Facebook privacy settings seem to be working backwards, so user control is being compromised. Lives are ruined when long-kept secrets are outed in an instant, and no one is ready for the outcome.
Facebook allows users to add their friends to a group - regardless of their say on the matter. So even if you maintain the best Facebook privacy settings, you are not safe. Facebook users do not get to decide whether or not they could be added to a group. You may still get automatically included to a group you don't even want to join in the first place.
Facebook users who have noticed they are automatically being added to a group were aghast. Things work backwards now, they say. You have to check your account history (via Notifications or Activity Log) to see if you have inadvertently joined a group. Then you remove your account as necessary.
In a recent report, The Wall Street Journal told the story of a lesbian and a gay man who were outed to their family and friends by Facebook's tricky group participation system.
Speaking to WSJ, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said:
"Our hearts go out to these young people... Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls."
Understanding Facebook Groups
Groups may be "closed" or "open." But such settings need to be understood by the unsuspecting Facebook users who are being added to the groups without their consent. Admin people of the groups need to be aware of the difference, too.
If a group is "closed" and a Facebook user is added, no announcement comes out. Otherwise, the open group announces the new activity (joined group) to the user's Facebook network. The latter happened to the lesbian and gay man, both of whom were rudely outed to their conservative family.
They thought their privacy settings were okay, but it turned out somebody could override their choices.
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