10 things you should never do on Facebook

Become a better, less annoying Facebooker

You would have thought that in the nine years since Facebook became open to anyone, people would have learned how to use it properly - but that's apparently not the case, if the behaviour we still see in our News Feeds is anything to go by.

To help you avoid making any missteps on the world's biggest social network, we've put together a list of definite no-no's for Facebookers. You are of course free to ignore our advice and go ahead anyway - but you do so at your own risk.

1. Upload albums with 100s of pictures

In the early days of Facebook, huge holiday photo albums were par for the course and just about acceptable. Nowadays, no one has the time or the patience to look through 232 pictures of your recent trip to New York. Post four or five of the best shots straight to your Timeline, where people can see them right in the News Feed, and keep the other 227 pictures for your own collection.

2. Copy and paste statuses

In the fledgling days of email we were all subjected to endless forwarded emails containing jokes or security alerts or some kind of magic power. Thankfully that practice has now largely stopped, so let's not bring the chain letter back on Facebook - note for example that the site isn't going to start charging for posts, and you can't opt out of its terms and conditions with a status update.

3. Be ambiguous

Facebook update

One single sad face emoticon without further comment or a passive aggressive poke at an unidentified target may help you feel better, but it's not much use to the rest of us. Imagine if the whole of the News Feed was just one long list of ambiguous and cryptic hints that made no sense. If you've got something to say on Facebook then be specific - otherwise keep it to yourself.

4. Non-stop baby pictures

If you want to put photos of your young child on the internet, that's up to you - no doubt most of your friends will be happy to see the occasional update of how your little boy or girl is getting on. Just make sure you don't overdo it: Facebook offers a few different ways to share photos more regularly with a smaller group of grandparents, aunts, uncles and godparents, so make use of them.

5. The humblebrag

A social media habit so annoying that it has its own name, the humblebrag usually involves some kind of job promotion, fitness goal or minor achievement that you wouldn't bring up in conversation but do feel the need to write a post about on Facebook. By all means share your biggest wins in life but be selective and be sincere - self-deprecation doesn't come across too well in Facebook posts.

6. Talk about the weather

Facebook weather

Some days Facebook looks like less of a social networking site and more of an instant weather reporting service. A thunderstorm or a few flakes of snow may feel terribly exciting to you at the time - but it's not. Not really. Your Facebook friends will still make it safely through the day without knowing what the local weather conditions currently are in your part of the world.

7. Talk about politics

Political discussion and debate is an essential part of a healthy democracy, and there are plenty of places on the web where you can engage in it - so please try and keep it off Facebook. It's supposed to be a site for sharing what you're up and keeping in touch with your friends and family, not turbo-posting your thoughts on the local elections or a particular Member of Parliament.

8. Do nothing but self-promote

It's great that you've got a new book out, a gig coming up this Saturday or a special discount code for the local supermarket, but keep the self-promotion posts occasional and mixed in with other updates - don't be one of those people who only shows up on Facebook for a couple of months when they're getting sponsorship for a 5k run or launching their own beauty products business.

9. Ignore visibility settings

Facebook visibility

Whenever you post anything on Facebook, you'll see a small audience selector drop-down menu - this controls who can see the content you're posting. Ignore this option at your peril, unless you want your mum and dad and all of your office colleagues to know exactly what went on last week in Tenerife. To control the visibility of content you're tagged in by other people, set up Timeline Review in the Facebook Settings page.

10. Public displays of affection

They're not all that appealing in real life, so let's not let public displays of affection spread to Facebook as well. You may not realise it, but Facebook has a direct messaging feature that works a lot like email: it lets you express your undying love for someone without shouting it from the rooftops so everyone else can hear (just make sure you're messaging the right person before you hit send).

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Image credit: Facebook

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.