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Are Non-Facebook Users ‘Suspicious’?

People who avoid social media sites could be raising red flags in their personal and professional lives.

What do Batman theater shooter James Holmes and Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik have in common? According to the German news magazine Der Tagesspiegel, both men lacked a Facebook account.

Slashdot’s summary of the German article: “Not having a Facebook account could be the first sign that you are a mass murderer.”

Though not going so far as to label non-Facebook users sociopaths, Kashmir Hill of Forbes warned that those who avoid the social media site could be inviting additional scrutiny.

“Anecdotally, I’ve heard both job seekers and employers wonder aloud about what it means if a job candidate doesn’t have a Facebook account. Does it mean they deactivated it because it was full of red flags? Are they hiding something?” she wrote.

Hill speculated that getting through life without a Facebook account might soon become equivalent to “trying to get into a bar without a driver’s license.”

While the potential professional ramifications are one thing, non-Facebook users may also face issues in their personal lives as well.

A Slate Magazine article advises readers to be suspicious of any date who does not have a Facebook profile.

“If you’re of a certain age and you meet someone who you are about to go to bed with, and that person doesn't have a Facebook page, you may be getting a false name. It could be some kind of red flag,” wrote Slate advice columnist Emily Yoffe.

The Daily Mail summarized the issue as follows: “It's the suspicion that not being on Facebook, which has become so normal among young adults, is a sign that you're abnormal and dysfunctional, or even dangerous.” 

Is not having a Facebook account abnormal? Do you think it is fair that people should be judged professionally or personally for not participating in social media? Let us know in the comments.

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Craig Reed August 08, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I'm pretty sure Hitler would been on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I'm surprised a Geman researcher overlooked that scenario. (not). As for me, I'm part of the Resistance.
The Dish August 08, 2012 at 03:54 PM
My thoughts exactly! It's not that I have anything to hide or that I'm 'technically challenged'. I would just rather spend my time with my family and friends instead of 'Facebooking' about it. I don't care if other people Facebook. Why should they care if I don't? I'm sure you could link way more people together who have Facebook accounts that have done something crazy vs those without an account. (at least in recent years....as the article is alluding to) My name is Tish, and I am a non-Facebook user.
Kasey August 09, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I am a 28 year old female, happily married to a wonderful man that I have known for 16+ years. I do not have a career nor do I have children. While I do have a Facebook account, I rarely sign into the site. I use an alias as my username and restrict posting to my “wall”. I do not post content, nor do I bother skimming through the various contents posted by others. For all intents and purposes, I am a non-Facebook user. I think it's beyond ridiculous that individuals with such intelligence would attempt to link non-Facebook users with the likes of those that have carried out atrocious acts on humanity. According to these studies, anyone who has yet to jump on the social media bandwagon due to a preference in not only privacy (I don’t care to publish my journal to a blog, does this mean I’m a sociopath?), but also more traditional forms of communication and establishing/maintaining relationships; then there is a likely possibility that these individuals are incapable of trust, responsibility, and more importantly capable of mass murder and genocide…. Wow, I suppose I should warn my husband now. LOL
Nick Schultz March 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM
This article is so offensive to me! The idea that someone could be judged professionally for not having a Facebook account is such bullshit! Just because a person enjoys their privacy, doesn't mean their purposefully hiding something. They just don't feel like exposing every mundane detail of their lives to the irrelevant judgement of other people. I've been living without social media for over 2 years now and my life is so much easier because of it. I do however fear finally telling girls whom I'm interested in that I'm not socially networked because having a relationship is such a key symbol of status to today's social networking sites. People today consciously or unconsciously choose people for relationships based on how it reflects in their status updates rather than for the people themselves. It makes people like me who have no network presence, virtual-lepers, because there's no way of proving to their friends that they're dating a real person. It's so hard to to keep new relationships with people I meet once they know the truth. I'm actually trying to find support groups for people like me who aren't "linked in". Can anyone help me?
Dave Ballard March 12, 2013 at 10:50 AM
On one hand, refusal to deal with "the herd" on it's terms could be seen as anti-social, and a sign that maybe you are suspiciously different from the the rest of "the herd." That's what people have meant for generations (way before FB, etc.) when they'd call somone "a bit of a loner:" it's code-speak for "weirdo." On the other hand, defending one's privacy online is hard enough WITHOUT a social media account. The idea that those who defend that privacy by avoiding the traps FB has to offer (myself included, I admit) are being labelled "strange," "un-hirable," or even "murderously inclined" because of it rings all sorts of alarm bells in my head. We all remember the 2-way video screens in "1984," right? Anyone ever wonder how they came to BE in all those places in the book, like inside every room in every person's house? I'm sure most of us just assumed that Big Brother just forced his way in, but somehow I doubt it. I COULD see it though, if once upon a time, the people in Orwell's vision INVITED those screens into their homes in the name of "being connected..."

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