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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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North Georgia Weather August 07, 2012 at 04:29 PM
What a bunch of baloney.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 04:39 PM
LOL! Safe for you to say - you don't have to worry about being called suspicious!: http://www.facebook.com/pages/DaculaWeathercom/184252154956737 I really do find this interesting. Can you imagine getting turned down for a job for NOT having a Facebook page? I'm sure that wouldn't be the reason given, but what if the lack of a social media presence really is a red flag for employers these days? I don't think it should be, but times have changed from when I first entered the job market.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew August 07, 2012 at 05:22 PM
WOW what a GREAT marketing tool for Facebook… Get an account or no dates or jobs for you. Considering the recent stock price, it just may be an attempt to prevent becoming the next MySpace. Of course if you need to check Facebook before sleeping with someone, you may have other, bigger issues to address first anyway.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Agreed! I bet Twitter wishes they had thought of it! In all seriousness, I can see where an employer might think someone with no Facebook account is not young, hip or tech-savvy enough for a job -- a form of age discrimination I suppose.
Mitch August 07, 2012 at 07:11 PM
My name is Mitch and I am a non-Facebook user. Yes, throw up your red flags – I may be a mass murderer. Go ahead and call me an antisocial weirdo, accuse me of hiding something, and keep your suspicious eyes on me. But, all you will find is a boring old dedicated husband and father of two who works full time during the week and commits evenings and weekends fully to family and home. I can’t even check my Sportscenter app for a Braves score without my 2 year old boy climbing on top of me and if I actually want to watch the Braves on TV, well forget it, my 5 year old girl takes over and it’s Disney Junior no matter which TV I try to run to. If it’s not the kids its home fixings and yard work, the two jobs that NEVER end. Add in some laundry, cooking, dishes, and house cleaning (yes, I actually help out with that stuff too). Once in a blue moon I may get some free time and you will find me watching a sport, maybe a movie, reading or sleeping…Oh, and hanging out on the Patch, but that is on work time, one of the perks of being a manager I guess…
Mitch August 07, 2012 at 07:12 PM
…I have had my current job for 14 years so I am not in the job market. I have been married for 12 years so I’m not in that kind of market either. So, I doubt my non-Facebook user status can be used against me much, other than the “what planet are you from?” look I might get after admitting such madness. I don’t have anything against Facebook or the millions who use it. My siblings, friends, neighbors, even my pastor, all seem to rave how fun and useful it can be. I guess I just fall in that odd, ever so small percentage that simply gets by with emailing, texting, talking on the phone or actually face to face for means of my communication. If that puts me in a percentage with a group of mass murders and sociopaths and subject to scrutiny, then so be it. My life may be a busy one, but strangely I wouldn’t change it for anything, Facebook included. My name is Mitch and I am a non-Facebook user.
Ed Varn August 07, 2012 at 07:21 PM
This is starting to sound like a meeting of "Facebooker Anonymous." My name is Ed, and I am also a non-Facebook (and MySpace, Twitter, etc.)..because I'm a teacher and don't care for any students having that kind of access to my life. Then again, I have no life, so I'm not sure that matters.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 07:41 PM
My husband (red flag warning!!) is also not on Facebook. I need an account for work, but I rarely even look at my personal news feed. It was novel at first, but I have grown weary of it. I'm actually more entertained by Twitter.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew August 07, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Well take a Facebook absence, throw in a CCW and an edition of the NIV and you’ve the makings of a terrorist per Homeland Security anyway, even if you are just a big "letter"... (Extra points if you’re a veteran too)
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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