The Secret Dangers of Facebook
Facebook boasts more than 500 million users, a staggering statistic considering that the social networking giant has come under serious scrutiny in recent years over privacy concerns. This scrutiny has resulted in Facebook undergoing several changes, including the establishment of a new Help Center to advise users on the best ways to stay safe and protect their privacy online. Still, one wonders if after all that, we’re still at risk. Below is a list of several hidden risks to using Facebook.
- You are what you post. If you write about a night full of drinking, your online reputation could be tarnished. You could be labeled as a party animal, and employers are watching. According to a 2009 survey conducted by Microsoft, 79% of hiring managers and job recruiters in the United States review online information about prospective employees, and 70% of those surveyed said they’ve actually rejected applicants based on their findings. Similarly, negative posts about your current job, employer or coworkers could lead to you being fired.
- You are what your friends post. If a friend talks about drinking and drugging 24/7 or posts inappropriate remarks on your wall, consider removing them from your friend list in order to avoid looking guilty by association.
- Third parties may view your profile. Always keep personal information like your birthdate, social security number, address, phone number, marital status, etc. off your profile for this reason.
- Facebook apps can put your privacy at risk. Be cautious when using Facebook applications because many insist that you give them access to your entire profile and wall postings. They could share your information with other third parties and put your privacy (and your friends’ privacy) at further risk.
- Facebook ads could contain malware. Clicking on an advertisement may lead to a virus. Facebook does its best to screen all their advertisements, but dangerous ads sometimes get through, putting you at risk.
- Your profile is viewed by many people. Unless you’ve changed your privacy settings, a lot of people can view your profile. Check your settings on a monthly basis to ensure that your privacy is protected at all times.
- Your photos identify you. Scammers can easily identify you from your photograph. Think twice when posting personal photos unless your privacy settings are secure and frequently managed.
- Your username may put you at risk. Using your real name as your username can help scammers identify you or locate you offline.
- Revealing your location may put you at risk. Divulging your whereabouts, even just within your status, could make you vulnerable for an in-person confrontation, a home robbery, or put you at risk for cyberstalking.
We want to know what you think! Were you aware of these potential dangers of using Facebook? Do you have any to add to our list? Start the conversation by posting a comment below.
Tagged as: facebook privacy