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Facebook is Not Your Friend

Updated on June 14, 2012
Facebook is Not Your Friend Photo
Facebook is Not Your Friend Photo

Much ado was made recently over the historic Facebook IPO and by now most of us have found it was much ado about nothing. Plagued by disappointing results and lawsuits, Facebook is still far from losing money. Nearly 850 million users have made Facebook worth approximately $75 billion. An extraordinary amount of money for a company whose only inventory is its users and their digital data. Users give much to Facebook, yet get little in return. And sometimes what we do get is more than what we bargain for.

How Facebook Is Getting Rich Off Users

We willingly share photographs, home towns, phone numbers, email accounts and relationship information. We publicly like television shows, music groups, movies, books, companies, organizations, charities, causes and events. And what does Facebook do with all of this information? They sell it of course.

Facebook makes money by selling advertising space to companies who want to market their products to users and we couldn’t be more accommodating. Facebook generated $3.2 billion in advertising revenue from its data inventory in 2011.

Facebook Could Be Costing You Jobs, Credit and More

Many employers are turning to Facebook when considering job applicants. The high unemployment rate means many more people competing for jobs. A quick look at a candidate's Facebook posts can mean the difference between being hired or being passed over.

Companies like Credit Karma uses algorithms to gather social data for financial institutions. By assessing your social interactions on Facebook, these companies can tell banks whether you’re likely to engage in certain risky behaviors. Insurance companies are using these services as well. Often, banks and insurance companies cut out the middle man altogether by friending potential customers directly. Colleges and universities also often turn to Facebook when making admissions decisions.

While financial and educational institutions can’t use any data related to race, marital status or receipt of public assistance because it’s illegal for them to do so, they can use your social interaction via posts, comments and photos.

Facebook is Profiling You

Some critics say Facebook is also enabling gender and socio economic profiling. Users who reside in statistically poorer neighborhoods may find themselves flooded with ads for trade schools instead of prestigious universities. Women are often shown ads for cosmetics, diet trends and celebrity tabloids.

How to Show Facebook Who’s Boss

Users can easily counteract Facebook’s sneaky behavior in several ways. Set your privacy settings appropriately. It’s now possible to change who sees your profile and posts. For example, if you don’t want a potential employer to view your questionable photos then be sure to change your settings to close friends.

Consider carefully before liking companies, organizations, etc.

Don’t feel as though you have to accept every friend request you receive. Ignore or deny requests from people you don’t know.

Limit who can see your past posts. The new Timeline design now makes it possible for embarrassing older posts to come back to haunt you. Change your privacy settings to limit who has access to these old-but-not-dead posts.

Last but not least, if you’ve really had enough of Facebook and its greedy, nosey, tell all behavior then do what more and more users are doing – deactivate or permanently delete your Facebook profile. But prepared for the possibility of going into Facebook withdrawal.


Do you have a Facebook account?

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    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks so much for your comment KristnenN4Boys! Facebook can be quite addictive! Yes, it's always wise to be careful when setting privacy settings. I've had mine set very conservatively for awhile and have very few, if any, problems - aside from the annoying game requests :)

    • KristenN4Boys profile image

      KristenN4Boys 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      I'm a Facebook addict. I'll admit. I have privacy settings set. I just wish I'd been more selective with accepting friends in the beginning. I feel kind of bad unfriending them now. :) Great Hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks so much for your comment and compliment, Vin Chauhun!! Setting FB privacy settings carefully is key. We can never be too careful online :)

    • Vin Chauhun profile image

      Vin Chauhun 

      6 years ago from Durban

      I share many of your views, I don't click on any of their ads/offers/etc...and keep a tight reign over post, but i still could tighten things up....more to my benefit ! Informative article

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Yes, GDRshop, I think the only real way to limit what FB knows about you is to just not use the service. We really have to be so careful with our personal information nowadays. Thanks for the comment!

    • GDRshop profile image

      GDRshop 

      6 years ago

      I still have privacy issues when using Facebook's services

    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 

      6 years ago from Texas

      You're very welcome :)

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks so much for comment and compliments, prospectboy! I'm the same way. I pay very close attention to my privacy settings, who I accept requests from, etc. when it comes to FB. I honestly feel everyone should. And, yes, FB is getting extremely rich off of its users! Thanks for the vote and share :-)

    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Awesome information. I still use Facebook mainly for sharing my links etc, but I've greatly cut back on sharing anything personal, or frequently updating my status. It's amazing the staggering amount of money that Facebook is making from users. You have provided some greatly valuable information here. I think it's time for me to change some of my settings after reading this. Great job! Voted up, and shared on both Facebook and Twitter :)

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for your comment, Normapadro! Yes, I also get caught up with other people's posts and sometimes spend a little more time on Facebook than I'd like. I'm with you on those ads too - I pay very little attention to them. I'm also picky about who I accept as a friend. You never really know who someone is when you only "know" them online. Thanks again for your comment!

    • profile image

      Normapadro 

      6 years ago

      Hi. I have facebook and twitter. I like going into facebook, because there are so many stories from all over the world. I learn a lot from people too.

      They come in and friend me, but when they begin to add in decent photos I delete and block them. What I'm doing lately is screening who want's to be my friend. If they have questionable content on their wall I don't accept them.

      I like things to be public. I like it because people can see when I have a new book published. I'm very social online. I add comments to other people's sites. I follow and they follow me. It's a very nice way to keep in touch with the world today.

      Sometimes I get too caught up on stories and forget there is any ads around. I like web surfing. I go from page to page. I don't stay in one area for too long. This is what I do.

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Yes, LetitiaFT, Facebook is indeed very sneaky! Your ad scenario has happened to me many, many times. Many people aren't aware that companies often check up on people by looking at their Facebook pages. At this point all you can do is limit what you post, be diligent when setting your privacy settings or do away with Facebook all together. Thanks so much for your comment!

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 

      6 years ago from Paris via California

      I knew FB was selling our statistics and like google targeting us with advertising (I once did a google search for a dishwasher, looked at about 10, printed one, and the next time I logged onto FB they bombarded me with ads for the one I actually printed!) But I had no idea even insurance companies were using it. It's tempting sometimes to drop the whole thing and leave them with their empty hype, but it remains a good way to catch up and keep up with old friends. They've sure got us between a rock and a hard place!

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      TToombso8, you are so right! There is far too much drama on Facebook and it gets tiresome to say the least. It amazes me how otherwise seemingly intelligent people often post ridiculous, embarrassing information! Twitter certainly is much less personal and the fact that it limits how long posts can be probably has a lot to do with it. Maybe FB should follow suit? :)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      I agree with you on so many points about FB. I have gotten so sick of reading my "friends" whining about they bf dumping them and begging him to come back, or posting pornographic pictures, or sharing the millionth picture of their puppy. I mostly use it like twitter, dig, stumble, pin, ect. Short, to the point, and not very personal. That's what the phone and in person is for. Call me old fashion. Voted this up and more.

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks victorylane! I appreciate your comment and compliment!

    • victorylane profile image

      victorylane 

      6 years ago from Tennessee

      good hub ;) very informative

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