Facebook boasts more than 900 million active users—that’s roughly 13% of the Earth’s population. It has made famous the iconic “like” button and turned “friend,” “Facebook,” and other nouns into verbs. It has spurred jokes, memes, parodies, competitors—even a best-selling book and Hollywood blockbuster. It, being a social network, has also witnessed its users develop particular online habits and etiquette.
A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships breaks down the results of extensive research into what is being dubbed “the Real 10 Commandments of Facebook.” Considered a “shared code of conduct” or set of unwritten rules, they are seldom spoken of but nearly always followed. They are, in order of importance:
1. Thou shalt expect a response after posting on someone’s profile.
2. Thou shalt refrain from being disrespectful.
3. Thou shalt consider how a post might negatively affect someone’s relationships.
4. If a post is deleted by someone, thou shalt not repost it.
5. Thou shalt communicate with Facebook friends outside of Facebook.
6. Thou shalt present oneself positively but honestly.
7. Thou shalt not let Facebooking with someone interfere with work.
8. Thou shalt not post information on Facebook that could later backfire.
9. Thou shalt use common sense when interacting with someone.
10. Thou shalt consider how a post might negatively affect someone’s career.
Lead author of the study, Erin Bryant, says that this is the first scientifically supported list of “commandments” for Facebook, noting that her team employed a “rigorous process” to determine the list. Do you follow these rules? Or are you a Facebook sinner?