Perhaps I have a naive and simplistic approach to it, but for me Facebook Friends are actually supposed to be people, not organisations.
Hence I am automatically going to reject anyone called ‘European Federalists Secretariat‘, ‘Young Socialists Georgia’ or ‘Abf Södra-Östra Dalarna’.
Why is this important?
Firstly, I have no clue who actually operates these organisational ‘Friends’. Even if you very carefully tailor your privacy settings in Facebook it causes problems. If you have no clue who administers an organisational ‘Friend’ profile on Facebook (probably the office intern you’ve never met) then you need to make sure your privacy settings – even for your proper friends – are turned up rather high. To put it bluntly: do you want an organisation’s intern to have access to your holiday photos? *
Secondly, using a friend profile for an organisation in Facebook is just plain lazy as there is an ideal tool – Facebook Pages – that are intended for organisations, companies, politicians in Facebook, and provide a whole range of tools to allow contact to be maintained. OK, it might take a few minutes how to make it work, but now’s the time to learn, and this guide from Mashable is a good starting point.
So the next time an organisation tries to add you as a friend you should tell them politely but firmly that you will not accept the request, and that they should start a Facebook Page. And if it’s the office intern who replies to your message ask them whether they would allow someone they don’t know to see their holiday photos and then maybe they might see sense.
* – for the record I generally don’t get up to anything remotely scandalous, so any holiday photos of mine on Facebook are completely dull, but you get the idea