It comes up every so often on Facebook. Someone gets in a panic about an application that steals data or a new Facebook feature that exposes your personal information. The next thing you know, there is the panicked post in your news feed (most likely cut and pasted from elsewhere) telling everyone what they must do to escape the impending doom.
The problem is, the posts aren’t always accurate. I try to check out all the claims I see and usually the person has re-posted a rumor, or worse, posted the wrong fix for the problem. Usually I let them go and don’t get involved; that is unless the post is so blatantly false I feel compelled to comment.
That’s what I did recently. Someone had posted an incorrect fix to disable the new “Facebook Places” functionality. This person had five people saying “thanks” and were implementing the suggested fix immediately.
That’s when I had to act. I succinctly pointed out that the fix was wrong, why the fix was wrong and what the correct fix was. I even posted a link to a video that showed how to disable the feature. I thought I was being helpful. I thought I would hear thanks” What I heard was crickets.
That’s when I realized I handled the situation wrong. I won the debate. My information was accurate. However, I killed the post. In a sincere effort to help, I forgot some advice that I heard from Gerald G Jampolsky years ago. “You can be right or you can be happy”. I was right and now I”m not happy. I should have addressed the inaccuracy in private and given the “poster” the chance to save face. Instead, I charged ahead to show that I had the right answer. That was wrong.
I have two pieces of advice: First, be careful when correcting your friends on Facebook. You can kill a good post and possibly upset a friend by correcting him/her in public. Second, don’ believe what’s posted on Facebook just because your friend posted it. Because trust is high, you are inclined to believe what your friends post and sometimes your friends are wrong. Check out the cures, claims and advice you get before charging ahead. It may save you some heartache later.