What is a Facebook Friend?

Joe Dyton

A Facebook friend is someone who is connected to another person through the social networking site of the same name. Usually, Facebook friends are users the site who knew each other before joining the site or who know each other outside of the site. They might be friends or acquaintances, might know each other through school, work or another organization or might have a mutual acquaintance. To help protect Facebook members’ privacy, one must make a request through the site to become someone else’s Facebook friend. It is then up to him or her to accept or or reject the Facebook friend request.

Facebook friends may communicate using cell phones or other mobile devices.
Facebook friends may communicate using cell phones or other mobile devices.

After someone becomes a Facebook friend with another person, the bond does more than just connect two people on a social networking site. After a Facebook friendship is formed, the friends are able to see what’s on the other’s wall, a list of postings on a user’s Facebook homepage. Facebook friends also can view any photos, videos and other information that have been posted by or about that person. Even users who are not Facebook friends typically can view other users' list of Facebook friends, which might help users discern between a person they know and another person with the same name.

Facebook friends can view any photos or videos that a person has posted.
Facebook friends can view any photos or videos that a person has posted.

The access that a Facebook friend has to another person’s profile is why people are allowed to pick and choose whom they want as friends. Many people prefer not to have everyone, including strangers, able to view their Facebook page. Some users, however, have privacy settings that do not restrict others from viewing their information.

Facebook friends may use the site to organize meetups.
Facebook friends may use the site to organize meetups.

Someone who is a Facebook friend also can have private chats with any of their friends who are logged onto Facebook at the time. The chat feature indicates which of the user’s Facebook friends are currently on the site and allows either user to initiate a chat session. Facebook friends also can “tag” one another in their photos and videos. “Tagging” someone is to label people who are in the picture or video. Facebook will alert tagged friends who have the option to “untag” themselves if they don’t want to be identified.

Facebook friends may become friends in real life through the use of social networking.
Facebook friends may become friends in real life through the use of social networking.

Facebook friends also can send each other messages through the site’s private messaging system. Friends just as easily could contact one another by posting messages on each other’s wall, but the private messaging system is better for information that they do not want others to see. Users are allowed to send private messages to other users regardless of whether they are Facebook friends. These messages sometimes are inquiries about whether the users know each other and can lead to the users becoming Facebook friends.

Another feature that Facebook has to keep friends up to date on what's going with one another is a news feed. When someone logs onto Facebook, he or she will see this feed that lets him or her know what has been posted by or is going on with his or her Facebook friends. The news feed also provides users with a list of their friends’ Facebook activity, such as updates to profiles or profile pictures, upcoming birthdays and changes in relationship status.

Facebook friends usually have similar interests.
Facebook friends usually have similar interests.

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Discussion Comments

Logicfest
Be careful of some people who want to "friend" you on Facebook because God only knows what some of those people are after. You'll find folks friending everyone in sight in hopes of getting them interested in a porn site, falling for some get rich quick scheme, etc. The ways the Facebook friend feature can be abused are legion.

It's a good idea, then, to only accept friendship requests from people you, like, know. That's a wacky concept, but a good principle to follow.

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