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Hoax! 'Comments and likes' viral Facebook update

Updated: September 10, 2012, 2:08 PM IST
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Hoax! 'Comments and likes' viral Facebook update
The basic premise of the update that has gone viral on Facebook is incorrect.

New Delhi: Sharing a Facebook update requires little effort and as our social networking experiences show, it also needs little thought. As a result so many hoaxes regularly do the rounds on Facebook with gullible users believing them to be the real deal.

A Facebook update that has appeared in different forms in the past and currently doing the rounds on people's walls reads:

"With the recent changes in FB, people who are not in your contact list can see some of the information you posts to Facebook because one of your friends makes a comment or 'likes' your activity.

This default setting undermines the privacy settings you choose for Facebook - if your friend 'likes' the status that you set to Friends Only, their friends can now also see that status.

I can't change this because this is the way Facebook has configured it. But you can help me out and also request your friends to do the same for you if this is important to you.
PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (do not click). A window will appear. Then move the mouse over "Friends" (also without clicking), then down to "Settings." Click here and a list will appear. Click "Comments and Likes" to remove the check mark next to that item. By doing this, my activity amongst my friends and my family does not become public. Thanks!

Copy and paste this on your wall if you would like your friends do to the same for you..."

The fact is that the basic premise of the above is incorrect. A friend liking a 'friends only' post by you will not make it visible to others who are not your friends on Facebook. It will still remain restricted within your friends on the social networking service. Only updates that have been set to 'friends of friends' and 'public' will be visible to non-friends.

Such hoaxes tend to take advantage of the user ignorance about Facebook's complex privacy settings to make users believe in their content and get them to share it further.

What the hoax update asks users to do, that is to remove 'comments and likes', will actually make your Facebook ticker a lot drier. If you unsubscribe from a user's 'comments and likes' you'll not know what they have commented on or have liked. This will diminish discoverability on Facebook, an important aspect in social netwoking.

Moreover, if you unsubscribe for a particular user's 'comments and likes' it is only you who will stop getting those updates, the rest of his/her friends who are still subscribed to can see the comments and likes.

First Published: September 10, 2012, 2:08 PM IST
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