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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Facebook Accidentally "Outs" Gay Kids to Their Parents

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Facebook isn't helping everyone find friends
  • Facebook isn't helping everyone find friends

Those cumbersome privacy settings on Facebook didn't do much for two gay kids in Texas who were inadvertently outed on the social networking site, much to their chagrin.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the story of Bobbi Duncan, 22, and Taylor McCormick, 21, both students at the University of

Texas, whose fathers learned they are gay after they were added to their school's Queer Chorus Facebook group. Unknown to them, an update was posted on Facebook, indicating the two had joined the gay group.

"Our hearts go out to these young people," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said. "Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we

must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust

privacy controls."

See also:

As users may not know, Facebook has three options for discussion groups: "secret," meaning only

members can see the group, "closed," which non-members can see exists, but

can't see posts, and "open," which every user can see. Facebook users can be added to a group by a friend, without them having to first approve it.

In this case, the group was set to "open."

Both students claim they used Facebook privacy settings to ensure certain people -- especially their fundamentalist family -- would not find out about their sexual orientation. "Once I had my Facebook settings set, I knew -- or thought I knew -- there wasn't any problem," Duncan said. She told reporters that since the Facebook saga, her father has left her angry voicemails, threatening to cut ties with her.

Her father recently left the following status on his own Facebook page, according to news reports: "To all you queers. Go back to your holes and wait for GOD. Hell awaits you pervert. Good luck singing there."
Likewise, McCormick found himself entangled in family drama after his father learned he was gay. His mother reportedly called him the night the post appeared: "She said, 'Shit has hit the fan ... your dad

has found out.' I asked how," he said, "and she said it was all

over Facebook."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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