WHY You Need to be Safe on Facebook
aka Who is using your data
I originally thought about writing a post on how to change your Facebook settings to make things more private, but I think the real problem here is that people don’t understand WHY. (Also Facebook, clever as they are, change their privacy settings every week!) We are all used to emails and surfing the web and don’t see how Facebook or any other social network is any different. But it is different. HUGELY different. Social networking is a whole new world and with this world comes a lot of problems and issues. So why do we need to be careful? Why can’t we continue to believe Facebook is our own little lala world? Read on to see who’s using your data and how…
1. The FBI and law enforcement agencies – No kidding, last week new documents were finally released by court order that detail how government agencies do this. They create fake IDs on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn and anywhere else we are. They can even “friend” you using these fake accounts (although they are told they are “not allowed to lie”). They use this information to develop profiles on your habits, the organizations you’re into, your friends. They can even use whatever you post as evidence against you and have done so in court. Tweets can be alibis for or against you, pictures can as well. Even the IRS is using it to find and inviestigate people. Read more:
2. Potential employers – I think I read a survey not long ago that said 9/10 potential employers use the web to do research on future employees. It’s so common but still people continue to put up crazy things, thinking no one but their friends is going to see it!
3. Current employers – If you think it was only potential employers you had to worry about, think again. Many companies now monitor who says what to make sure it doesn’t damage their company. They also can see if you are not really “sick” at home and what you are saying about your co-workers and boss! Many companies also monitor how much their employees use Facebook. Check out this article:
4. Paedophiles & sex offenders – The article I posted a few weeks ago on how a peadophile friended 17 year old Ashleigh only to rape, kill and dump her body in a field is chilling. Paedophiles actively trawl these social networks where young girls frequent. A recent report said 1 out of 10 sex offenders are using the web to “meet people”. Read more on how easy it is for a paedophile to lure a victim on Facebook:
5. Potential rishtas – Perhaps not as serious as the others (unless you’re single and looking to get married!) More and more people are typing names into google and facebook and finding all kinds of information on a prospective spouse. While of course this is useful for us to find out more about the other person, like seeing pictures of the person drinking and clubbing. (HAS happenned!), a lot of false assumptions can be made. Putting up any type of shady pictures or even innocent one’s, know that your future spouse will possibly examine them and judge you by them. This is a funny spoof article on the subject:
6. Advertising companies – Facebook of course uses your information as a base for their ads that appear on your popups. Your personal information is used. So if you’re a fan of suchandsuch thing you will get an ad related to that. Even worse is when they use your pictures and information to advertise to your friends! Or their lovely Beacon program last year that advertised your preferences and things you bought to your friends. But the future is even scarier. Facebook is looking to expand their advertising revenue and partnerships with other companies. In a few months (even now) they are rolling out new partnerships with other websites that will automatically Facebook Connect your data. So you don’t even have to be logged onto Facebook, you just go visit another site and they will connect all your data and “personalize your experience” there. Read more on the future:
7. Whatever you put up they own – Facebook has continued to be extremely vague about ownership of what you put up. Who owns your pictures? Do they or do you? You’ll be surprised to know that it still isn’t clear. A year ago, people realized that Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) said that Facebook owned their content… FOREVER. Owned everything you put up and even if you delete them kept ownership of them in the archive they have. That caused a massive brewhaha that resulted in some changes in Facebooks TOS but still. See more:
Facebook’s New Terms Of Service:
8. Whatever you put up is there forever – Life changes and so do we. But whatever we put up on the internet is there forever. I think we should coin a new phrase ‘life changes, but data is forever’. Some people think if they delete something that means it’s gone. Think again my friend!! Once something is on the internet it is stored and cached and archived. That means Facebook has an archive of even things you’ve deleted. That means google cache keeps a copy of your previous incarnations of your profile. There are even bots that go aroudn on twitter and collect all tweets and this or that and store them… forever. Want to permanently delete your account? Not as easy as you think either:
9. Burglars - This is kind of funny. Burglars actually are using social networking to find out when people are not at home. There’s even a site that used to highlight this by posting twitter messages by people who posted their location/vacation/home addresses: PleaseRobMe.com. I guess people got mad and they stopped but it proved their point. Read more:
10. Identify thieves - There are actually three different settings you need to check on Facebook to make your birthdate not visible to others. A birthdate and a name is all some need to access all kinds of information, including your credit card!
11. Stalkers – I don’t think I need to elaborate on this. Everyone who is online should be aware of this by now!!
I hope you can see that not all is well in lala land. Facebook isn’t your private island. It is a very public open never-ending-highway shady reststop. Anyone could be there, anyone could overhear, anyone could be lurking, stalking.
In the end:
–Keep privacy settings the highest you can.
–Be careful what you put up. Know that possibly anyone can see it and it could be there forever.
–Monitor who can see what always and check it every few months (because they do change and reset it without telling you!)
–Don’t friend people you don’t know are real ppl.
OK then, scared like crazy? You’ve realized Facebook and other social networks are not like your email? You’ll start to be careful now? Yay, my job is done here. Over and out