February 10, 2010, 11:41 AM — I logged onto Facebook one day and saw that my mild-mannered Swedish cousin “Susan," an accomplished architect who has worked on projects all over the world, had a status update that I can’t repeat here--an R-rated proposition to any interested man who happened to be reading her page. Coming from her, this type of message was a real jolt.
Later I found out that she’d been at an Internet café and had neglected to sign out of the computer she was using. Whoever happened to use that machine after her clearly couldn’t resist the temptation to fill in her status with something obscene.
Along the same lines, another friend’s status regularly reads, “Jenny has pooped her pants,” whenever she fails to log off of the computer she shares with her loving but not-very-tasteful husband.
These are examples of the most basic Facebook prank known to members: The ol’ fill-in-somebody-else’s-status-when-they-forgot-to-sign-out trick. It happens often, and who wouldn’t understand the temptation of putting some choice words in somebody else’s mouth or splattering a healthy dose of irreverent graffiti onto an otherwise unblemished wall?
That’s only one of the many antics tucked up our social networking sleeves, though. What follows are some others.
(And if you're more interested in avoiding such tricks being played on you than in playing them, our story on avoiding Facebook disasters may provide some help.)
Your friend thinks it’s all about him, doesn’t he? Well, it’s time to take over his wall and show him otherwise. He’ll soon be merely the pawn in a more dynamic interplay between you and another of his friends, whom you don’t know, after you strike up a heated debate in the comments section of his status update with a nonmutual acquaintance.
First he writes something innocent, like, “Tom loves Boston.” Then his friend Joey, one of those people who use Facebook to air their every political opinion, writes, “Even after they elected that idiot Senator?” And then you pipe in, “Hey, Joey, whoever you are. Scott Brown is a far better candidate than that lazy insider they had running opposite him. At long last, blindly liberal Massachusetts has a brain.” You write that not because you really care, of course, but because you want to stir the pot.