Here
and
Now

kuchikomi

Japanese rate Facebook's pros and cons

36 Comments

What do Japan's estimated 8 million Facebook users really feel about their experiences on the SNS? Spa! (May 1-8) begins its five-page assessment with the headline "Facebook no Bakayaro!" It's tricky to translate -- something along the lines of "those Facebook idiots!" -- but certainly an unflattering statement at best.

This assessment is based on the results of a survey of 900 male and female users of Facebook, whose ages ranged between 15 and 59, and who reside in Japan's two major metropolitan areas. The survey results were made public on April 5.

To the question, "Does using Facebook cause you to feel stress?" A total of 19% of respondents replied in the affirmative and another 28.4% said they did on occasion. To that, 21.0% said yes they did on rare occasions.

When asked to be more specific about the cause of stress, the most frequently given answer, with 34.3%, was due to lack of privacy when engaging in interpersonal relationships in a frank manner. The second most stressful factor, with 31.1%, was that users felt besieged by meddlesome solicitations (invitations or pitches). Third, with 27.1%, was that they felt they were put on the spot by people's requests to become "friends" and had difficulty refusing. And fourth, with 26.5%, was that users found it annoying to receive messages or notifications from friends of friends, or other parties with whom they had no direct relationship.

In cyberspace, someone with whom you have a relationship in real life can, due to the vagaries of online entanglements, quickly become a nuisance or worse.

"I became a 'friend' of a former instructor at my university," says a 29-year-old man who currently works as a care provider. "He happens to be acquainted with my current boss, and has apparently been confiding with my boss about my personal affairs, which my boss appears to accept unquestioningly as the truth. It's become a real headache for me."

Some of these "friends" may also turn out to be virtual sex predators.

"This guy I met online, even though he's supposedly working late at night at his office, will use chat and pour out the details of his past sexual activities for an hour or longer," complains a 24-year-old woman employed in the IT sector. "He also coerced me into discussing my own sexual indiscretions."

"Since most people register on Facebook using their real names, the stuff they post is visible to others, making it difficult to set up dates, and so on," points out Isseki Nagae, a prolific contributor to the BLOGOS (http://blogos.com/) blog portal who devotes a good deal of space to critiquing Facebook. "If a user transmits too many messages to lots of unspecified people, he also risks having his Facebook account locked. While Facebook has not had problems like the fraudulent ticket sales that reportedly took place on mixi (Japan's most popular SNS with over 20 million users claimed), other types of troubles (he doesn't go into detail) have been increasing."

Nagae cites problems created when some unknown organization set up spurious Facebook accounts, posting the photo of a beautiful women -- who appear to be Chinese or Taiwanese. "When I raised this point on my blog, I got a huge number of hits from Taiwan, which makes me suspect that some unknown organization or group, probably in mainland China, is engaging in large-scale data mining."

"Whatever you do," Nagae adds in the way of advice, "Don't accede to requests from people you don't personally know to accept them as 'friends.' People who claim to have thousands of friends on Facebook are that much more likely to have links to phony accounts or con artists scattered among the mix."

To get the most out of Facebook, critic Tomofumi Hamano recommends that a user needs to learn to deal with its negative aspects in much the same manner that one copes with challenges in real life. "Don't seek to accumulate friendships at random; focus on increasing friends among the kind of people with whom you can exchange views in a casual and unreserved manner," he advises.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

36 Comments
Login to comment

if you don't know them then don't friend them, if they ask "why didn't you friend me" just say you get too many requests and you didn't see it.... then add them under a extremely limited profile so they don't see anything expect your profile photo.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

If they were able to just say "No" once in a while they wouldn't be having these problems. Like all tools, FB will only be as good as the way you choose to use it.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

"Third, with 27.1%, was that they felt they were put on the spot by people’s requests to become “friends” and had difficulty refusing."

Sorry, but I feel no pity for these people. I have a few neighbours (I mean literal neighbours) who have tried to befriend me, and some co-workers and even some old students I used to give private lessons to and I refused them. When/if I met them and they asked me why I simply said, "I'm sorry, but I only use Facebook to keep in touch with family and it's very personal what I post". One or two gave me a kind of shafted look, but sorry -- it's your choice whom you befriend or don't. I notice there was no mention of what percent said using Facebook DIDN'T give them stress (is this a survey conducted in part for Japan's leading SNS Mixi?... ;))

Seriously, though, a lot of what these people complain of can be shut off in the privacy settings, and the others are personal choice. Yeah, ads can be annoying, but they're in EVERY SNS, and at least in Facebook they are less pervasive than in, say, My Space or something.

Anyway, Japanese are interesting when it comes to Facebook and SNS like Mixi. The latter started off as an excellent SNS and helped people connect, find others with like interests, etc. After a while people stopped using their real names, and now NO ONE uses their real pic for their profile. What's more, it's become so close-minded that you need someone to introduce you, send a cell-phone email address, and then a PC address just to open a profile. After that, if you want to join a personal interest group? Need permission. Sure, you get all the adds, and requests to join games and apps, but it's become very much an anti-social networking service. Personally, I quit mixi when half of the 'interest groups' became nothing more than porn sites (I hear they've cut half of them, though) and 'Deai' groups, and the sexual predating thing was MUCH worse. The same people, though, on Facebook, use their real names, often have their faces on profile pics, and join heaps of groups freely and befriend all sorts of people from around the world -- they're a lot more open and seem to have a lot more fun.

Bottom line is, pay close attention to privacy settings, and if you feel uncomfortable perhaps tweek your handle and change pictures, but I would suggest not refusing to say no to people if it's going to result in stress later.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Third, with 27.1%, was that they felt they were put on the spot by people’s requests to become “friends” and had difficulty refusing.

Just refuse them. What's so difficult about clicking "no"?

“He also coerced me into discussing my own sexual indiscretions.”

Coercing somebody to talk with a gun to their head is one thing - being coerced to talk on Facebook chat? You're a mug. Just close the browser.

Facebook, Twitter, etc is what you want it to be. I can't fathom how it can be stressful. Be friends with who you want, follow who you want, share what you want, turn it off when you want.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If I cannot shake their hand or smell them, then I do not want to be their friend. That just doesn't make sense to me.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If I cannot shake their hand or smell them, then I do not want to be their friend. That just doesn't make sense to me.

Smell them?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

those comments, it is always about using your common sense!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“He also coerced me into discussing my own sexual indiscretions.”

Anyone suggesting this is because of Facebook is a moron -- people have been sending nude 'sha-meru' since cameras were available on the phones, and you should READ some of the dirty messages I've gotten in the past, WITHOUT any coercion whatsoever! And once again, Mixi is a LOT worse for this kind of thing. If the person is abusing you, delete their profile from your list and/or report abuse.

If it didn't keep me in touch with family/friends back home I would delete Facebook, to be honest, but as it is, for the aforementioned reason, I find it a useful tool for keeping in touch.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Facebook is vacuous and facile. It is 'friends' and 'communication' Lite. A smear on the face of humany, a sad reflection of the times.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Japan is still Asia after all, saying no is usually regarded as "bad", "non-sociable", "too good to be my friend ... eh?", that kind of things. So, most people just say yes and ganbaru the crap out of themselves.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

complains a 24-year-old woman employed in the IT sector. “He also coerced me into discussing my own sexual indiscretions.”...............................................

total lack of self discipline.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I used to like facebook. Until I woke up and realized that I dont care what people eat for breakfast or where they are and who they are with on the weekend.

Lifes too short to spend it on facebook. Get outside.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Pretty much all of their problems can be solved by common sense. If they weren't so naive and ignorant as to how things happen on the internet then they wouldn't run into these problems. I'm able to use Facebook without any of the problems that they listed. Especially being coerced into talking about my own sexual indiscretions. I'd really like to know how that went down.

Him: I've told you mine so now you tell me yours. Her: (well I really don't want to...) Ok.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@jessebaybay

Get outside and check your facebook page on your i/android phone :p

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My friends on FB are all really friends who I know in real life. A lot of my friends have like, 300 or 500 "friends", which is just silly. I've refused dozens of friends requests. Why do some people find this hard to do??

“This guy I met online, even though he’s supposedly working late at night at his office, will use chat and pour out the details of his past sexual activities for an hour or longer,” complains a 24-year-old woman employed in the IT sector. “He also coerced me into discussing my own sexual indiscretions.”

and

“I became a ‘friend’ of a former instructor at my university,” says a 29-year-old man who currently works as a care provider. “He happens to be acquainted with my current boss, and has apparently been confiding with my boss about my personal affairs, which my boss appears to accept unquestioningly as the truth. It’s become a real headache for me.”

There's a "block" button, you know? Idiots.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The naivety of Japanese people comes through on FB. The respondents to the survey who commented that they "couldn't" say no to friendship requests are just a part of the pack of lemmings that permeate this country.

Once it a while, it is cute to see the naive nature of some Japanese people, but the constant need to feel, even on a place like FB, as a part of the "group" is sad to say the least.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

smith - what sort of dirty messages did you get on Mixi? You should reply as some sort of hilarious joke.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Facebook is a communication tool, like any other technology (like the telephone, television, email, JT message boards, etc.). As with any technology, there's room for abuse and superfluousness, but there are also good, productive uses which shouldn't be dismissed so simply. Many businesses find it useful to have a tool for free marketing, social movements wouldn't be as organized without it, and as others have mentioned, it wouldn't be as easy to keep up to date with family and close friends half a world away without it. That said, there was another survey published last week about Facebook usage in Japan that revealed that almost half the users had less than 10 friends. http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20120427-00000047-impress-inet

Not sure what to make of that result, but it does seem that people are very concerned with their privacy, having to use a real name, rather than a handle (like with Mixi). What the Spa! survey indicates to me is that there's a good number of folks switching from Mixi to FB, but transferring the same behaviors from one to the other is proving to be more "stressful" as FB isn't as anonymous as Mixi.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Many businesses find it useful to have a tool for free marketing,

The second most stressful factor, with 31.1%, was that users felt besieged by meddlesome solicitations (invitations or pitches).

Nuff said!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, 've been on FB for a few years with a good number of friends, but I've never ever received an unwanted solicitation. All the marketing I'm talking about is from pages set up by businesses, and users subscribe to their newsfeeds. I think you have the wrong idea of what's the issue here.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Reject all information updates from this application" (or words to that effect) is my best friend on Facebook.

Also, I never knew there was a chat app on facebook until it popped open one night and my cousin on the other side of the world was typing. I waited a few minutes without doing anything, closed facebook, opened it again, turned off chat, and never opened it since.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Facebook is not really appropriate for Japanese users, and I always encourage my friends and employees to stay away. The first problem is the "friending" issue. While facebook style friending may or may not be in violation of Japan's privacy laws, it is certainly in violation of Japanese culture. Two people do not simply meet one another or become friends like that. There must be a third party to act as a go between to make the introduction between two people.

Another problem is Facebook's global openness. This runs counter to the Japanese mentality. Exposure with outside groups and ways of thinking should be limited as much as possible.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

No I don't have the "wrong" idea. Just because something doesn't happen to you does not automatically make it so for everyone else.

A news feed and "meddlesome solicitations" are two different animals. The issue is if you haven't read the article is that to the people surveyed, neither you nor me that is, find this to be one of the top three reasons THEY find stress from FB.

And I reiterate myself here, it's part of the "culture" to want to be a part of the group, and the inbred reasoning that they somehow "have to" accept friendship requests and or feel stress explains in detail that these people interviewed do not know how to use FB properly and do not know how to say "NO".

Which by extension means that they in their own lives, more than likely, have the same personality in reality as they do in cyber-space. Which makes them lemmings because more than likely the only reason they use FB is because one of their friends use it or because they heard about it on some talk show and had to be one of the pack.

And have no idea about net security and privacy issues related to sites like FB or Mixi.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hojo Soun

Another problem is Facebook's global openness. This runs counter to the Japanese mentality. Exposure with outside groups and ways of thinking should be limited as much as possible.

I don't think in my 20 years here I have met someone like you. If you believe that Japanese exposure to outside groups, like us foreigners, why are you on JT. Do you consider yourself more capable, less likely to be influenced?

On FB you don't have to befriend anyone, you can just make it for family and friends.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Zichi,

On FB you don't have to befriend anyone, you can just make it for family and friends.

i think that's a great point. But it's also very important for people's accounts to be open for marketers and advertising. This is why Dentsu is bankrolling the server bandwidth in Japan, and ROI is expected here.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

****its nice using facebook,you see old friends and you communicate with them but always remember that facebook is not your diary,dont tell everybody whats going on and whats happened to your life..leave something for yourself..have a privacy,,and dont add people whom you dont know..its me jamie..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hojo Soun

i think that's a great point. But it's also very important for people's accounts to be open for marketers and advertising. This is why Dentsu is bankrolling the server bandwidth in Japan, and ROI is expected here.

If you use an ad blocker, like "adblocke" on your browser, you don't see any adverts on any sites.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He also coerced me into discussing my own sexual indiscretions.

Lol! Now she says she was coerced but...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Global openness. This runs counter to the Japanese mentality. Exposure with outside groups and ways of thinking should be limited as much as possible

I agree with Zichi on this. This is really quite simple. If you don't like how Facebook is set up then by all means don't use it. Nobody is forcing you to. Not to mention there are protections in place to limit your exposure to that. Yet to wish Facebook was more closed would have meant no Facebook at all. That goes for YouTube, MySpace, Twitter or any other social networking site. That is how they function as it should. Maybe I can put it across this way.

Prior to social media, it was only people with money and influence over those in government that could make changes happen. With Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, we have an enormous voice, to share what's happening and shout loudly so that governments listens.

If you think about it the whole purpose of the web is the sharing & exchanging of information. The web would never have come into existence if people were unwilling to exchange ideas and communicate with each other. Do you not agree with this? The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is the number one war criminal in the world & he kidnaps children to fight for him & encourage them to rape & kill civilians. I had never heard of him until just recently. Not to mention I consider myself to be reasonably well informed.

Russell who was behind the film Invisible Children had the idea to use social media to raise awareness of Kony. So that the governments of the world will listen and stop him

You want to know how I discovered this first? It was through a Japanese friend on Facebook which knew my wife. Just as another example you look at what Google has done for helping families find loved ones who were missing during the Earthquake & Tsunami disaster. We knew some friends & family of a friend contact on Facebook which recognized a profile on Google's missing person list. We had been unable to get in touch with them for almost a week after the disaster. Although through the Facebook contact he had recognized them since he was from the area & were able to find out they were all safe. This would have never been possible if Facebook had been closed to outside groups like you say. Before this my wife was also fearful of Facebook but has since changed her view.

She admits now she had been very judgmental & was to critical of it before. Not to mention it gets easier when you are among like minded people. Not all that different from what we have here on JT. In closing I don't believe anyone on these forums would be here if they didn't care about Japan or were trying to limit themselves from the outside. You learn through the eyes of other people. Knowledge isn't gained by those who live in a box ya know. We try to live life the best way we know how but asking for help along the way doesn't hurt anyone. I am sure many on JT are thankful for that as I am. Not to mention I wouldn't have met the love of my life which I met through Facebook by the way. I was introduced by a Japanese business man who's brother was attending the same university I was. His sister (my wife) was on his Facebook page of which the Japanese business man was on mine lol. Strange how things work themselves out isn't it. I wouldn't change it for the world. :)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If you use an ad blocker, like "adblocke" on your browser, you don't see any adverts on any sites.

Have you ever wondered why ad blocking software has almost no market penetration in Japan? We make sure to create a lot of blogs that rank high for the ad blocking software search terms. And those blogs all talk about how ad blockers are virus software that will destroy your computer.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Hojo Soun

And those blogs all talk about how ad blockers are virus software that will destroy your computer.

I have used Adblockers for years, so I can tell you that its incorrect.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Of course it's incorrect, but it scares people into not using them! Whether or not it's correct is not the point, there are profits to protect here.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I guess it can be a good tool, but rubbish when people overuse it (by telling you what they are up to all the time) or when people abuse it to harass others. also the anonimity of all online stuff allows opeople to behave badly with little downside.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

All of the critiques here about Facebook are useful for me since just a few days ago we have developed a powerful idea for a new website that will outlast Facebook because it will create meaningful relationships in a way never conceived before. 10 years from now we will look back on Facebook as we are now seeing with MySpace. With the Facebook IPO next week it is perfect timing for me to release a press release that a greater site for humanity will be released before Christmas.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To be fair though, many in japan dont know how to socially interact anyway. There was an article on here a while back about how japanese people have trouble making friends. Many dont know what a friend is really. And even in person they treat their "friends" terribly.

example: who has had a good conversation with a new japanese person and then before departing made plans to meet again someday and exchanged contact info just to have them never reply to your messages. Also, the inability for many in japan to not be able to defend themselves or fight for themselves against people in in higher positions in work or life. Then too MANY often do things they really dont want to do just because it is socially acceptable.

Many in japan use this phrase: また今度 (mata kondo) which basically translates to "another time". Meaning like lets hang out another day. Although in japanese, most times it actually means i dont really want to hang out with you.

With that, Japan is pretty far behind with social networking and they havent quite figured it out yet. But yeah the main problems these people are having are not really problems with facebook but actually their own personal social awkwardness, and in some cases its japanese culture clashing with world culture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think Facebook is okay, but people tend to overdo it and lives their lives there. Not today, though, as it has evidently been down for hours. http://downrightnow.com/facebook

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites