John and Kyle have known each other for over five years. After work, they go to a bar to wait out the traffic.
John: Stacey asked me for my Facebook password. I’ll give it to her when I get home tonight.
Kyle: Are you serious? You’re opening a can of worms.
John: Oh c’mon. Can of worms…aren’t you being too dramatic?
Kyle: Dramatic, no. Cautious, yes. Besides, John, I know you too well. I look at your Facebook page and you’ve got hundreds of friends, and there are messages from some women that make me flinch. I know you’re not being unfaithful, but you’re great at flirting. The women are taken in by your charms, online and offline.
John: Nothing to worry about. I’m not doing anything to wreck my marriage. Come on Kyle, aren’t you hallucinating, just a little?
Kyle: No, I’m not. If I were Stacey, your Facebook account would worry me and give me sleepless nights.
John: Stacey’s an intelligent woman, she never plays detective. She minds her own business.
Kyle: So why is she asking for your password?
John couldn’t answer. Maybe Kyle had a point. He’s had his Facebook page for four years now and she never asked for his password. Why is she asking for it now? Is there something she’s looking for? Has anyone told her anything?
Reviewing Facebook’s Policy
We’ll discuss the pros and cons of sharing your social media passwords with your significant other, but first, let’s set the stage by reviewing Facebook’s policy regarding privacy. Many of us sign up in social media sites without reading the terms and conditions of membership. (https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms)
If you read Facebook’s policy, the rules are clear and precise.
Under “Safety”, rule # 5 states:
You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else.
And then on the same page, under “Registration and Account Security” rule # 8 states:
You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardise the security of your account.
There you are. You can’t share passwords. Period.
The idea of sharing passwords, however, is an interesting discussion. We’ve witnessed how it wrecks friendships (hit “unfriend”) and spikes the divorce rate. While there is no conclusive evidence that social media activity is linked to divorce rates, there have been studies that point to a correlation, direct or not.
An article in Focus on the Family reports: “A recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that Facebook has been a major factor in one out of five U. S. divorces. So it’s wise to take precautions.”
In another article, CNBC says: “…social media’s addictive qualities may create marital strife, promote an environment rife with opportunities for jealousy and may help facilitate extra-marital affairs.”
There are pros and cons of sharing passwords, but we think the cons outweigh the pros. Call us biased, but the reality is that social media have opened the floodgates to the excessive sharing of personal information.
This is why we must cling to – and protect – the remaining fibers of our personal life. We don’t have to be open books…we don’t have to share our social media accounts with our significant other.
Pros and Cons of Sharing Social Media Passwords
- Pro: Trust and Honesty – your significant other feels good about the fact that you have nothing to hide. If you use your account sparingly and you don’t have an entire universe of friends, then this trust and honesty argument is sustainable. By sharing your password, you’re saying “what’s mine is yours” and you live happily ever after.
Con: Just as promises are made to be broken, relationships can turn sour. Sometimes, the relationship ends precisely because of too much social media activity. And sharing your password with your significant other is not a sure sign of trust and honesty. Remember, there are numerous social media and people have multiple social media accounts. Do they share their passwords to all of these accounts?
- Pro: Convenience – knowing your significant other’s passwords can be a convenient arrangement. For example, if your in-laws post a reminder that the next golf tournament is next week and you forgot about it, you simply ask your significant other to RSVP. Another example: you and your better half had dinner at a fabulous restaurant. Instead of doing a double review, you ask your significant other to do it so your friends can check it out.
Con: While the examples above point to the convenience of shared passwords, it may not be a good idea to let your significant other post comments about how you feel at work. It would be inappropriate for your significant other to tweet, “my boyfriend thought his salary and performance review sucked.”
Or if you read a comment like “my boyfriend failed a breathalizer test the other day.” This may seem like an innocent remark, but may be less innocent to office workers and to management. Convenience, therefore, can result in inappropriate comments being posted. Discretion is your priority, but your significant other may not think it is a priority.
- Pro: Romantic and affectionate – oh, sure, sharing your social media account is an extension of your romantic self. You ever notice how new relationships foster sincere and candid conversations between two people in love?
Con: When the honeymoon’s over and the relationship becomes routine, what happens, especially when you begin to discover personality quirks in your significant other and you tweet about them?
As one writer so aptly put it, “There is something pure and romantic about the idea of sharing everything, and having no secrets from one another. But it’s romantic the same way that Romeo and Juliet is romantic, in a tragic, horrible, everyone-is-miserable-and-dies-at-the-end kind of way.”
- Pro: Accountability. This means that because you know your boyfriend (or girlfriend) has access to your account, you’re more likely to be prudent. You think twice before posting a comment that may be misconstrued or misinterpreted by your significant other.
Con: “Digital entanglements” as one writer calls them, create risks. If a relationship turns sour, or a marriage ends in divorce court, password-sharing is easily viewed as a possible cause. It no longer is an issue between two people, because other people are potentially dragged into a messy situation. For example, if a colleague at work saw your significant other with another person in a highly inappropriate setting and then emails you about it, he does not know that your wife has access to your account. So the wife finds out that someone spilled the beans and can press defamation charges.
- Exclusivity: By sharing passwords, couples let the word out that they are married. There is an implied “no trespassing” message. This keeps the flirts and stalkers at bay.
Con: The bold and the brazen believe it is an open playing field, and one’s marital status has nothing to do with the game of seduction. Even if your significant other tells you that your admirer’s emails are harmless and definitely unsolicited, would that put you at ease?
To conclude, tell us how many of your fights were a result of comments posted on social media because you’ve shared passwords?