How Facebook Ended My Marriage

Picture 11-2

Today I discovered the perils of changing my Facebook profile.

My fiancee and I decided that showing our engagement in Facebook gave out a little too much personal information.

But I did not realize that unchecking the box marked “Thomas Crampton is engaged to Thuy-Tien Tran” would send a message to everyone connected to us in Facebook that “Thomas Crampton and Thuy-Tien Tran are no longer engaged”.

Within minutes an email arrived from a friend in San Francisco asking if I was doing ok and a friend in France posted the news on his Twitter feed (photo above), which has nearly 800 readers. Colleagues discussed the situation without me knowing about it.

Suddenly I found myself explaining to people spanning nine timezones that we are, in fact, still getting married. Don’t always believe what Facebook tells you.

Then it occurred to me: Solve a Facebook problem with a Facebook solution.

I updated the Facebook status to clarify:

Thomas Crampton is still getting married, but decided to reduce personal info on facebook. Did not expect people to react thinking the ceremony was cancelled!!

Everyone linked to me in Facebook received the message and anyone visiting my profile can see it.

That update and this blog posting should solve the problem, but so much for that privacy we had sought!


Update: Boing Boing, Time Magazine’s blog and the London Standard (photo below) have now mentioned our experience. Is this the 21st century equivalent of a printed wedding announcement?

Update 2: Libération, the French newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Sartre mentioned this posting.

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The Evening Standard (London), June 25, 2007 Monday, A; Pg. 28,

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Libération, Friday July 13, page 24

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30 responses to “How Facebook Ended My Marriage

  1. well, it was all a facebook scare….

  2. By the way… Mazal Tov !

  3. Antisocial network effects! Anyway – congratulations to you both on the event and the “bug-fix”!

  4. C’est incroyable cette histoire!

    C’est vrai que le problème avec Facebook, c’est que tout le monde est au courant de ce qu’on coche et décoche… notamment concernant les informations personelles!

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  9. Why didn’t you simply change the privacy settings? That probably wouldn’t have sent any notifications.

  10. hehehe… Two sides to every coin! Funny anyway now since you found a solution! You may have changed the expression “to fight fire with fire” with your “Solve a Facebook problem with a Facebook solution”… 😉


  11. As an FYI, the inadvertent announcement of a ending relationship could have been prevented. Click on the top-right privacy link from anywhere in Facebook, then click Edit Settings for News Feed and Mini-Feed.

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  13. I’ll echo Emmanuel – Mazel Tov. What a great reminder that we all should probably spend a bit less time staring at computer monitors and a bit more time talking to one another.

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  16. Shoulda used myspace, you would have had a new girl within an hour!

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  19. Kinda crazy

    I did not knew that Facebook was sending such emails.

    When I’ll divorce from Loïc, i’ll let you know j/k

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  21. “You can’t do that in here! This is a broom closet!”
    “But we’re engaged…”
    “Well, disengage and get back to your posts!”

    – Congress of Wonders

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  23. With all due respect Mr Crampton but…


  24. Sam Finnemore

    I do, frankly. It’s not an earth-shattering event, but it’s something that many people who use these sites are aware of, but haven’t been talking about – how online “social networking” can have unintended effects on your real social life. I’m sure lots of people have been in a similar situation.

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  27. Well its more of a mis-understanding from FaceBook newbies or a group freudian mishap?
    Would you publish your lifes intimate details in the paper, just because it was free or easy? Some would, but the rest should take ownership of what they do with the internet..

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