Is Facebook Privacy Even Realistic?

What is the entire debate about Facebook privacy? My philosophy is I would not even have a Facebook account if I was worried about people seeing parts of it. The email is ideal for friends and family who just want to talk privately, without the world knowing what they are discussing. Also, just because you do have a private Facebook account does not mean your "friends" will keep all of that information "confidential".

There have been several stories about girls who posted scantily clad pictures to their private accounts, but some how this photos ended up in the wrong hands. It just goes to show that even if your account is private this does not mean everyone will respect that. I have noticed a few people I am friends with on Facebook, I am not naming names, list their cell phones number, physical address, and other private information on their page. Although their account may be private, I would advise against positing that much information. Someone who is supposedly a friend might pass it along, but maybe that is just my paranoia.

I actually prefer to have a public Facebook account and Myspace account so I can post my hubs and other articles there for people to visit. There is not any information on my page that I am not comfortable with the world seeing because the reality is nothing shared on the Internet is really private. Even if you email pictures to friends these could get forwarded, so that is just the reality of the world we live in.

My firm belief is that a public profile is best because then you will get more page views for your hubs. Even if you do not have a public profile, at least consider having a fan page so people can add you there. These are just my thoughts on Facebook on a Sunday night as I am eating some delicious home made brownies.

More Thoughts About Facebook:

Personally I am a little sad to see some people are so control freaky about what others post on their virtual space. Some declare that sending each other Christmas cards or playing Farmville is a form of spam, but I have to adamantly disagree. I just do not have the time or energy to visit each person Facebook page and determine what others should be posting on it. As an introvert I really do not like to set guidelines for others, especially since I find these slightly irritating when some do this for me. For instance, awhile back someone declared people were not supposed to write short stories, poems, or what they were making for dinner as a hub, so I just went ahead and disregarded that. These people do not own Hubpages, and their criteria for what makes a stellar hub may not be mine. However, they can post what they want to their hubs, and I shall continue to write ones that are relevant to my worldview.

I also remember reading how someone felt superior because supposedly their tweets were better than others. That was pretty fun, considering it is just the Internet for crying out loud. My thought is: where do you get the time to be such a control freak? A good rule of thumb is not to send anyone gifts or cards on Facebook unless you know they are cool with it, least they be judging you too harshly for this.

Other Thoughts On Facebook Privacy

Whereas I do not expect complete privacy for anything that is on Facebook, I still believe this company needs to do more to respect their customers. There have been several situations where users complained that their privacy was not respected, and I hope Facebook will address these issues more seriously as time goes on. Ultimately, Facebook is probably not the best place to post stuff you would not want the world to see, but you should have some certainty that if you share a family photo that you have the choice of only a small group of people seeing it. Facebook has new features where you can restrict things shared to certain groups, so it seems this is an issue they are working on.

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SirDent 7 years ago

Pass the brownies. I went through my account on FB and tried to figure things out with it. LOL, I'm not sure if any of it is private or not.

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I will make you some brownies now :). You can have it private Sirdent. I realize that my thoughts on Facebook and Hubpages might be a bit controversial here, but where does anyone get so much time to be a control freak? I like having a public account so people can find my hubs and other articles.

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weblog 7 years ago from 1India

Hi SP,

Glad to see this hub as soon as it is published. I also have a facebook account but I login rarely. This is a well written hub and has added more to my thoughts. Cheers!

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


Glad you enjoyed it weblog. If you ever use your Facebook it is a good place to promote your hubs to friends.

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William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

I've given up on keeping any information private, SweetiePie, but I'm amazed how some people on Facebook make themselves look very foolish -- or worse -- by revealing very personal information and otherwise behaving badly. Apparently they fail to realize that their foolishness is being observed by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people including their employers, teachers, clergy, government officials,etc. Corporations use much of the information they see on Facebook for employment and advertising purposes, and I'm sure police and IRS officials are looking, too. Shortly after I added my grammar school to the site, I received a three-page letter seeking contributions to my alma mater. Some caution is called for.

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


You are quite right about the caution. I have heard about people posting vacation pictures on Facebook when they were supposedly on medical disability. Another person said something bad about her boss, and he read it because he was her Facebook friend.

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dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I think you got it right, SweetiePie. I had a person that friended me through Facebook who was like an oilminer, who's brother was a maliman, who had a best friend in NYC who's fare was a guy who's sister was a cashier who waited on me went I went to buy a Pepsi at a Mobil gas station, or something really nutty like that. It's crazy. I stay off of Facebook as much as I can (but people still somehow find me!).

Thanks for sharing :D

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


You know I have not really had this problem as of yet, but being an introvert I do not think many people are chomping at the bit to look me up on Facebook. Actually I am pretty happy with that as I just use it to promote my hubs and articles anyway.

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VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I joined Facebook, left and joined again because a friend of mine suggested I join so we could keep in touch. At first I ddin't like it too much but now I feel more comfortable with it, and was delighted to get in touch with a friend of mine whom I haven't seen in over 20 years. However, I am not inclined to share personal information in Facebook, or elsewhere in the internet, its more of a sharing of articles, my general thoughts, and keeping in touch with others.

One has to use common sense and wisdom in life and in the virtual world.

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Violet Sun,

That makes sense, everyone has to do what is right for them. I personally do not mind having a public profile because nothing I share is inappropriate. I also use it to drive traffic to my articles, and for that I am happy.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for a lot of interesting information. I heard so much about facebook but your hub reaaly but me right. One question so, how do you promote your hubs on facebook to bring more traffic in? I am too an introvert. Do you have to put your real name out?

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Pete Maida 7 years ago

I consider the issue very simple. If you have information that you are not willing to shout out to the public in a crowded mall; don't put it on Facebook or any site like Facebook.

I do not like the games and things and I never use them. I do believe there are reasons those things are set up, but its a free Internet if other people want to do those things more power to them.

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alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

About privacy: when I first started writing extensively online and publishing, I was a little concerned about privacy. I got over it!

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hello, hello,

I am an introvert also, but I do use my real name on Facebook. There is not requirement to use your real name on Facebook, and the truth is you could make a Facebook fan page about Hello on Hubpages. The Examiner encouraged us to make a Facebook page for our writings, but I just post my regular ones to the wall because I do not want several accounts.


I understand the games are not for everyone, and even I myself do not play them all the time. What I did not understand though is why people who hate the games had so much time to pay attention to what others are doing with them. I do not play the games everyday, but I enjoy Farmville once and awhile.


You are a very smart lady, and the way you fashion your articles shows how successful you are at navigating the world wide web.

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Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA

It is sad that we live in a world of fear mongering, hatred and criticism…Our society has become so callused and mean. Let us not forget that our government loves to keep the “fear” alive. I think we “all” need to get back to the business of living life, being happy, wise to what can harm us and strong enough to handle what comes each day.

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.~~BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


Yes we need to get past the fear.

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Miss Nasreen 7 years ago

Different Thinking about face book I like it nice to meet you dear

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Glad you enjoyed the article.

Francine Smith 7 years ago

Girlfriend, my hubby tagged me as 'Family' and not 'Friend'. So I've no idea what he's hidding from me for his buddies to see. It's probably some lude and lurid snaps of him on Spring Break Daytona in 81. Yes, he's *old*. Nevertheless, I am hurt there's a myspace in our relationship that he keeps hidden. But then, he's yet to discover I was in Playboy ;-)

Hugs to the Hubs :-)

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ClaudiaP 7 years ago from California

I've had more than one friend have their facebook account hacked. I think I have some clues of how this happened, but still, I find it a little bit worrying to see several of my friends hacked. Do you think it was all their fault, or is it more likely to be hacked on Facebook than on other sites (either because of it being under attack more than other sites, or because of it not being very difficult to hack?)?

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


People can get hacked on Facebook or Myspace if someone sends them a fake friend invite, and then they accidentally log in under a site that is not Facebook. When you log in you have to make sure that you the url is always, and you should be fine.


Not sure why he needs to hide this from you. Personally if I knew my spouse was hiding something I might wonder, but that is just me. I would not ask him about it, but maybe you can unfriend him and see if he notices. If he asks why, then you can tell him the situation.

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Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

I agreed with what you said, about people getting paranoid and control-freaky these days. Live and let others do what they want, is my theory too, and I WISH we could all just get along without these inane controversies.

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


Speaking of controversy there was another junior high school drama rama going on there. Oh well, these people must have lots of time on their hands.

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emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

Hey SP. Had to smile at the phrase 'control freak'. Personally, I have no problems posting in FB or Friendster as I have an account on both. I draw the line in posting my or our pictures though (except for my niece) because well, privacy issues :). If you must meet a control freak (on the Internet at least), meet my husband LOL. He always warns me not to post private info or pictures and stuff on the Internet. Can't blame him, he used to work for a security - conscious job. Anyways, getting off topic here. I'm planning to put up my own FB just for promoting my hubs. I'll look you up when I get one up :).

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fangwang28 7 years ago from China


I agreed with what you said.

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


I understand some people in security positions would need to be careful with what they post. Thanks for sharing emievil!

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Thanks for the comments fangwang28!

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CC_18 7 years ago from Scotland

when i read this it is actual true you never really think about it till someone says it. Thank you for sharing and i agree you shouldn't post your cell numbers even if they are friends because it could go further even more yes keep your facebook private if you like too and keep friends and family on there but think before you do it because it really isn't hard to get all that information you thought was private. X

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Very good summary CC_18. If people are that worried about privacy they could use email, but that is just my take on it. Secretly I think even people with private Facebook profiles are on there because they want to be seen, or they would just use email instead.

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tysonben 7 years ago

wow!! that was very standing up for u

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Cathleena said:

I enjoyed reading this immensely as many of your points are my sentiments exactly. I'm using Facebook primarily for social networking purposes.

My thoughts on keeping things public is that others may be more comfortable accepting my invitations of friendship if they can read my profile and find out a little information first. I do not include personal details such as address, age, etc., but I do use my real name here on HubPages and also on Facebook.

The photos some people put on their walls for all to see amazes me. I accept most all invitations of friendship I receive, so sometimes something shows up on my wall that I don't want to be there, and I have to quickly remove a friend. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I'd rather my friends keep their clothes on!

This is a very good hub by the way. Great work!

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SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


Thanks for the support.


Thanks for the support. I had to edit out your link, but I do appreciate your comment.

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Gmorninsun 7 years ago

Thanks for your hub, sweetie - great discussion. lol, Francine.

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Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Good article sweety pie, I was waiting for someone here to address the Facebook privacy outcry and you nailed it on the head! My daughter's been bugging me to create a separate page for one of my hubs in particular and all of them in general, after reading your words here guess you both are trying to motivate me!

I better get hoppin!


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Adam Alden 7 years ago from Up On A Hill In Wiltshire

Sweetie Pie,

An excellent article - very well written.

However, I can see arguments for both sides here...

Yes, people should use the brains that God gave them (although, for some, there's more chance of hell freezing over and Satan upgrading to an Igloo Penthouse) and use Facebook and all other Social Networking websites with care and attention. You would not (one hopes) leave the key to your house under a plant pot in the front garden, so why should you let your security be lax on the internet?

With regards to data protection, you may or may not be aware of an organisation that exists both here in the UK and now in the USA called Common Purpose. In the past year, in the UK alone, there have been nine complaints registered about it obtaining information illegally about people - you guessed it, some of it via websites like Facebook and Bebo. When organisations like Common Purpose get their hands on your data, you really are in the sticky stuff!

My advice is this - only you can limit how much you want other people to know. The responsibility lies with YOU - nobody frogmarched you onto Facebook and made you sign up, so don't go blaming Tom, Dick and Harry when things go backside up. Remember who entered the data in the first place.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


Thanks for your comments. I did have to delete the second one because some of your comments were copied from elsewhere, and I do not allow any duplicate comments on my hubs. My hubs are my babies, and I only like original typed out words. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though, I appreciate it.

Ben Zoltak,

A fan page for your Hubs would be a great way to promote a certain topic you are passionate about. Good luck with this!


I tend to agree with your very last paragraph. If people do not want the information out there, then do not put it out there! Thanks for your comments!

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 7 years ago from Long Island, NY

Well done hub. I do agree that Facebook it is a good place to promote your hubs. The only two problems I have with Facebook is the frequent friend requests from people I don't know, and the fact that Facebook does not allow you to cancel and remove your account if you change your mind about having one.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Glenn Stok,

Yes you can cancel your Facebook account. You have to write management about it. Also, the point of friend requests from people you do not know is so the world can find out about your hubs. I really never understand why people only want to socially network online with only people they know in person because if that is the case you really do not even need an online presence. I have made some really good online friends over the years, but you have to have an open mind about meeting new people. Also, I get a little bit of traffic to my hubs by allowing people to read my wall, and even people who are not on my friends list can discover my hubs this way.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 7 years ago from Long Island, NY

I agree with everything you say SweetiePie. If I never had tried Facebook, I would definitely want to use it now to promote my hubs. I see that is a good use for it, but I have a bad taste for it now. By the way, FB management ignores direct requests to cancel. I tried. As for having followers, there IS a difference. I love the followers I have on HubPages, we clearly have something in common with one another. The friend requests on Facebook were spam related. Sorry if I am sounding defensive. See what FB does to me? lol.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Glenn Stok,

Maybe you should try Twitter. I am not upset about your opinion.

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

SweetiePie, I agree with your observations. If it's up there, it can't be all that private. I'm actually leery of all the new privacy settings on Facebook. I think they might lull people into a false sense of security.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


You are right, we should not have a false sense of security when it comes to the new privacy settings. I think it is best not to publish my personal cell phone number and home address on my profile, but I have seen quite a few people doing that.

Teresa Laurente profile image

Teresa Laurente 7 years ago from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

Very informative and I agree with you too. I like pastries too, but I buy the gluten free. It is quite expensive than the regular but it's okay. Take care.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Thanks Teresa, but where in this hub did I mention pastries? I guess I am missing something.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

I also find it amazing what people are willing to make public on Facebook while simultaneously guarding their "privacy." I've hidden Facebook friends (haven't had it in me to delete them yet) who are 1.) too foul-mouthed, 2.) overtly sexual in their posts, and 3.) too dramatic: (fill in name of friend or lover) is ALL RIGHT, and that's all that matters! followed by 25 responses of "what happened?" "what's wrong?" etc.

Facebook is a curious tool, and the final form all social media will eventually embrace is still undetermined. Like you and several others who commented here, I'm an introvert, but I'm also introverted on Facebook. I guess introversion is my own form of caution.

This was a good post, thanks for sharing.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


We were just talking on ning about how we do not get the open online flirting thing. It is very weird, and they could send each other private messages if they wanted to engage in such banter :).

Toronto12 profile image

Toronto12 6 years ago from Toronto

I just don't like how they keep trying to change their privacy policy to get ownership of all the content on their network. It can't be a good thing having a private, for profit company retaining the personal data of tens of millions of people...

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I think maybe you are worrying about this a bit too much Toronto. If you do not post anything too private to Facebook I would not worry :).

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agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia

I agree with you SweetiePie. My policy is to regard everything on the Internet as public regardless of settings. If someone has something they do not want the whole world to know about don't post it on the internet anywhere! PERIOD and I mean anywhere :-)

Great topic and great Hub :-)

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I am glad you can see where I am coming from Peter!

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