Are you a potentially dangerous social misfit (aka not on Facebook)?

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured, Privacy, Social networks

Do you have a Facebook account? Would you say that people without one are a bit weird? Would you go as far as to say they are suspicious?

A Slashdot article, referencing a German story on news site Der Tagesspiegel, suggests just this.

Entitled "Facebook Abstainers Could Be Labeled Suspicious", the Slashdot piece states "not having a Facebook account could be the first sign that you are a mass murderer."

Screenshot from

The German article points to an interesting link between the Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes and the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik: Neither, according to the article, are on Facebook.

Now it is very easy to correlate this fact with Holmes and Breivik's infamous activities to conclude that those without a Facebook presence are dangerously unhinged. I mean, with a sample size of two, who could argue the validity of the result?

Is it not equally valid to point out that both Breivik and Holmes are male, white or under 35? Great, now we need to fear all white men under 35.

Forbes takes social stigma further by associating a person's Facebook absence to finding a job or a date. Would you hire or go out with someone who didn't seem to be on Facebook? Would his/her absence on the site put doubt in your mind?

While there is no law to say we all need to be on Facebook, societal norms do play a big part in whether or not we are good bets. Joining Facebook seems to be becoming an increasingly important factor.

So, for all of you out there who have so far resisted the temptation of keeping an online diary and handing over its contents to a private company, watch out. Your real-life friends and colleagues might start looking at you funny.

weirdo image courtesy of Shutterstock

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48 Responses to Are you a potentially dangerous social misfit (aka not on Facebook)?

  1. Mass_Murderer_4765 · 1155 days ago

    No Facebook, no Twitter and no LinkedIn.....and proud of it :-)

    • Claudia Soole · 1155 days ago

      Well "Der Tagesspiegel" is not the paper you buy when you want to read about facts. I hear that if you drink vodka you could be a mass murder (Lenin drank Vodka) and Vegetarians have a tendency to try to get rid of whole nations ( Hitler was vegetarian)....better watch out for those people as well...I reckon we should use more mass media to single them out.

      • Richard · 1155 days ago

        So it's the German "Daily Mail", then?

      • Roger · 1155 days ago

        Right on! Research must have been sponsored by Facebook.

      • Bill · 1155 days ago

        Hitler might've been a veggie and Lenin an alki but they weren't on Facebook either.

        • Marco Ermini · 1155 days ago

          Anyway, Lenin was NOT a mass murderer... quite the contrary.

  2. glenerson · 1155 days ago

    graham cluley is not on facebook. he must be a potential mass murderer.

  3. @thehotiron · 1155 days ago

    What about those of us who are quitting Facebook because it is an insecure, unusable application full of rubbish? I will post that any place if people want to mark me as suspicious!

    • Internaut · 1155 days ago

      Quitting??? Now you have raised some flags you - you threat you! :)

  4. qt101 · 1155 days ago

    Mhmm how about that! It would seem I would be classed as a social misfit according to this post & it's 3rd party articles ;-)

    I think Forbes needs to do some further research; as to why some people that do have well paying jobs in IT or InfoSec or have normal physical virtual relationships, And they - like myself 'choose not to use Facebook'.

    The main reason I choose not to use FB is: I'm savvy to it's privacy policy's and it's lack thereof. Sadly not many truly understand what happens to their information on FB.

    The majority of Facebook users have no clue that they are selling their souls to the devil and the many 3rd party evil ones that line Mark Zuckerburgs already fat pockets.

    I'll close with this link:

    ^ the above link is only one small reason I don't wish to be one of the FB masses. Follow the link & it's other page links, I'm sure your readers would find it interesting, FB users are blind to the unknown and FB needs to be much more transparent. ;-)

  5. imasmf · 1155 days ago

    OMG! I'm supposed to bring my 79 year old mom groceries today but now I'm scared to! What if she's waiting at the door with a semi-automatic??? For god sakes mom, get on Facenook!!!

  6. Guest · 1155 days ago

    Bullshit. Anders Behring Breivik was on Facebook, had around 600 friends, and was a very active social media user.

  7. Internaut · 1155 days ago

    How about using the same implants used in animals into people who are high-risk offenders that do not conform, or refuse to be assimilated, whose kindergarten teacher remembers them to be "a loner", or a newspaper boy thinks there is something odd, was seen to kick the cat, stole a cap gun from a 5 and dime when sh/e was 5, eyes are set too close together, shaved their head, wears a long black raincoat, dishonorably discharged because they would not kill the enemy, searched the Internet outside of the norm, and has a Facebook page.

    Don't laugh - it's not all that far off.


  8. GreyDuck · 1155 days ago

    I'm a white male over 35, and have never been on Facebook but I have a well-used Twitter account (on since almost the beginning, as my 22,244 messages can attest).

    Not sure what that makes me, other than "unimportant, like the rest of us."

  9. Bowlzee · 1155 days ago

    Deleted my Facebook account almost 2 years ago over security reasons. Haven't missed it, although the peer pressure from friends and family to sign back up is quite huge. Mainly because I emigrated to Australia from the UK and they want to know what I'm up to... I keep telling them I have email and a phone....

  10. Freida Gray · 1155 days ago

    Wth the way Facebook likes to track their users it's no wonder there are people who don't join Facebook.Is Germany trying to bring back pre-WWII conditions? It seems to me that they are with their 2 person sample of mass murder potential.

  11. Jamie · 1155 days ago

    I'm 21 Bowizee, and that's the reason I don't get a Facebook.
    1) Don't like the security (or lack of it)
    2) It would be yet ANOTHER website I am expected to use/update
    3) Facebook is stupid.

    All the people who I want to be able to get in contact with me have my email address, home address, work and mobile numbers - If they wanted to catch up they could. Going on facebook would just mean I have to either accept with gritted teeth, or blatantly reject people who I don't like (eg kids at school who used to bully me, want to be all chummy now... LOL)

    I think it is expected of you to have a Facebook, there's no mindset that someone doesn't...

  12. Marco Ermini · 1155 days ago

    "In general, 48 percent of people prefer the Winter Olympics to the Summer Olympics. But among those who'd rather play a tuba than a bass drum in a marching band, 62 percent prefer the Winter Olympics."

    "In general, 21 percent of people can juggle. But among those who prefer Star Wars to Star Trek, 32 percent can juggle."

  13. wtf.. · 1155 days ago

    Hah! I always knew I'm a massmurderer, as I do not make use of any sort of social media!

    Hold on, let me pull my networkcable; you'll all be digitally dead! *evillaughture*

  14. Mike Davis · 1155 days ago

    I don't have - not have I ever had- a FaceBook account.

    Facebook is an insecure, invasion of my privacy, and stupid.

  15. Joel O'Brien · 1155 days ago

    I don't put anything on FaceBook that I wouldn't put on a postcard. (And you shouldn't either...)

  16. Mark · 1154 days ago

    Hmmmm... I'm not on FB, I'm white, but I'm not under 35. I don't know what that makes me. Should I buy a gun or not?

  17. Dennis · 1154 days ago

    This is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard of. My job is Aerospace engineering. I have way too much work to do and no way is their any time for Facebook, Twitter or any other social chat rooms, etc. Besides, I have enough trouble keeping my computers clean so why would I want to go on these social web-sites with all kinds of nasty things salivating over infecting my computers? By the way, why aren't the hackers deemed as being potential mass murderers? They obviously have no real jobs and way too much time on their hands.

    • Robert Wurzburg · 1154 days ago

      I couldn't agree with you more. Some of my real-life friends in the flesh CAN'T
      have any social media accounts, because we work for military sub or prime
      contractors. To these major corporations who regularly deal in classified and
      up to top secret information and projects, having a social media account of
      ANY KIND would be considered as a serious security risk, and could lead
      to becoming unemployed, or not being employable at all just because you
      ue any kind of social media account. You would NOT be able to obtain a US
      government security clearance having a social media account, their rules!
      I agree social media is rather redundant and repetitive when everyone else
      has my email addresses, telephone numbers, knows where I live and we
      even meet in person, rather than communicate using any social media like
      most NORMAL people do and have most of their lives together.

      • Johann · 1142 days ago

        While I agree, this is not entirely correct. Several of the people I know who have security clearance are required to have a Facebook account. This is so they can make sure to delete photo tags, people that friend them, etc.

  18. Andrew · 1154 days ago

    Deep breath, everyone. Humility is, and always will be, a virtue. Our ego's don't have to be on display to the world.

  19. Helge Nareid · 1154 days ago

    People should also check their "facts". According to Norwegian media, Breivik _had_ a Facebook profile.

  20. Ken Martin · 1154 days ago

    Tongue in cheek, but more seriously, shades of getting ahead in nazi Germany and, more recently in Iraq, where to do the same, one had to belong to the Ba'ath party. Evil. Peer, prospective employer or any other pressure to belong to Facebook should be vigorously resisted by everyone. Stupid conformity.

  21. Mark · 1154 days ago

    Kidding aside, the assumption that lack of a facebook account marks you as "different" is a valid extension of the current thinking. Many companies looking at IT candidates expect them to be on LinkedIn, twitter and other social media - failure to do so indicates the candidate is probably not "with it."

    • Richard · 1154 days ago

      Either that or they're "with it" enough to understand the risks of posting the intimate minutia of their lives on these sites, and avoid them like the plague!

  22. Sootie · 1154 days ago

    Well I'm white male and under 35 and I dont have facebook, now where did I put my gun.

    Social media is a passing fad nothing more it will soon fade into obscurity again and be replaced with something else.

    If I want to talk to my friends I call them or go and see them

  23. TheOutsider · 1154 days ago

    What if you are proud to be a social misfit!? They should create an alternative to fæcesbook just for us misfits.

  24. KennyKoala · 1153 days ago

    Isn't everyone here doing pretty much what Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media users do? Just a thought.

  25. Tom Fiorillo · 1153 days ago

    So the social misfits are the ones who are smart enough and secure enough not to have to be self indulgent to reveal everything about themselves on a social networking site? Some of us, know the perils of revealing information about ourselves online. And they're absolutely sure that there are no wackos with Facebook pages, right. Forget teaching math, science, English, history; grades 1-12 should be devoted to teaching people to thinking logically. My thanks to Prof, Michael Hakeem.

  26. Person · 1153 days ago

    What a load of cobblers for sad, lonely, self centred people.

  27. refusenik · 1148 days ago

    Sadly, this is not the first time I've seen an article suggesting that the worm has turned.

    It's fascinating - we were once considered 'nerds', and carried with us de facto darkened bedroom branding. Now, the shoe is on the other foot - if you aren't glued to some iDevice or whatever, endlessly hoping and praying that people are talking about you on a social network then,'re a nerd? Excuse me? Or, at least inclined toward mass murder, naturally.

    I've seen tell (which could all be inflated urban legend of course) that some employers now distrust people that they can't find on Facebook. I left for the same reasons as many of you - security, application junk, but the biggest reason? Peoples egos. I just don't need the opiate of attention to feel good about myself, but it was clear that other desperately - nay, *dangerously* needed it like a drug. It scares me how easily manipulated they are.

    If I were employing someone, I'd actually look at their absence from Facebook as a GOOD THING, for the following reasons:

    1) This person has humility
    2) This person values and understands the tenets of privacy
    3) This person is a good communicator in person
    4) This person does not seek the arbitrary and irrelevant approval of others
    5) This person is not afraid to challenge trends

    The list could go on. But for every (perceived) 'negative' to someone being absent from the big blue F, there are a groups of compelling counter-arguments.

  28. Ron Williams · 1113 days ago

    Some of my best Friends are not on Facebook!

  29. Will Gonzalez · 1113 days ago

    Heck, I think this whole FB thing is starting to be more trouble than it's worth. I may jump off myself.

  30. Micheal Robert Page · 1113 days ago

    God i feel such a freak not being on facebook!!

  31. Charles Mugo · 1113 days ago

    On the contrary there are more freaks and misfits on fb than there are out there.

  32. James Fontenot · 1113 days ago

    No and anyone who thinks so is an idiot...

  33. Carol Fitzgerald · 1113 days ago

    Amazing how many ppl missed the obvious sarcasm in Naked Security's report on the original article.

  34. Per Bull Holmen · 1113 days ago

    Sure, we're note supposed to take this very seriously, but this statement is plain wrong: "The German article points to an interesting link between the Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes and the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik: Neither are on Facebook."

    Anders Behring Breivik was not only on Facebook, he had around 600 friends, and was an extremely active social media user. It was on social media he built his "ideology" among peers with similar opinions all over Europe. It is scary that clearly other europeans and americans do not understand this, and think he was just a mad man and a "lone wolf", when in fact he was a political extremist, and a terrorist with a large online network of fellow extreme ideologues which he was part of. His Facebook account was closed down after he was arrested, but that doesn't make the point of the story any more valid.

  35. Steve Graham · 1113 days ago

    I'd probably congratulate them!

  36. Kate Selby · 1113 days ago

    I'd likely think "Lucky or smart!"

  37. Connie Ring Taunton · 1113 days ago

    Typically just someone who doesnt want or like to use computers much. Nothing freaky about that. That's for someone who never had a facebook account. other have and no longer chose to.

  38. Roy Gibson · 1113 days ago

    If I wasn't on Fb - How could I know you had asked? Its rather like "Would all those not here please answer now".

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About the author

Hi. I am a social, brand and communications expert with 10 years in senior roles in the tech space. I'm currently Sophos' s Global Director of Social Media and Communities. Proudest work achievement? Creating and launching award-winning Naked Security. Outside work, I am a mean cook, an avid reader, a chronic insomniac, a podcast obsessive and blogger .