2012-12-27

About Facebook

I am a social media professional, and I don't use Facebook.

I maintain an account so that I can manage my employer's page, and occasionally like or comment on my friends posts. Since August 2012, I have not posted any original content on Facebook, and deleted most of the photos that had been uploaded since I joined in early 2009.

This morning I logged on to discover that Facebook included my account in the limited rollout of their new paid messaging program. What this means for me is that my existing privacy setting have been "retired." Starting today, I can no longer choose who can send me messages. Anyone can now message me, instead of just my friends. Attached is a screenshot I took this morning, edited for privacy.

Transcript: "New: The old "Who can send you Facebook messages" setting is being retired. Now anyone can message you, but you choose how messages are filtered.
Right now, you mostly see stuff from friends in your inbox. To review your filtering options, click Other > Edit Preferences.
Button: Okay, I Understand"

Now, I am a private person, but by nature of my work, I interact with hundreds, even thousands of people, many of them online. I like to separate my personal life and friendships from my professional relationships and work contacts. Since everybody and their brother uses Facebook, I have instituted a simple policy: unless you are an actual friend of mine (i.e. someone I am not paid to interact with, but rather someone whose company I seek out voluntarily), I will not connect with you on Facebook. Also, if you are not a direct connection of mine, you were until today unable to message me, text me, or otherwise bug me on Facebook. You could not even find me there unless you had a common connection.

Not anymore. Now if you are a recruiter, reporter, or some other party interested in getting your message to me, you can ignore all the official channels and simply pay a buck to drop me a message in my personal Facebook inbox. And it will place it there, because otherwise it could not charge you that dollar.

Behold the new "filter" choices, which really aren't:

Transcript: "Basic Filtering · Recommended
Mostly see messages from friends or people you may know.
Strict Filtering
Mostly see messages from friends. Messages from people you want to hear from may go to your Other folder.

Note that neither option is deterministic because of the weasel word "mostly," and how they recommend the laxer filtering setting.

Anyways, this only means that I will be further reducing my exposure to Facebook, and that if you want to message me, you better drop me an email. Because if you know me, you probably know one of my email addresses.