While Facebook has become a connection for many, it can also serve as a venue for frustration.
I saw this several weeks ago when I watched my wife become so extremely frustrated with Facebook that she eventually deleted her account. Her reasoning was simple and was based on one out of control application. Yes, our daughter had asked her to check out this particular application, but once she did, there was no way to delete it. She had contacted the Mood Detector website and sent multiple requests until finally it got even worse. The app then changed the name from hers to another while still posting to her site. It additionally began to add objectionable links to other sites that were offensive to her.
To fix the posting of this erroneous information that appeared to be coming from her, she contacted Facebook for assistance (at least three times), but when no assistance was forthcoming, she found herself at a loss as to how to prevent this information from being forwarded to her friends. However, over all, this incident is more about a misunderstanding about how Facebook functions than about an errant application running amok on her account.
While this incident was personal, it is not — by far — the only complaint that I have heard. In fact, during the past few years as Facebook has expanded and made a multitude of changes, I have seen my small listing of friends complain about similar injustices. However, these frustrations may have been avoided if these people had taken the time to learn some simple basic options. These options, available to all Facebook users, might have been able to prevent these annoyances in the first place.
I have listed a few of these preventable annoyances along with simple-to-follow rules to avoid them. This post, along with another recently offered by fellow LockerGnome writer John McKinlay about Five Frequently Forgotten Facebook Functions, should help solve your Facebook woes (and, if not, leave a comment below and we’ll try and address it in the future).
Adding (and Subtracting) Friends
Over at the Free Dictionary site a friend is defined as:
- A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
- A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
- A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
- One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement.
Yet, on a social networking site, a request to become a friend may come from a complete stranger. It can be someone we have never met, or a person we have absolutely nothing in common with or association to. This means that you can say “no” or simply ignore requests from strangers to access your site. There is absolutely no reason that one needs to accept any unwanted friendship requests. My advice would be to keep your friends list small, thus enabling you to actually read and enjoy your common interests and social activities with those you know and care about.
However, if you find yourself currently inundated with a vast assortment of people you don’t know, and would like to delete some of them, it is easy to eliminate those people by merely following the below information, which was taken from the Help section at Facebook.
To unfriend someone:
- Go to that person’s profile (timeline)
- Hover over the Friends box at the top of their profile (timeline)
- Click Unfriend
Accepting (and Denying) Application or Game Requests
Many of us have found ourselves falling victim to the following carrot sent by a friend: ‘If I can get just one more cow or one more bale of hay, I can achieve top score in…’ whatever. Fill in the blank; that person will be a contender. Then, feeling obligated or wanting to help that person achieve their goal, we have accepted the challenge to join in only to later discover that the purpose of this innocent game was to acquire personal information and call it into a centralized server. In other words, it is like placing personal information on a billboard at a bus terminal where the stored information about you can be read by strangers. That means that, to protect yourself, you don’t want to put your personal information out there for everyone to read.
To avoid this trap, don’t join in the first place. But if you already find yourself a victim, you can remove the app by doing the following (again, this information is taken from the Help section at Facebook).
To remove an app:
- Click at the top right of any Facebook page and choose Account Settings.
- From the menu in the left column, select App Settings.
- Click the app you’d like to remove, then click the Remove App link.
Fine Tune Your Notifications
Another annoyance occurs when Facebook informs you, via email, that someone has posted a comment on your page. For some of us this may not be a big deal but, for others, this can create an insurmountable amount of email to meander through. If this is the case for you, it may be time to curtail some of these notifications.
Be comforted by the fact that you can limit or eliminate them, but there is just one minor problem with the way that Facebook handles notifications: It’s semi-difficult to uncheck all of the boxes from the different categories. However, if you are patient and take your time, you can free up your inbox from clutter and free yourself from Facebook.
The process to turn off notifications requires you to go into your Account Settings and click on Notifications. The first option you can try is to check Email Frequency; this will allow you to still receive important updates and a summary of notifications while eliminating individual emails.
Once this is done, 13 categories with approximately 70+ areas of notifications are displayed. Each of these categories and subcategories require an action from you. This is your individual choice and requires you to uncheck any item from which you no longer wish notification. I personally have unchecked each of them and now receive no notifications, which allows me the opportunity to manually go out and look at Facebook entries at my leisure.
Facebook Privacy Settings
Unfortunately, another avenue of concern is how easy it is for the unscrupulous to attain access to your Facebook account information. To prevent becoming a victim of privacy invasion, you need to secure your Facebook account beforehand. To achieve this lofty goal, take a trip over to your Facebook account and go into you Privacy Settings.
Once there, you will find that one of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to block everything and don’t allow access by anyone. However, just like it was when turning off notifications, there is no one button to turn everything off. You have to wade through all of the settings to turn off or leave on the settings of your choosing. I personally would recommend that you limit access of your information to known friends only.
Social Fixer for Facebook
No matter which browser you use, there is a Social Fixer extension available. Social Fixer is an easy way to control Facebook behavior and I highly recommend giving it a try.
Comments, as always, are welcome.
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by stoneysteiner