We’ve all seen them. They’re maddening, we don’t understand their purpose, and they send a pretty clear message. They’re joint Facebook accounts.
Why do people keep making them? Do those in one truly realize what their shared account is telling the world about their relationship? And are there any situations in which they are acceptable?
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What a joint profile says about your relationship
You’re battling insecurity.
Which one of you cheated? That’s the very first thing that comes to mind when I see your joint profile appear on my newsfeed.
Social media has negatively impacted many intimate relationships in that it is often used to open up lines of communication with people from your past (that should have really stayed in the past) or to connect with new people you meet, in a way that can very easily cross a line.
Surely, if this sort of issue has not effected your relationship, then you wouldn’t see a need to remove this element of privacy. Not because you think privacy on social media is necessary, but because you trust that your partner would never exploit that privacy.
However, if you are using a joint profile and, therefore, removing any semblance of autonomy on Facebook, I assume it’s because there’s been a violation of trust. A violation in the form of cheating that has resulted in an insecurity in the relationship. While I understand this insecurity is only natural after a breach of trust, do you not realize that you’re advertising it to the world when you become StephanieNShawn on Facebook?
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What we say to one, we have to say to the other.
Aside from those posts referencing your specific hobby or those in which you tag someone from one or the other’s friend group making it perfectly clear, how are we supposed to know which one of you posted what?
On a related note, how am I supposed to know which of you commented on something I posted? Do I ask? Is that weird?
Maybe I’ll just send you a private message and address the intended recipient directly. What happens if the other of you opens the message? Do you take a message… for the message? If not, now it’s been marked read and is not going to leave a notification for the person in the other half of the profile. Do I just get ghosted?
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You think the rules don’t apply to you.
As someone that generally follows the rules, there’s a part of me that’s bothered by rule-breakers. And joint profiles are actually against the Facebook terms.
“Since each account belongs to one person, we require everyone to use their authentic name on their account. This way, you always know who you’re connecting with.”
Know who you’re connecting with? Imagine that.
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Is there a defense for the joint profile?
You share other things.
As a married couple, you probably share much more significant things, like bank accounts or a mortgage. The thought is that if you’re willing to go into $200k of debt with someone, a joint Facebook account should seem like a no-brainer.
My take: The issue here isn’t that I’m not willing to share an account; it’s that I don’t see a need to.
Your partner doesn’t get online much.
Some couples may choose to share a profile so that the other has an online existence they may otherwise not have created themselves.
My question: If your partner wouldn’t otherwise make an account, why are you insisting that they “share” one with you? Can’t they just go without?
The case for the grandparents.
Couples who are older and whose marriages pre-date social media may see a joint account as more practical. They didn’t come of age in this digital world and likely only have 1 email address between them. Because each Facebook account must be tied to a unique email address, it may be easiest for them to just share these credentials, too.
My thought: This might actually be the only case I can understand.
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In summary, it seems there are very few instances where having a joint Facebook profile isn’t a negative reflection on your relationship and might mean there’s some work to be done on rebuilding trust if you’re using a shared profile. Even if you’re not battling any relationship issues, I may suggest you consider that each of us should be able to express ourselves, individually, online regardless of our relationship status.
“You don’t see people just walking around speaking on behalf of their spouse 50 percent of the time, why would you want to see that online?” — Richard Harmer
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You may be interested in other Social Media commentary:
Previously published on “Hello, Love”, a Medium publication.
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