The Molly

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I’m turning off Follow on Facebook

My apologies to my Facebook subscribers, but I’m turning off Follow on Facebook. The problem is the Facebook policy that changes my default posting settings permanently every time I post. So, if I post something publicly so all my followers can see it, like show information or updates about work, my default setting is then Public (i.e., “last used”) until I change it back.

Make one post public, overshare forever.

Make one post public, overshare forever.

The result of that policy is that, today, for about the third time, I posted a photo of my child (including his name and some school information) publicly by accident. I have, as a user, sent feedback to Facebook and asked them to change this policy–the fact that I post something publicly ONCE should not mean your postings should be public thereafter–but the simple realization is that mixing personal and professional just doesn’t work.

And yes, of course I could be more diligent about checking to see whether my post is labeled “public” or not, but it’s obviously just not realistic to expect that I’ll do that reliably, and my privacy is too important to get tripped up by a setting that turns all my future posts public despite the fact that I have historically tried to employ as much privacy as possible. I do not want to “check twice, upload once,” as one user suggested. I know Facebook will constantly try to force me into ever greater public behavior against my will, and I simply want to minimize the opportunity for mistakes.

Should this happen to you, you can, of course, set a public post to private by clicking the globe icon next to the post. But let’s say 80 people have already “liked” the photo you mistakenly posted: even if you set it to private in the future, those “likes” show up in the likers’ timelines, meaning it’s very hard to take back a public post without deleting it outright. It’s a simple fix for Facebook–either make a commitment that privacy is a default (yeah, no, I know, I’m cracking up, too) or serve an intercept asking a user who changes a post setting whether they want that setting to apply to all posts in the future.

This latest mistake comes at a time when I’ve already dramatically reduced my use of Facebook–I don’t trust it, I don’t always find the content interesting (since Facebook insists on manipulating my feed and showing me what it thinks is relevant, rather than a stream of news from people and brands I chose myself) and I’ve had too many privacy run-ins to consider it an essential part of my life. And I’m not alone. Facebook does not work as a public outlet for personal brands, and it’s too untrustworthy to work well as a private space for sharing. I’m starting to wonder what it’s good for, to be honest.

Anyway, if you want to follow my public exploits, please find me on Twitter or on Google Plus, which will be exclusively public. Again, I’m sorry to those of you who followed and engaged with me on Facebook; I hope to find you elsewhere on the Web.

24 Discussions on
“I’m turning off Follow on Facebook”
  • I was amazed at how fast Facebook grew I look forward to being amazed at how fast it will shrink.

    (I didn’t really want to share this but wanted to stop Peter James post being at the top)

  • Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your
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  • My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your
    post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content for
    yourself? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on some
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  • What hasn’t been brought up is that on any social media, you are not the consumer, you are the product

  • I most certainly understand why anyone would switch off the follow option with Facebook.

    Facebook needs to allow a contact default setting rather than have the ‘last used’ setting. There is nothing as distressing has having something that was supposed to be just for close friends and family to be thrust into the public domain by accident of a setting switch simply because you happened to use that setting last time.

    It should not be an assumption of Facebook that you want to continuously post using that setting rather than return to the private setting that you really use.

    In fact on multiple times it has switched to public from my normal setting without a posting being made with that public setting, it just decided.

    Maybe it happens to be in the interest of facebook to have everything totally public, it seems to me that it has failed to grow up and realize that the majority of its user base are no longer kids out trying to be on a ‘college pick up’ and really merely a setting similar to a group of friends in a bar talking to each other openly only to those they desire to talk to in an open manner while others either on the perifory or outside your circle of ‘trust’ don’t hear or see the conversation.

    I know of one person, a friend of a friend, who was part of a very serious court case that posted believing that it was totally private only to find that it was public and particulars of this case were blasted out openly. She was reprimanded for it and excluded from the trial because of it. She wasn’t even aware that it had been public, her previous posting prior to those were set to ‘only me’ and suddenly without a change by her it became public.

    Maybe it is time for Zuckerberg to grasp that there needs to be a basic human respect for privacy and sure he can advertise in people’s feeds or he can introduce a ‘paid’ model to allow those to opt out of advertising but he still needs to grasp that his user base does not necessarily want to have their ‘dirty laundry’ or ‘private life’ blasted into the public arena because Facebook has not worked out how to introduce default settings.

  • Calm down man, if you don’t like the site or the post, then don’t visit and don’t read it. Simple as that. Its ok for you to share your ideas and Molly can call her site whatever she feel like. Some of us get so worked up about the silliest things. Let her do her thing and live your life.

  • I think most people don’t really check to see what if their posts are public or just for friends, its difficult sometimes to check. I know I’ve done it several times just because I forget to check. Never the less, it is your privacy and you have every right to it.

  • I was amazed at how fast Facebook grew I look forward to being amazed at how fast it will shrink.

    (I didn’t really want to share this but wanted to stop Peter James post being at the top)

  • Anybody who uses THE in reference to themselves has issues and needs no sympathy.

    Using “The Molly” is a sign of someone who has delusions of grandeur who
    actually believes their own bullshit

    Do you think anyone really cares about your Facebook issue? keep dreaming.

  • I set my post visibility to Friends Only shortly after I joined Facebook, and I’ve not been tempted to change that. I’ve thought about whether or not to post some stuff publicly and let people follow that – in the end, I went with separate Pages for my business and artistic posting.

    One other way in which you can accidentally overshare is via apps that default to Public posting – you need to check *very* carefully when presented with an app request for access to your profile, in order to spot it.

    Combined with Facebook’s mucking around with my news feed, and taking away a lot of the controls that I used to use to manage the updates that I receive, I too am starting to wonder what Facebook is good for these days. For updates from websites, blogs, etc. I’m finding that Feedly and Twitter are doing a much better job of keeping me up-to-date. Hell, I might even give Google+ another try!

  • My Facebook page gets cat posts these days along with the occasional solicitation for a product review (“has anyone tried the IKEA PAX system?”) otherwise I’ve had too many situations where privacy settings have not been what I thought they were.

  • Funny, your post sums up exactly why I deleted my Goolge+ account.

    Clearly your situation was more serious than mine, but after one accidental overshare, that was enough.

    I don’t really understand why people use their personal facebook account as a public forum in any case, but clearly facebook is out of line here.

  • I have avoided Facebook for years because the one person I really want to keep my information from is the one person you can’t restrict: Mark Zuckerberg.

    I was leery before, but his D8 interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg proved that his goal is to erode and destroy privacy because he doesn’t believe in it,

    In fact, I started to fear he may even be some form sociopath, as someone who does not believe social rules (or privacy laws) should apply to him.

    As someone who has already built a brand and following, you might be able to cut off the social connection of Facebook, but when trying to build a brand, the pressure is enormous to include that connection and those signals.

    Reading your post made me check Bing for my name ( because it includes Facebook data) and I was a distressed to find that my personal profile photo shows up but not my brand page nor was my brand page even able to be found by directly.

  • Truth of the matter is we are some people who need the attention and feedback Facebook offers and we love staying in touch with friends and family.
    The fact is that 95% are not on any other social media platforms and it would take too much damn hassle to run different profiles, unless you have very little to say.

    What I hate is being judged for being too open or oversharing because FB is a media disco ball. Right?

  • B – nice to see you here! I generally assume that “private” posts on FB are being harvested for data and ad targeting, but that generally speaking, the “private” compact holds for posts that aren’t specifically tagged public. That may be naive, but when I visit a private profile, I can’t see it, and I’m willing to consider that sufficient protection for keeping the general public–not hackers, bots, or data collectors–from knowing an uncomfortable amount about me.

    And I *want* Facebook to work on that level. I want a private garden where I can play with my friends, talk about school junk, share party and kid pics, and I’m willing to make some trade-offs for that in terms of data and maybe occasional ad-clicking. But the compact doesn’t seem to be working anymore, and it frustrates me because my friends aren’t on Path and it’s inefficient to set up a school Website or share tagged party albums with friends over SMS or coffee.

    So I guess the question is whether I have to walk back the cat on a tech-enabled lifestyle that I actually do enjoy, just because this service provider seems to have a different agenda than it used to have; or whether I, as a customer, can force any meaningful change because they need me and my data to keep their damn business alive. Or, I guess, whether I can get all my friends on Path anytime soon. :)

  • I don’t understand why smart people in tech even use Facebook. You know better Molly just keep doing your great rants and people will find you. Just keep building your name and blog. The people will always follow good work and writing. Kick Facebook to the curb public and private.

  • Thanks for writing this up. I basically assume all Facebook posts and content are public and use it accordingly. For private exchanges, I now use Path or SMS or getting-a-cup-of-coffee.

    As for what FB is good FOR, I’ve found that the threading/grouping of comments makes for a different type of discussion than Twitter. Twitter is my default public network, especially for listening to the thrum of the world. However, facebook undeniably makes threaded conversation easier than Twitter, despite the latter’s latest efforts at better organizing reply threads.

  • I agree 100%. Facebook cannot be trusted… their commitment is definitely NOT to privacy. I only use it now to interact with others for which I have no other point of contact. I use Twitter to post everything public or business-related. I use Path for everything private… especially now that Path has additional layers of private groupings.

  • This might be more hassle than it’s worth, but perhaps you could setup a public Facebook page that imports your posts from Twitter automatically? That way it would be separate from your private profile, and you shouldn’t have to do any work to maintain it after it’s setup.

    Just a thought was all. I wouldn’t hold it against you at all if you didn’t find it worth doing.

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