If there’s anything we should have learned about Facebook by now, it’s that “privacy” is an essentially meaningless word to the company, and any privacy settings that you have now will be undone in the next update. Jeff, who is a writer, uses Facebook but keeps his profile pretty locked down in order to keep his personal life separate from his public persona. (We empathize.) He set up his account so that his list of friends wouldn’t be visible to his other friends in order to prevent people he knows from adding virtual strangers who happen to be on Jeff’s friends list.
I am a writer by profession, and a lot of what I write is consumed by the general public. Writing opinions about mobile tech gets a lot of people’s passions stirred up in both positive and negative ways. Understandably, I keep my Facebook profile pretty locked down to keep my personal life separate from my public profile as a writer.
One thing in particular I do is to keep my list of friends visible to only myself. I had a previous experience where I added a friend on Facebook, who was a real-world acquaintance. The proceeded to invite every single one of my other friends to be their friend, despite not actually knowing any of my other friends. To prevent my other friends from getting this type of spam, I changed visibility so it would not be public.
All was well and good, or so I thought. Recently, a friend of mine created a Facebook profile. She requested I be her first “friend”, and I quickly approved her request. She is also aware of how I lock down my profile and for what reasons. Upon visiting my profile, she noted how she was unable to see any of my friends, which was what we expected. When she returned to the main Facebook feed page though, imagine our surprised when every one of my friends was visible to her right on the front page. Facebook had not only recommended she friend my friends, but also let her know that I was the mutual friend between us.
In essence, Facebook has complete disregard for my choice to limit the visibility of my friends other people, going as far actively promoting my friends list to others.