Facebook - Some Practical Safety and Privacy Tips
Facebook is a wonderful resource that has linked me with past classmates and friends that I otherwise might not be in contact with today. As it's one of the most popular Internet sites worldwide, there are also bad people who want to take advantage of individuals in the open sharing that takes place.
A friend was recently surprised that I was able to easily find them and invite them to also become my Facebook friend. I shared below some practical safety tips and encourage everyone to think safety first while browsing, processing email, and interacting with others.
The last link below shares technical Best Practices for improving Facebook security on a step-by-step basis. Please take time to enhance your protection beyond just the default settings.
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>>> Was I hard to find on facebook -- I think my privacy settings are set to where I have to be a friend to find me. thanks
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Please remember that PRIVACY is very limited in Facebook and requires locking down the default settings. Facebook is designed as a highly collaborative social network to locate people and interact with them (i.e., it's the opposite setting for privacy). All you need to find someone on Facebook is to search by their name, even with the highest level of Privacy settings.
Some things that will help users stay safe:
-- Don't assume that if other friends are posting things in an open manner, they are using this resource safely. There are over 250 million users worldwide. Most of the attackers will leave you alone, unless you do things that attract attention. Still anyone can view the content you store there and learn more about you.
-- Never publish anything on your Facebook wall that you wouldn't want to read on the front page of your newspaper. In other words, it's a public setting and anyone with Internet access can read your page.
-- Be careful with photos and posts shared. Some of these may seem humorous to share among friends. However, they can also be copied from Facebook and posted to other Internet sites with links to your name. While you can eliminate these from Facebook, it will be very difficult to them removed from other sites later. As employers often search the Internet during the screening process, be careful with photos as well as words shared at all times in a public setting.
-- Never post sensitive information on your wall or anywhere else in Facebook. Your address, phone #, birthdate, or other information could be used for Identity Theft. While facebook requires a birthdate to ensure you are 18 or older, this can hidden as noted in the slide show link below (many also use January 1st and only share the year they were born)
-- Never post that you'll be on vacation or away from home for an extended period of time. Folks have actually been robbed this way in posting carelessly using Twitter or Facebook. Wait until you return to share with others.
-- Search on your name using Google, Bing, etc .. You may see Facebook posts or other details returned from the search. You may see opportunities to further adjust settings for improved privacy. Potential employers or lenders do these background checks often.
-- Don't be afraid to deny someone as a Facebook friend. You are not denying them as a friend, but letting them know you'd rather not interact with them using Facebook. I'm not a regular Facebook user and usually tell my friends that my preferred means of interaction is by email.
-- Never approve of any stranger to become your friend that you don't personally know.
-- Farmville, Mafia wars, and other games can attract strangers to your page. Also viruses or other malware agents can emulate these games and attack users also. You can still safely play the game, but avoid accepting strangers as friends just to gain points. Finally, avoid all unusual Internet links as malware might be resident at these sites.
-- Avoid clicking on suspicious links or objects as dangerous viruses like Koobface (Facebook spelled backwards) are present. While many things like the "beating hearts" are safe, I still never click on any of these.
-- Avoid accessing and posting to Facebook while at work, as all Internet access is usually monitored and especially heavy use will not look good to your employer
-- Log out of Facebook and then bring up your page without signing in. This will show how your Facebook pages appear to the general public.
-- The default settings favor the capability for someone to be easily found when searching Facebook. Facebook Privacy is difficult and time consuming to lock down totally. There are over 170 settings, as each of the 50 or more different pages has it's own individual privacy control settings. Read and then experiment with the privacy settings from the link at the bottom (also log out of Facebook and review how the adjusted settings appear to the general public)
MORE ON FACEBOOK SECURITY
EXCELLENT SLIDE SHOW -- HOW TO IMPROVE FACEBOOK PRIVACY SETTINGS
(click on RED ARROW on right side of each slide to advance to the next frame)