Yesterday, the social media world found themselves in a tizzy over the revelation of Facebook's brand new way to share even more personal information.
If you are pregnant, you can now add your unborn baby to your list of family members via the "Expected: Child" option. Little baby X will appear alongside other labeled family members like your siblings, cousins, parents and aunts & uncles.
This minor little addition to the network's information options has apparently creeped out the internet community. Of all the things, Facebook...this one is the worst! Some of the response on Twitter would lead you to believe that Facebook how now implemented a mandatory ultrasound photo-album for every expectant user. "NO FACEBOOK, PLEEEAASE DON'T ADD THE EXPECTING STATUS FFUUUUUUUUUUU."
Other quips: "REALLY?!" "Ugh...." and "Very, very wrong."
And my favorite, "Too far, Facebook. Too far."
Really? And yes, the outraged public has got me saying "Really?" to their "Really(s)." This is the strange, creepy action of questionable privacy practices from the good folks at Facebook that makes you "want to rip your eyeballs out," as one Mashable commenter said? Apparently for some interweb denizens, this is the ultimate Facebook faux pas.
In light of this turgid reaction, I thought I'd make a quick list of things that Facebook allows users to do that are either just as creepy or more creepy than this new expecting baby thing -
- Poking. Did you realize that poking any one of your friends at any time is still an option? And people still do it? Nevermind the strange sexual connotations of "poking" your friend, but the act of poking (with your finger or an inanimate object) is strange enough on its own.
- Facebook allows you to tag people at places without their knowledge. If users haven't disabled this in the privacy settings, they can be geotagged anywhere for all of their friends to see. This option is loaded with chances for pranks - "No, I wasn't with Jake at the sperm bank...I swear."
- Religion and Political affiliation - two of the oldest profile categories around. Can you honestly say that baby news is inherently more private than personal ideology?
- Relationship Status changes are creepier than the new pregnancy status changes. Hands down. People volunteer their breakups minutes after they occur. "John went from "In a relationship" to "single." And people can LIKE that! Plus, the announcement of an engagement is just as personal announcing a child, but people love to do that on the social network.
- Every single thing that every single person says about their daily lives. The weird everyday things that people divulge on Facebook can make announcing a pregnancy look as mundane as "liking" the page for "cheese."
An unborn child becomes part of a family as soon as the parents learn of its existence. They love it, prepare for it, and accommodate it in the same way they do for existing children. At least that's my experience with expecting parents. Why not share that information with your Facebook friends? Sure beats creating a profile page for the little guy/girl.
Some have complained that these kind of things will make the sharing of scared information very "clinical." Sure, to some, announcing your pregnancy on Facebook sounds like a terrible idea. But for others, would it really be bad to log on and see hundreds of "likes" and hundreds of congratulations from people in their life? Sure beats calling everyone on the phone. (And people announce babies on Facebook anyways, just not as members of their family until now)
Of course it could lead to an awkward situation if an expectant mother or father lost the child.
And the Daily Mail quotes one woman as saying, "'Have duly added "Expected: Child" to Facebook profile. Will now await deluge of targeted pregnancy ads." So yeah, there's that.
But like most other options to share information about yourself on Facebook, there are privacy settings involved. You don't have to do it. And to call the new "expecting" option on Facebook the creepiest thing ever is just ridiculous.