Perils of Facebook, part 94

Perils of Facebook, part 94

Summary: If you're happily married and a Facebook user, then don't click on the ad inviting you to 'make contact with friends'. My friend did and look what happened to him ...


I'm still not signed up to Facebook, and remain as resistant as ever to the proposition. Facebook's cavalier attitude to privacy keeps me away, and my resolve has been strengthened by the following email received this weekend from a happily married middle aged friend. It's a salutary and amusing reminder of the many perils of Facebook.

Recently, being a bit wet behind the ears with Facebook, and only really being an occasional user, I clicked on one of the links at the side, which said something like 'do you want to make contact with friends'. I assumed it was something like friends reunited but on Facebook, so I thought I would give it a whirl.

Without realising what I had done, and without any further active effort on my part (the original 'yes' was enough) I found that I was signed up to some kind of dating agency called

Now, I am perfectly happy with my partner (ecstatic in fact), and the last thing I wanted was to sign up for a dating agency. So I tried to get out of it.

But I couldn't. It had generated a password for me but I didn't know it, so when I tried to change the settings it wouldn't let me. After a lot of effort I managed to get it to send me the password, but only by making it think I wanted further involvement — I had to get more embroiled to get unembroiled, if you see what I mean.

Then I found that I couldn't unsubscribe anyway, because 'it appears that the country you subscribed in may not be the same as the one you are unsubscribing from' (so what?).

This (with the help of [my teenage son], who was most amused) I found was because I have got the language of my Facebook page set to Italian, just for fun.

So in the end I am out, and I no longer receive 10 emails a day saying things like 'there are hot chicks waiting to meet you'.

But it was hard, and I am very, very angry. And it has not encouraged me to become a more frequent Facebook user. I suppose it is all I should expect ... But it is a shame that the world has to be like this.

With experiences like that to scare them away, is it any surprise that five and a half billion people on this earth still haven't signed up for Facebook?

Topic: Social Enterprise

Phil Wainewright

About Phil Wainewright

Since 1998, Phil Wainewright has been a thought leader in cloud computing as a blogger, analyst and consultant.

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  • RE: Perils of Facebook, part 94

    Exactly why I won't sign up. My wife is a user. She does it because of the kids and grandkids. But I've already had to make a half a dozen phone calls on her behalf because of "wrong clicks". Stay away.
  • RE: Perils of Facebook, part 94

    I'm right there with you.

    Although my reasoning is slightly different and falls into the "Grass is greener on the other side" category. What worries me about a facebook acount is talking with people from High School and college. Those old girlfriends and even female friends that could have been more. You start talking to one of them and it reminds you of how awesome it was to date back then. You completely lose sight of the fact that you have responsibilities today, kids, work, bills, mortgage and what not so when you're tempted by that old fling you're not realizing it would be completely different with them today too. Then you've ruined your marriage for what? Your washed up Ex who had already ruined her marriage? No thank you.
  • RE: Perils of Facebook, part 94

    This is definitely NOT a reason to stay out of Social Media. Articles like this perpetuate an irrational fear.

    If you have any kind of relationship with your spouse, you should first and foremost tell them if you've had any mishaps or problems on the Internet. If this in anyway weakens your relationship, perhaps it is already weak and perhaps you've already done things in the "analogue world" to contribute to that weakness. If your marriage is so easily ruined perhaps sooner is better than later and perhaps you are doing other things you may be ashamed of.

    What you should be doing, always and everywhere, is protecting your identity. Be careful where you "click." That goes for emails, Facebook, your online banking solution, etc... Telling people they should be careful online is one thing, telling them to stay off of a particular experience is simply dumb advice. This is a mere "fear monger" piece and provides no useful information that can be used to protect oneself.

    This article likely appeals to an older generation - face it, not only are your children on Facebook (if you have any above the age of 12) but so are all of your co-workers or employees under the age of 35.

    So, protect your privacy by not disclosing your entire identity to FaceBook. Let me try and be a little helpful and share:

    1) Do not post your real birthday, for example.
    2) Make sure your Mothers and Fathers do not post their complete names (middle names excluded or your mother's maiden name) etc.
    3) if you are going to be gone from your home, don't announce to the world that your house will be empty! Share with your FB friends your travels AFTER they have happened... this is just a common sense equivalent of NOT letting newspapers pile up on your front door step.

    My point: social life evolves, telling someone to not go to the party because they are unfamiliar with the social norms is wrong - teach them the norms and welcome them into the new era. The new era is happening with or without them.
  • RE: Perils of Facebook, part 94


    (It does wonders) ;)
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Message has been deleted.

  • RE: Perils of Facebook, part 94

    Phil - I agree that Facebook is cavalier about privacy. However, wasn't what your friend did equivalent to clicking on a link in a spam email? The problem with Facebook is not that they present shady ads - that happens in email too. The problem is that every time they add a new "feature" that may expose more personal data, they default it to on and users have to know how to (and know to) opt out.
  • RE: Perils of Facebook, part 94

    Perhaps you can explain to me the difference between clicking such a link on Facebook as opposed to clicking the same link on another site? Because from where I am standing there is no difference at all if your friend had clicked the same type of link on,, or any other website. It's cool that you have your reasons for not using Facebook but don't use blatant FUD like this to justify that decision and get the anti Facebook/ anti social networking trolls all fired up.