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Privacy on Social Media: The Friends of Friends Rule - What NOT to Share on Social Media

Updated on December 5, 2015

I've had enough. From now on, my Facebook page is just going to be cats, memes, and articles I want to read. Nothing personal because it's not private enough to be that personal.

For those of you who might not know, the way Facebook works is that we can limit our posts to friends only. However, when a friend likes or comments on that post, then all of THEIR friends now get to see it. They might not get to comment or like, but it's going to show up in their news feed. So, if I only have 100 friends and my husband has 700, but 60 of those are mutual, that leaves 640 people (friends of my friend) who still get to see everything that he comments on, tags me in, or likes.

It gets exponential, though, even just in looking at a normal post on Facebook. Say five people currently like it, and three different people have commented. This means that all of my friends (people who currently can see the post) has now been extended to all of THEIR FRIENDS. That's a nearly unlimited number of people, as the circle continues to extend when more people like or comment on that post.

We think we can limit what people see with our privacy settings, but we're at the mercy of all of our friends (and their friends) and their privacy settings.

This is why I'm so crazy about this. I can limit what I like or comment on, but anything I get tagged in or anything that I share and is liked or commented on becomes free game. Because even when I attempt to control things on my end, the true number of people who see things is almost endless.

Why Am I Suddenly All About Privacy on Facebook?

For the second time in two days, I was approached by someone who I didn't know asking about my friend's baby. The second guy followed me for a bit, to the point where I was planning my exit from the store so I could leave with a group of people. When he finally approached me, I was totally on-guard. He's overly friendly, trying to touch my arm and he's asking when he can see the baby and I'm confused as all hell because, obviously, I don't even have children. He was brazen and far too familiar.

How have we reached this point? Where complete strangers feel they know us, to the point where they come up and talk as though we're close friends...

Even my nurse the other day knew me from Facebook ; and even though she was friendly, I was caught off-guard then too because she instantly assumed a mantle of friendship when I didn't even know her name. I'm there to talk about health concerns and she's babbling on about a friend of a friend.

I don't know how to address this issue on a personal scale, yet. But I'm going to start by changing my privacy settings and disallowing myself to be tagged in things.

You can think I'm being extreme. And hell, I might be. But something has shifted and I hate this feeling of helplessness; like strangers have a key into my personal life.


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