How public is Facebook?

Says my friend (also my Facebook “friend”) Antoine Clarke:

“Elites” in the USA, the UK and the EU claim that the masses who favour President Trump, Brexit, or oppose EU control of Italy’s government are “illiterates” , “uneducated” etc. So who’s been in charge of education?

Good point.

But, it’s on Facebook, and I don’t understand Facebook. I don’t believe I am betraying anything especially private here, but maybe I am. I am taking that chance.

With blogging, it’s very simple. What you see is public. You can copy anything on a blog, and paste it into your blog, for all the world to read in the unlikely event that it wants to. All that etiquette demands is that you mention the source of what you copied. But when I read something on Facebook, what can I use? I don’t know.

A friend (also FB “friend”) of mine is just now at the cinema, with his wife, according to a posting by him on Facebook. There was a picture of the two of them, with a movie star in another poster behind them. And there, you see, I may already be spilling beans. What if they told their last-minute – please please can you help us out, this once?!?! – babysitter that they had an “urgent appointment”, medical or some such thing? But really, they were just going to the cinema? If the babysitter also reads this blog, and reads this, it could take them weeks to unscramble the mess. That’s all pretty unlikely, of course. But something like that could happen, or so I fear.

Twitter, like blogging, is fairly straightforward. Anybody can read someone Twittering away, on Twitter, and everything there is accordingly public. If I can see it on Twitter, I can quote it here. Right? I could be wrong, but that’s what I now assume. But with Facebook, I don’t know where I am.

I have a friend (also FB “friend”) who sometimes tells me things in the strictest confidence, in a way which suggests to me that, really, what he wants is for me to say this to everyone I subsequently meet, but keeping his name out of it. Or something. I never really know.

I will be a blogger until I die, because with blogging, all this is straightforward and out in the open. Which means I have to get myself a new blog which goes at a proper speed, unlike this one. People do still read this blog. But the time it takes to load up introduces another version of not-very-publicness. That needs to be done away with, asap. Another friend (also “friend”) is, or so I hope, helping out with that.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

One thought on “How public is Facebook?”

  1. A friend (also “friend”) commented:

    I have a feeling that may have been me at the cinema. If so I have now outed myself!

    I think it is sensible not to say things on Facebook that one would not want repeated. But yes, it is also a bit like talking privately to friends. Blogging is simpler.

    Posted by Rob Fisher on 08 June 2018

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