Facebook will probably always struggle to search for the right balance and the right way to give users control. That being said, Facebook’s privacy settings are not even an issue when it comes to creating a Facebook page similar to what the family from Brian’s workshop created. The reason, ironically, is that you don’t want to limit who can see your information. To understand this statement, you need to know that Facebook offers two types of accounts: personal “Profile” accounts and more business-oriented “Page” accounts.
Profile accounts are for individuals only and per Facebook’s policy, must contain the person’s real first and last name. Most Facebook users create a profile account. A profile account allows friends to find you and you to find them. For adoption outreach purposes, these personal profile accounts are a great tool to use to expand your network and ask your friends to help you spread the word about your adoption plans.
Page accounts represent a business; a brand, product, or organization; or an artist, band, or public figure. A page account is visible to anyone on the Internet (unlike a profile account where you would likely want to greatly limit what everyone, especially “non-friends,” can see). During our training, we suggest that families create an adoption page just like what the family who sat next to Brian did.
If a Facebook user wants to follow a business or artist, they can “Like” the page (this was previously called “Become a Fan”). Liking a business page means they automatically see the business’s posts, links, and other information on their personal profile page. The link that Brian’s sister-in-law sent him was to a “business” page because it showed up on her profile when a friend of hers “liked” it.
Pages are a great advertising vehicle because as we learned from Brian, word spreads quickly outside of your direct network. One person “likes” your page and their friends see it. Some of them will check it out and hopefully some of those people will “like” it, too. An example of a Facebook “page” is the My Adoption Advisor page (Have you “Liked” us yet by the way?).
The Bottom Line
So now that you know the difference between a profile account (e.g. Tom Smith) and a page account (e.g. Tom & Sue are Hoping to Adopt) and that you want everyone on the Internet to be able to see your adoption page information, how on earth do you protect your privacy when creating a Facebook adoption page? It’s simple. Do not put confidential information on your page! It actually has nothing to do with Facebook’s privacy settings.
- Don’t share your last name.
- Don’t “Like” your page from your personal profile account (that contains your last name) or someone can match pictures and identify your last name from your profile account.
- Don’t share your home phone number on your page. Anyone can do a reverse lookup on your phone number to find your last name, current address, previous cities that you have lived in, and relatives. And that’s only the information that is available for free!
- Don’t share your work email address because you do not want anyone to know where you work.
- Don’t create an email address with your last name.
- Don’t put confidential information in your posts.
- Don’t forget to analyze closely any pictures that you post to your page. Do they communicate something you don’t want to communicate?
- Don’t forget to monitor what others post on your page. You want friends and others to post supporting information so expectant parents can learn a little more about you, but those who post may not think about what they are saying from a privacy or adoption perspective. It is your job to delete inappropriate posts on your page (which you have access to do).
A Facebook page is a free and powerful tool
that is great for adoption networking and advertising purposes.
You control the content and what others can learn about you.
Don’t let concerns about Facebook privacy settings
prevent you from leveraging Facebook business/adoption pages.