Facebook is a wonderful social network, allowing you to keep in touch with friends and family, without worrying about distance. Sadly, any social site, especially in the age of online anonymity, is going to have a less savory side. Because of there this, there is an intricate set of rules and unofficial protocols, known as Facebook etiquette, designed to ensure that everybody has a safe, fun place to network and meet.
Problems With Facebook: Facebook Login Identity
One issue is the problem of your Facebook login identity. Some people prefer to keep their name secret and sign up under a pseudonym, which is perfectly acceptable if this anonymous Facebook profile isn’t used to harass other users. However, it is seen as a serious breach of FB etiquette to impersonate somebody else.
Apart from being a breach of the Terms of service that will see you booted from the site, it is extremely immoral. If somebody is fooled by a false identity and adds you to their friends list, you could have access to personal thoughts and photos that they only want close friends and family to see.
Facebook Help: The Age Limit
Facebook does have an age limit, based upon protective US laws that prevent minors, seen as under the age of 13, from creating an online profile on sites like FB. It is a sad fact of the modern world that, whilst most people are kind and decent, there are unsavory characters who will actively search for the profiles of children.
Many well-meaning parents fall into a grey area, where they set up profile for their new baby so that they can share christening photos or the latest news. This is technically illegal and a breach of FaceBook etiquette; you can always create separate baby photo albums in your own account.
Trolling Your Facebook Friends
Everybody hates trolls, the bane of the online world. These sad individuals have nothing better to do than trawl the internet looking for people to abuse, posting inflammatory remarks intended to cause distress and gain a reaction.
Sadly, if you keep up with the latest Facebook news, you may remember that there have been some children stalked and harassed to the point of self-harm. What you may think is ‘a bit of fun’ can hurt others, so don’t do it; if you wouldn’t say to someone’s face, don’t hide behind the keyboard.
Facebook takes complaints against trolls and stalkers seriously, and they will ban accounts and report you to the appropriate authorities if necessary.
Illegal Content and Copyright Laws
Facebook tries to provide a safe and fun environment for people of all ages to meet and connect, so it does have restrictions on sexual content, hate speech, material that infringes copyright laws, and a few other areas.
There is little use in complaining about freedom of speech and censorship, because FaceBook is a private business that does what it things best to safeguard its users. Trying to circumvent these rules will see you banned.
Thou Shalt Not Spam
Many people know how to use Facebook for business, unleashing the social networking power of the site to increase fans and promote products and services. This in itself is not a breach of Facebook etiquette and actually adds to the rich texture of the website.
However, spamming your friend’s walls with unrelated links is a no-no. A few links here and there is fine, but don’t overdo it: if you really want to use Facebook marketing strategies, set up a separate page for your business and consider investing in Facebook adverts.
Be Aware of What you Post
Much of the content on Facebook is open to the public, and you should be aware of this. You might have a funny anecdote about a friend, or some embarrassing drunken photos, but find that they really do not want friends, family, or their employer to see it.
If you are in doubt, you can always use the Facebook messages to make sure that they are OK with it. Be especially wary when tagging photos of friends; they may not want their boss to see them in a drunken stupor.
Reply to Facebook Comments
Wherever possible, of people leave comments under your status updates, notes, or photos, it is seen as polite to respond. Due to the quick moving nature of Facebook, where things can be easily buried, it is inevitable that you will miss the odd post; however, try to reply whenever you can.
For the same reason, respect the time of others: your friends might be very busy so try not to comment unless you have something worthwhile to add to the conversation. If you have the Facebook addiction, try to keep it to yourself!
Watch Your Tone of Voice
Without the advantage of body language and facial expressions, it is very easy for your tone to be misunderstood. Think carefully about what you type and, if your passions are running high, walk away and reread your post when you have calmed down before submitting. It is very difficult to ‘unsay’ things online, one of the problems with Facebook and sites alike.
Chain Status Updates
Anybody who has been on Facebook for a while will see those silly chain status updates that do the rounds, inviting you to post them to six friends or a kitten will die somewhere. Do not be tempted to pass these on; your friends will hate you for cluttering up their newsfeed with such irrelevance. These updates are often filled with fake information, such as scare stories about a non-existent computer virus. These are created by sad individuals seeking a fleeting moment of fame, and they rely on people with Facebook addiction to improve their sense of self-importance.
Facebook Etiquette: Avoid Problems With Facebook
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list covering Facebook etiquette, but it does give you an overall view of some of the things you should be on the lookout for. These conventions governing Facebook are not there to restrict your freedom and rights, but to ensure that everyone can use the website safely and avoid problems.