel out of context or somehow inappropriate showing up on another friend’s feed.

    It’s not necessarily that there’s something to hide. I think it’s that the context of your comments on Facebook has suddenly changed. People think it’s the privacy that bugs them, but really it’s the context.

    Discovering that you’ve worn a bathing suit to a cocktail party, or something like that.

  2. Thanks for the comment David. I think you make a very important point here. I still think folks need to get over that discomfort because Facebook has made so much of our private lives public.

  3. I agree with David’s comment. I will enter into different kinds of discussions on friends’ pages than I will on my own page. For instance, I try to avoid political discussions on my own page, as I do not want customers who have different beliefs to be alienated. But I do enter into political discussions on other friends’ pages. I am not afraid of my beliefs being online, but I do not want them screaming at people in the face either.

    Also, I am pretty free about friending people whom I have never actually met in person, because I use FB for connecting with potential or actual customers. My friends and family are less open. Now they may feel pressure from my bigger network to engage on a level with which they are not comfortable.

    I share a lot on FB, but, I also keep very clear boundaries. The changes that are coming next are HUGE boundary benders, and that really disturbs me. I believe that I should have the choice to choose what to share, and not let FB decide that for me. Now I will have to be alert to see if some app is tracking my every online move and broadcasting it to everyone. I do a lot of surfing the web. The future changes will make it possible for FB to tell the world every single page that your computer lands on.

    I also destest the fact that an algorithm is deciding what is important to me.

    I am not your typical web paranoiac. I am typically someone who explores new web stuff as a great adventure. But FB has really pushed a bit too far this time. I am hoping the new product is more customizable than initial reports are saying, and that I can continue to make my own choices about what I post. I am skeptical, though. FB has a tendency to compel you to do what they want you to do instead of giving you options to make your own choices. THAT is my biggest annoyance with the change process.

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  5. Facebook is quite safe. You can alter your
    privacy settings
    so only your friends can see your profile, and if you don’t want some of your
    friends seeing everything, you can give them limited access to your

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