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.
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.