Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Facebook: What is Security, exactly?

So every time I log onto Facebook, they seem to have instated some sort of new "security policy." Meaning several times a day practically.  But how secure is your information?  What are some common mistakes people make on Facebook?  Can you ever truly make your information private?

Well, let's take a look.

For a while, other than the occasional glitch, you could keep your status updates away from the general public.  That of course was until Facebook started discussing "Dance Party."  Sounds like a new console game? Yes, but what is it actually?  Take a look here: Pretty much, in summary, Dance Party is a whole new Facebook feature that will give a feel of Twitter... however not many will realize it works the way it does: You can see ANY status updates you want.

Have you also noticed that occasionally, if your friends write something on someone's wall, and that person is not your friend, it will still appear in your news feed?  This is partially part of the Dance Party feature, but also their new concept to "help you find friends."  Thanks Facebook, but I have enough.

The new fad out in social media today is FourSquare.  It's so fun to check into places and get points, but there's also something else that it can get you: stalkers, robbers, and unnecessary attention.  Even though only your friends can see where you are checking in, many times crimes are committed against someone by people that they know, even if it's just a little.  Even just stating that you will be out of the house for the evening, or bragging about an upcoming vacation can make you a target.  Check out this for some real scenarios:

Social media is a great thing, but only when used wisely and with one's own discretion is information actually protected from the public.  Posts, pictures, fan pages, etc. can show up even in an average Google search, and once on the internet, it will be there forever, even if you delete it.  So here are a few short tips to keep yourself protected.

1. Avoid writing status updates that declare when you will be away from home.
2. If there's something about you that you don't want even just one person knowing, don't post it!
3. You know that party you're at? There could be a camera anywhere.  Think before you act.
4. Use a password that includes at least 8 characters, and combines capital letters, lowercase letters, and numbers and/or symbols.
5. Don't add someone you don't know or can't verify their identity.
6.Do not give out permission to just any app on Facebook-verify it is legitimate and safe.

Along with these tips, just use common sense.  If you question something before posting it, you probably should hit the cancel button and just not do it.  Your best bet is to use social media as a communication tool, as it is meant to be, but don't reveal your entire life story.  Generally, only the creepers actually care.

As one more supplementary article, from TechCrunch comes: The Facebook Bill of Rights.  This is what they feel Facebook should follow to keep its users safe, and I ask you to like it or post it on Facebook to spread the word to them that the people want privacy.