Recently, the American Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as their Central Intelligence Agency has been paying particular attention to FaceBook.
They have caught pederasts, terrorists (of low value) and an assortment of criminals. This was not fantastic spy craft on their part, this was simply reading the pages that were posted by the perpetrators. Posted by people so happy to share their exploits with the world that they forgot that their exploits are crimes.
Wives/Husbands have long known to search their spouse’s page for clues of affairs. Recently, a wife sued for divorce in that her husband had never changed his ‘status’ on his page; although married for six months, he was still ‘single.’
Others have been quite upset to find that their husband or wife has recently thrown up a page in which their marital status is no where in evidence, no photographs, no mention that they are not available. The inference is that they are ‘on the prowl.’
As unpleasant as these events are they pale beside the real dangers, that is virtually laying out a red carpet for any kind of criminal who happens along.
Most people join FaceBook using their real names, giving their real location, and entering a biography which makes it rather clear who they are and where they can be found.
Along with this are the photographs and bits of personal data. Any scammer can pop through FaceBook finding likely marks. After all, you know where the person lives to some extent, possibly their school, and enough about them to do realated searches to pin point their identity.
It is easy to find that Estelle Pearson attended Erasmus High School in Brooklyn in 1981 and join one of those Classmates sites, get her image, maybe something about her, and be able to pop onto the FaceBook page and past;
“Estie? It’s me, Virgie! I’ve been looking for you for so long!!!”
And poor Estelle doesn’t know that this message is coming from an Internet Cafe in Lagos, Nigeria typed by Ade Adenoya who is about to Scam her.
As bad as this scenario seems it is far worse when a serial killer can track you to your front door. And if you look at your page, with your name, your photographs with all sorts of identifying sign posts, etc, one doesn’t even have to be good at stalking to be successful.
Before you delete your page and hide under your bed there are a few clever things you can do to protect yourself. The first thing is not to use your real name. How will your friends find you? They won’t. You’ll find them. You’ll gather all your friends and tell them who you are.
And speaking of friends, people you have never seen, are not friends. Having 5,876 ‘friends’ on FaceBook made up of people you have never met in the flesh is beyond stupid. Acquaintances, sure, Net Pals, okay, but friends? as if you can run next door to borrow a screwdriver? No.
You don’t know if that nice woman who claims to be 23 is a woman or a 56 year old rapist. Hence keep your conversation light and vague.
What do you post? If you must post images of your children, have the venue vague or one off…for example, the time you visited Disney World or the Grand Canyon, places you don’t live. Not the school your child attends.
When it comes to personal data, don’t be too personal. People can find out way too much about you when you post too much.
Further, understand that many people will have access to your page via other pages, hence if you post something on my page then everyone who can see my page can see what you post.
People have lost their jobs typing things about their boss who just so happens to see it. People have lost friends, money, position, by being too forthcoming on a site like FaceBook which is public. Very very Public.
And since the recent sale of stock, about to become even more public where advertisers target users based on the words they use in a blurb.
The fact that you are sitting alone in your room, typing words on a computer does not mean your words will be kept in a safe room.
If you need some kind of mental prod, join your FaceBook page when you are sitting in a very busy Internet cafe where anyone can pass and see what you are doing. This is so vital that you might just confine your visits to FaceBook to those times you are in a public space. The Internet is Public. Even what you believe are private areas are not. If you haven’t joined FaceBok, you can do so with a false name and a vague address and post about things you want to talk about.
If you need to post images, try to have a level of circumspection. Anything you post can be copied, and that is why there are so many naked images, sex images, embarrassing pictures of people all over the ‘Nent. Anyone can see them, take them, publicize them, and there is no way you can get them removed.
Think of FaceBook as a big bus terminal, open, busy, and you’ll be far safer.