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Excuse me, can you respect my privacy?

February 24, 2010

OMG, how did something so casual amongst our friends become so serious?  Now we have to worry about protecting our privacy and security on Facebook, instead of just being able to interact with family and friends as we have in the past.  Mr. Facebook, if me disclosing details is what’s necessary for your organization to thrive, why didn’t you say that when I opened my account? Sir, no…I do not want the world to be able to know my birthday, hometown, and where I went to college.  Let alone do I want anyone outside of my friends to have my contact information nor anything else that I deem as private.  This is a serious matter, so just like millions of Facebook account holders I have set my privacy settings to “only friends.”  Anyone with an account, who hasn’t done so, should make sure you’re protected too.

Protect Yourself

  1. Review your privacy settings on Facebook. Go to “Account” then “Privacy Settings.”  For the highest level of security, select “Only Friends.”  Any other selection allows people you don’t know to obtain intelligence about you.  Keep in mind that not everyone has your best interest at heart.                                                                    
  2. Use common sense. Be careful about posting information that could be harmful to you if it ends up in the wrong hands or in front of evil eyes.  It’s wise to abstain from giving your date of birth, and even something as innocent as telling people that you’ll be vacationing for a week.
  3. Monitor your credit. Although we don’t want to live in a society filled with paranoia, identity theft is rampant and social media has become a grand source for such thieves.  Identity theft speaker, Robert Siciliano, recommends that you even get a credit freeze, making it difficult for a potential identity theft to use your Social Security number.

We live in times where security and privacy are major concerns.  Identity theft is prevalent, personal safety is compromised daily, and there are many bad apples out there.  So yes it is okay to enjoy social networking, the magnitude of social media, and all that they have to offer…but be careful.  This also means if some of your friends (who you may not really know) turn out to have a bit of suspect behavior or characteristics, don’t feel badly with wanting to remove them from your friends list.  Go right back in your account settings and exercise your power to…DELETE.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2010 2:45 pm

    I was seriously shocked when I took a look at my Facebook privacy settings this week. I couldn’t believe how I was inadvertently sharing my life story, complete with pictures from freshman year, for my whole “network” to see. I’m not even sure I know what network means! I think Facebook and other social networking websites should offer a few words of advice for new users. I bet when I set my Facebook page up years ago I didn’t care who saw what. I was in college, and the last thing I was thinking about was what my potential employer may think. I feel like they have a social responsibility especially to new users. Instead of saying “here are your privacy options…blah blah blah”, which most of us don’t take the time to read, they should have a message like “If you don’t update these settings the whole entire world will see all of your keg stands.” I know it sounds like I’m joking, but they are a social media site, and probably could get away with something like that. Plus it is eye-catching enough for new users to stop and think about the repercussion instead of just racing through the red tape so they can start uploading sorority pictures.

  2. February 24, 2010 5:13 pm

    Sondra,

    I agree with you that it is indeed frustrating to have to go through all this trouble in order to protect one’s facebook page. When I was first introduced to this social networking site, never did I think about the implications it could have on my privacy, or violation of such.
    Just like you mentioned, I also made sure that my profile is only available to my friends, and all my status updated included posted pictures are as secured as can be. For some odd reason, I still get friend requests from people I’ve never met on a daily basis. Given that I don’t have common friends with most of them, I cannot help but wonder how they’ve found my profile and why such interest in my page. Nonetheless, I ignore requests of those that I am not familiar with.

    I want to continue enjoying everything that facebook has to offer, as it has helped me re-connect with people I have long lost touch with, but I am not willing to use any site that can be detrimental to my privacy or that can expose me to identity theft. So what is the balance? I would say just to be careful how you interact, and to be familiar with as many features of any site you use as possible.

  3. February 24, 2010 5:41 pm

    Nice job sondraroberts.

    More info here too: Hacking a Corporate Network with Facebook http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-siciliano/hacking-a-corporate-netwo_b_429063.html

  4. March 10, 2010 11:39 am

    I really like the three suggestions you made to keep yourself safe on the internet. And, I couldn’t agree with you more. I feel as though every time I use the internet I have to watch my “virtual” back. There are constantly little “I Agree” boxes to check and uncheck. I have created passwords for countless websites. And, all of this before a website intentionally tries to get publicize your private information (eg. Facebook).

    I also feel at odds with the technology. In the length of time it takes me to figure out something like the new privacy settings on Facebook, they have already advanced to an updated version of the website. You should either engaged on the internet with your battle-helmet on or prepare to have things “out there” that are private and personal. We control the content that is put on websites, but I feel that a company should have a sense responsibility with regard to their users.

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