General Question

Pandora's avatar

Are my concerns about Facebook unfounded?

Asked by Pandora (29481points) May 10th, 2010

All of my family and friends think it is wierd that I don’t have a face book account. I don’t want one for the following reasons.

1. Whenever something becomes as large as face book, they start to sell your info. After all don’t expect something for nothing.

2. There are some friends, I’ve lost contact with over the years and I would like it to remain so. I really suck at saying, no, I don’t want to be your friend. Moving has always given me a nice way of cutting some ties.

3. Once family gets you on your friends list, may really get into your business and one of the things that was always nice is that I only get to see some of them a few times a year. I know plenty who have dragged into family drama because they keep in touch on face book.
I really rather avoid any drama.

4. I have skype and many can reach me on that and on my cell or home number. Is it really necessary I keep some sort of diary of my life for others to keep in touch. Why don’t they just use skype where we can remain in touch and not have to share everything with the whole planet.

5. Once anything goes on the web its theirs to do with as they wish. Pictures and info. Not really trusting of that.

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55 Answers

partyparty's avatar

I used to be on Facebook, but for reasons similar to what you describe, I decided to leave.

I have all the email numbers of friends I wish to stay in contact with, don’t need anything else.

jrpowell's avatar

I had a facebook account until my sister sent a friends request. I lived 2 blocks away from her and she had searched for me. I deleted my account immediately.


Yeah…. I’m avoiding facebook. I have e-mail, phone-number, and a blog. I’m not hard to contact.

Jewel's avatar

I think you are smart!

wonderingwhy's avatar

I’ve never had a facebook account (or any similar type of service) and never will, I’m just not interested.

It’s a social networking site. As evidenced from #2, 3, & 4 you prefer to manage your contact in a certain way, that provides, in my opinion, a realistic concern whose consequences you’ve reasonably assessed. That others feel you need to conform to their preferred methods of contact really isn’t your problem. Maintain your course. You don’t want it, you certainly don’t need it, why have it.

partyparty's avatar

I think any photos you put on Facebook actually become their possessions, and they can use them as and when they want. I could be wrong, but that was what I understood to be true.

MrItty's avatar

I’m tickled pink about your first concern, and the fact that you use Skype. You do understand that Skype is (now partially, formerly fully) owned by eBay, right? That’s at least as large as a company as Facebook. Why would you trust them with your information, but not FB?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I think you understand the big picture more clearly than many.
If you want to keep in touch, you will keep in touch.

filmfann's avatar

Your fears have foundation, but really, if you don’t want it, don’t do it!
It isn’t just creating your page, it’s maintaining it. I spend about 3 minutes a day there, and have reconnected with about 100 old friends, 3 of which I still like.

Pandora's avatar

@partyparty True, I forgot about email. Which they can also do.
@johnpowell Thanks for the links. Some good info for my argument against facebook.
@Jewel Txs. :D
@wonderingwhy Txs!
@MrItty When my husband first signed on to skype he used an email that no longer exist and a fake name. Plus, I can no more see into someones stuff than they can see into mine. I have my settings where I don’t get a lot of crap either. Only a few family members bother to get a camera anyway and so many still think they charge you for the connection so they don’t bother. Plus you have to be on for them to call and many stop trying to call you if you aren’t on. I always have my settings set on away and tell my kids that it means I’m on when I’m not. This way its easy for me to choose who to ignore. Most names are alias so it makes it easier for me to deny someone new. They have to call me and tell me they are calling and they have to know my alias. Plus our pic is an animated avatar.
@filmfann Yep! That is probably what would happen with me, only out of 100 maybe 1 I would like

janbb's avatar

I just joined – was resisting for all the reasons you named. I have put the highest privacy settings on my account and do not post much. I also use a slightly different name now than the one most people from the past would know me by, so I haven’t been found by many and am limiting the people whom I friend. With all those constraints in place, I am finding it somewhat useful to read about family and some friends’ activities. I heard that they are planning to start charging for membership; if they do, I will be out of there. I do not spend much time on it daily.

bootsalmighty's avatar

As a default Facebook will have you sharing more than you’re probably comfortable with. It’s not so much that they don’t respect privacy as they just ignore it.
However, it feels like a necessary evil sometimes as people increasingly rely on it to communicate with friends and family (I used it to announce my daughter’s birth and then had to remember who wasn’t on Facebook to follow up with them seperately).
My advice is use it with caution – make sure you go into your account and set everything to private. You can control your privacy on there, if you go looking for the settings

MrItty's avatar

@Pandora uh…huh…. and what, in your mind, is different between what you just said about Skype and what you can do with FB?

If you don’t want to use a real name, don’t. If you don’t want to give them an email address you use all the time, don’t. If you don’t want to put your picture up there, don’t. If you don’t want to show up in search results, set your privacy settings to prevent it. If you don’t want friends of friends to be able to see that you friended them, set your privacy settings to prevent it.

Pandora's avatar

@MrItty Its not that easy to deny family access. In our family if I were to deny a family member access than I would start a mini war. Rather just avoid the whole thing. My daughter got in there and all of a sudden she jumped up by 100 people wanting to know her business because she friended one family member and it snowballed. Everyone wanted to be her friend and now she is asking me to get on Facebook because many of them want me on to talk to me. She said they don’t understand why I’m not on. Of course she can’t tell them its because I really don’t want them to contact me or any past friends because the mini war will start.
I also already do have pictures of me posted for now on their facebook accounts but since I am not listed as a friend they have not posted my name with the photo. I really don’t like the idea of that happening either. Many are not good about following instructions. If I would ask them not to put my real name or photo on there and my facebook name, they would just think me paranoid and do it anyway. Sometimes its not the info you put on facebook but the info others will put about you. It would mean monitering what a large group of people add to their account and many of them know how to use facebook but not in a safe way.

Pandora's avatar

@worriedguy You get me. :D

anartist's avatar

You certainly know what you want. I agree with your reasons for you.
As for selling your info, I think it is more or less a combination of what info you choose to reveal to the 3rd-party widgets all over Facebook, which I dislike intensely, and whatever you choose to put out there in semi-public view. Sell it? You give it away.

Pandora's avatar

Thank you all. My daughter was starting to make me feel like a paranoid dinosaurs. I was beginning to believe that I was the only one left on the planet who didn’t have a facebook account. Other than my husband I haven’t found one other person who wasn’t on facebook. Nice to know there are others and that I’m not being paranoid but cautious.

Sophief's avatar

I don’t have a facebook account, I don’t want old friends to find me or for me to find them. I don’t want people looking at any information I give.

tedd's avatar

I made my facebook account in October 2004, and at the time

-You had to be a college student, with a valid college e-mail address (from one of about 60 schools at the time), to join. There were no high schoolers, middle schoolers, didn’t go to college people, employers, parents, grandparents, teachers….. JUST college students with a valid e-mail address.

-There were no applications. NONE at all. They didn’t come around until a few years later when facebook made one for the NCAA basketball tournament, and then opened it up to the public shortly later.

-There were NO picture albums/tagging/etc. You had your main profile picture, and that was it. And it didn’t start logging all of your profile pictures until a bit after they started allowing albums.

-There was no crappy facebook chat that crashes all the time. People still used aim.

-Third party advertising was almost completely non-existent.

-The format/layout of facebook was severely different, and would probably not be recognized by many of today’s users. They have drastically changed the format probably about half a dozen times now, because hey if it isn’t broken, we should probably fix it anyways.

-All of the current interests and activities parts of your profile were the same, but instead of a crappy format that will now allow you to click on one of the few that will fit on your page and go to a page about it, they all just fit nicely into a box.

-There was a log showing the exact date you started your account (the only reason I know my own).

-You didn’t have to set your privacy settings for every separate part of your profile/pictures/etc. To see ANYTHING you had a person had to be your friend.

-You didn’t have to tell facebook not to sell your info in the settings.

-Poking, was still there… and was just as annoying as it is now.

Basically it was just about 1000x better. Its quickly becoming myspace part 2.

perspicacious's avatar

I think you are over-analyzing. If you don’t want a FB account, don’t have one. You might want to not register at many other sites as well. And, don’t enter any sweepstakes either. Also, be sure not to ever sign an online petition or forward chain emails. All of these things will help keep your information safe. You might not have very much fun online though.

crazy_twilight_chick's avatar

No they are not unfounded. My dad works with cases that they have to arrest people for stealing your info. throught facebook or myspace. Personally I think that if you do decide to make a facebook just don’t put to much info. (like your home address or where you live) up. That way you have enough info, for you friends to find you but, not enough for someone to steal the info. from you. 7 as for the not wanting to be friends with people you can always block them or ignore them when they send you a friend request. That is what I do sometimes.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I have one email on FB, and otherwise, it’s on the the tightest lockdown possible. “Only my friends” for everything. FB is not allowed to link me anywhere. However, I have an account becuase my improv friends, some pals from college and a number of other peole I’m hanging with are on it, and that’s how get-togethers are organised.

MissAusten's avatar

I like using Facebook just to keep in touch with friends that live far away. All of us are busy with kids, jobs, or school, and live several states away. Once I started a FB account, I “found” so many friends from college or high school that I always wished I’d stayed in touch with.

I also looked up people I purposely lost contact with and, if they had a FB page, blocked them so they can’t send me a friend request or even find me if they try to look me up. I should have done that with my mom as well, but I never suspected she, of all people, would be on FB.

My privacy settings are set to the highest possible level of privacy. If you don’t know how to do this, and FB doesn’t really make it obvious or simple, there are many articles online stating just how to get it right. When FB changes something, I can always count on certain friends of mine to post instructions for updating privacy settings to keep things secure. Once you know how, it’s simple to block applications as well.

One thing to be careful about is private messages. Every now and then I’ll get a message from someone instructing me to click on a link. These are almost always dangerous, and my cousin actually had someone steal her bank account info through some kind a malicious link sent to her on FB. Luckily, she caught it in time, but had to start new accounts and it was a big hassle. We also sometimes get phishing emails asking us to update our email address through FB. They are obvious because they don’t come to the email addresses my husband I use for FB. Don’t trust any email like that. If you need to update something for FB, it will be on your home page when you log in.

Bottom line is, if you don’t want to be on FB, don’t be on FB. There are games people seem to get suck into and all kinds of time-wasters. I don’t use those. I spend enough time on Fluther as it is! Facebook is fine if you’re careful, but if you don’t want to mess with it, don’t bother.

LeotCol's avatar

I have a Facebook account. I didn’t want one. My friend then set up a group that people were to join and if enough people joined then I would get a Facebook account. I think it was only 100 people or something. But I made the account. I don’t really use it ever. I have it on the strictest privacy settings and don’t add anyone I don’t want to add. I never upload photos, though I’m tagged in many. It is really quite frustrating that my friends upload all their photos onto it.

I don’t want to buy into the latest online fad and yet I find that there is over 100 pictures of me on the damn site. I could tell them to stop but then they’d find out how sour I really am.

I wouldn’t bother getting a facebook account, you aren’t missing out.

tranquilsea's avatar

Privacy concerns on Facebook are real, but there are privacy concerns for many, many sites.

Here is a brilliant British satire of Facebook

MissAusten's avatar

Another thing I want to mention: If someone tags you in a photo, you can click on that photo and untag yourself. FB really should give you the option to not allow others to tag you in photos, and I don’t know why they don’t. It wouldn’t stop people from identifying you in the caption of the photo, but at least if someone tries to look at “photos of you,” those photos wouldn’t come up.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@tranquilsea, that’s brilliant!

Of course, now that I’ve favourited it, it’s going to show up on my wall…

tranquilsea's avatar

@aprilsimnel They really did nail it. And it is hilarious!

Val123's avatar

Facebook is boring.

Also, @wonderingwhy Um…Fluther is a social networking site too! The only difference between here and Facebook is that virtually everyone in the civilized world has an account on Facebook, or at least knows what Facebook is, and know that if they want to find someone they probably can do it there. Only a comparative handful of people know of Fluther or it’d be the same thing. Also, here on Fluther you also get “something for nothing.”

Nullo's avatar

Consider: We have, for thousands of years, not had Facebook. In light of history, it’s the Facebookers who are weird.

MrGV's avatar

I <3 Facebook.

MrItty's avatar

@Nullo We had, for millions of years been living in caves. You’re therefore weird for owning a house or apartment.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I have a FB account because we move around a lot and our families are far away from us. I have all of my privacy settings set to be as private as they can be. I have my “friends” divided into specific groups and each group has a privacy setting according to how much information I want them to see. If someone sends me a request and I don’t want to accept them, I deny it and forget about it. For me, FB allows me the opportunity for my family to see more of my life. They don’t get to come to soccer games, concerts, and birthdays very often, so this allows them to see what’s going on without being here (which is important to my family).

ShanEnri's avatar

I have a facebook account and I use an alternate email I created just for social networking sites. I think from your question and the points you’re making to @MrItty that you just don’t want one, therefore you don’t need any reason or justification for not getting one!

Supacase's avatar

In addition to the security measures mentioned by @MissAusten, you can set your account so that no one can request to be your friend. They can find you in a search, but there is no button to request friendship (that sounds so funny) and they can’t see anything if they click on your profile. My brother-in-law’s girlfriend has hers set up this way.

This way, you and only you control who is added to your page and you never have to say no or ignore anyone.

Disc2021's avatar

I see your points and can identify 100% with most of them. With email, cell-phones, email/text messaging, there just isn’t any excuse for “social networking” sites. The people that matter most will remain in contact with the mentioned, more initiative methods of contact.

I’ve been considering getting rid of my facebook lately for the same reasons. I try not to get too serious about it – despite all of it’s downfalls, it is a fun and easy way to “keep in touch” with friends and see what they’ve been up to. I meet a lot of random people out and I guess one way of finding them after the first encounter is to “facebook” them.

I suppose if it’s evident that it’s causing a problem or is in anyway detrimental – I’ll get rid of it. Until then, I dont think it’s done me much harm. One thing is for sure, though, once I graduate college and start looking for jobs, I will be deactivating it.

jca's avatar

if i google my real name, my FB photo shows up. That photo is nowhere else other than FB, so obviously FB sold it. I do like FB for finding long-lost friends, and a half sister (that i will be in touch with my long-lost father through) but i heard that hackers/scammers sell banks of FB profiles and through that, they know who you’re related to, where you work, where you went to school, your email address, your friends, and then they literally have your identity. that makes me nervous. i do not put my child’s name on the site, i don’t think i have my employer, but i do have my high school and graduation year on it. i think i’ll delete that now.

GingerMinx's avatar

I couldn’t agree with you more. I do not belong to any of those kinds of net working sites.

MrItty's avatar

@GingerMinx uh. Except, you know, this one. In which you’ve told people:

Female, 48, Married, One son, 2 cats, work from home, diabetic, mild aspergers

Hobbies & interests:
Reading, music, writing, collecting old time radio shows, collecting erotic art although this is mostly done via computer as I am not rich, computers, my cats
Places I’ve lived:
New Zealand

Sure as hell sounds like social networking to me.

MrItty's avatar

@jca No, “obviously”, you neglected to turn off that privacy setting that alllows FB to return your information in a public search.!/settings/?tab=privacy&section=search

Silence04's avatar

I don’t have a social networking account for this reason:

MissAusten's avatar

@Silence04 If you find a listing for yourself on that site, there’s a link at the bottom to remove your name. My husband and I were both listed, and now we aren’t.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Silence04 You also don’t have to have a social networking account to be on that site. I looked up my grandparents and other family members that don’t even have computers and they were on that site. It had information about their houses and even pictures even though they’ve never even been on the internet.

MissAusten's avatar

My grandma is on there too, and I know for a fact she has never used a computer, let alone any kind of social networking site.

Nullo's avatar

...I don’t own a house or an apartment.
In any case, cave-homes are analogous to house-homes. Facebook has no analogue.

Pandora's avatar

@tranquilsea ROLMAO, that was hysterical. I have to send that to people who want me on facebook. THANKS! I can’t wait to show that to other people.

downtide's avatar

I have a Facebook account only because a particular local group I belong to uses it to keep members informed about meetings and so forth. Of course I’ve ended up adding most of the other members as friends.

Today one of those friends posted something that was fairly personal but very good news, and I left a comment to congratulate him. So his post was then automatically re-posted to my wall, along with my comment, and visible to all of MY friends even if my friends are not also HIS friends. I deleted it immediately as soon as I noticed it, but it’s a clear example of how information that you THINK is visible only to your friends, can easily be spread to people you don’t know. Or worse, to people you DO know, but you don’t want them to know that thing.

So, while I can’t drop Facebook altogether (otherwise I’d be out of the loop with this organisation I belong to) I think I will just have to stop posting and commenting and everything else.

Supacase's avatar

Someone reading this PM’d me asking for help setting up FB privacy settings and I accidentally deleted the message so I don’t know who it was. :( I think it started with a K. If you see this, just PM me again. I’m so sorry! Is there a way to get deleted messages back?

janbb's avatar

You can get them back right away but I don’t believe after a time.

GingerMinx's avatar

@MrItty Nope, that was points grabbing and who said any of it was correct?

MrItty's avatar

@GingerMinx Who said you have to put true or correct information on Facebook?

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

No, I don’t believe your fears are unwarranted, at all. This article highlights just some of the many reasons why I refuse to have a Facebook account.

GingerMinx's avatar

@MrItty no one did. Was there a point to that? This is a Q&E site, set up to ask and answer questions, facebook is a social networking site set up to allow people to interact with as many other people as they like in a social fashion. I am sure their are hundreds of accounts with false information on them. That really wasn’t what the asker of this question was asking about though.

mcbealer's avatar

Yahoo! is featuring this article today, from Consumer Reports.

preshous8's avatar

I think facebook in general must be used with high privacy settings turned on because one little post on a friend’s page can show up everywhere you don’t want it to. So if you are a reserved person and aren’t interested in contacting old friends, then no, you shouldn’t have the need for a facebook account.

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