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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Remove People You Don't Know From Your Facebook Friends

A bizarre experience this past weekend has really put a spotlight on this whole Facebook friends thing.

Long story short, I was briefly cyberstalked by a Facebook friend of a Facebook friend. The guy sent me a bunch of pretty psycho Facebook messages, first congratulating me on dating that friend in common (I'm not dating that guy), and then asking me to date him. Yes, he was asking a total stranger about whom he knew nothing to date him. His reasoning? I was cute and why not.

I was on a phone call and didn't reply right away. By the time I responded 40 minutes later, I couldn't. He had posted a bunch more inbox messages saying "I guess not" and blocking me on Facebook. I thought it was over, but it wasn't. 3 hours later, he unblocked me to see if I were interested in dating him, then minutes later saying never mind because I'm ugly, and random abusive crap.

I blocked him, reported him, and screen shot everything to email to my friend. I wanted him to know what his friend was doing, and I suggested that he not set this guy up on any dates since this guy is sick! I do NOT hold my friend responsible at all. He is not responsible for what someone else chooses to do. My friend is probably completely uninvolved in this, and this is not his fault in any way! He's just the weird connection here.

My friend emailed me back that he has NO idea who this guy is. Well, he seems to be your Facebook friend. And then it hit me.

Your Facebook friends have some access to ME. When you comment on my stuff, they can follow a link to see what you commented on, even if I have it set to "friends only." Even if your friend is not my friend, they can read all the stuff you comment on... and see those pictures.

I have probably 250 Facebook friends I don't know. Most eBay sellers interested in what I have to say about things... no realising that most of what I say in Facebook is about pets and dating... not eBay or my work. For that, you should hang out at the As Was Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AsWasInc

So I'm doing it too. I think it's time to prune Facebook friends. You don't win anything by having 300 friends rather than 200 friends. There is no prize. The only thing you win is less privacy, and you expose ME to people I didn't want to be exposed to. And by the way, when your account is compromised and you send me messages that lead me to a virus or to try to disclose personal info, that wasn't cool either!

Facebook is getting too much like MySpace, and Facebook themselves is making it that way. When it tells me I should be friends with my college friend's Dad, something's not right. When Facebook tells me to be friends with people I don't know because they're friends with my friends, something isn't right. Facebook was SUPPOSED to be about connecting with people you REALLY knew... not being MySpace and just piling up anybody who has or hasn't met you.

So I am asking you to be brave! Be less fake popular. :) Go into your Facebook friends, and remove people you don't actually know. You are trusting them with a LOT of personal information about you. My policy was to only add people I knew, and to tell people I didn't to join my fan pages. I think I have to go back to that. It's not fair to YOU, my Facebook friend, for your private postings and info to be exposed to people neither of us know!

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Yes indeed great blog post!
I try to be discerning in who I choose to friend. I too have many business aquaintances on my friends list and have started to wean them over to my Fan page instead of my personal page. So sorry this happened to you but, I believe that everything happens for a reason and perhaps this pruning is timely before something more serious happened.
Thanks for a great article and indeed food for thought for all who leverage Social Media as a business tool as well as personal.

Patti (yeshuazgirl)

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