"Please do me a favor and move your mouse over my name here, wait for the box to load and then move your mouse over the "Subscribe" link. Then uncheck the "Comments and Likes". I would really rather that my comments on friends and families posts not be made public, thank You! Then re-post this if you don't want your every single move posted on the right side in the "Ticker Box" for everyone to see!"
Friends are asking friends to take very exaggerated, per-person steps to ensure that their privacy is protected.. The requester's privacy, that is. They're asking each and every one of their friends (hundreds, maybe thousands) to each individually hover over their name and check a box. If I did that, that'd mean I'm asking 2,000 people to each do something just so I feel a bit safer on the internet.
And thanks to Sophos for pointing out a much easier setting change -- that the concerned party can make once, instead of inconveniencing hundreds or thousands of people -- that you can post back to your friends who make this ridiculous request.
However, there's a much, much simpler way to handle this. But it hasn't really occurred to people, because the option is buried deep in the settings of Facebook, as well as hundreds of thousands of websites across the internet. It's a simple, one-step process that will ensure 100% privacy on each and every website. Curious? Well here it is:
Now, I know that seems kinda crazy! "But Joe, isn't it Facebook's responsibility to keep my information private and secret?" Nope. It's yours. Facebook is software. Livejournal is software. Blogger is software. Dropbox is software. It's all set up to make your life convenient -- and part of that convenience is the peace of mind that your account information and details are kept from the prying eyes of people who would do you harm.
There is security enough in those systems to make sure your password, credit card information (if applicable), and other details are locked down. That stuff can be compartmentalized and encrypted where it's theoretically impossible (or at least impractical) to be stolen and used maliciously.
But anything you post that's actually intended for public view? Pictures of your kids? Status updates about that girl you really, really hate and wish would die? Your favorite TV shows? You make a decision each and every time you decide to post that stuff. And the decision isn't "How do I best word this status update for maximum pain and suffering for the girl I am talking about without her actually seeing it?"
This is the internet, folks. Privacy is not a given. You want something you say to be private? Write it in a notebook. You want something to stay between you and your family? Call them on the phone. Mail them a letter or a package.
I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't use Facebook. I'm saying you should quit being a fucking retard about privacy and realize that a) if it's on the internet, assume it's not private, b) it's not the platform's fault that your precious privacy that you ASSUMED you had isn't really there, and c) it's not MY responsibility to go hovering over YOUR name and change your settings for you, you prick.