So that’s a rather brash title isn’t it? Well I feel that a subject like this needs to be met with outright forwardness and it is for this reason that I am writing this article. Now this isn’t an article bashing Facebook or it’s recently changed privacy settings, its about the people that use it. I’ll start with a case in point. A friend of mine posted a status update earlier today saying “Who the heck is [insert name here]?!” – because the guy he was on about had been posting comments on his activity. Now the person he was on about also requested that I be his friend and when I looked at our mutual friends we had about 50, but I decided I didn’t know him so I didn’t accept the request – seems logical right? Well although to you and me it might, it seems that spammers who previously had covered relatively little ground on Facebook have moved onto fake profiles in their masses. And this made me think.
Facebook puts an awful lot of work into ensuring privacy, they make sure that you have “total” control over your account and it’s up to you what you share. But all of this hard work to protect users is immediately invalidated when any user accepts a friend request from someone that they don’t know and have never heard of. Anther example – another of my friends once confirmed a friend just because they had the same name of them, but upon inspecting their profile found absolutely no links – the guy lived half way around the world.
You could think that I’m over-reacting, but I can assure you, I’ not. Although I, personally put very little content on Facebook, think about the millions of vulnerable users that do – a like of a certain band here and a joining of another group there can soon lead to a huge psychological profile of any user. I would go as far as to say that your activity on Facebook could be enough to kill you. Woah! You say, but allow me to elaborate. Imagine some serial killer on Facebook looking to harvest information. Many people make their contact numbers public, while the rest make their movements known to all of their friends. Addresses, dates of birth, and other valuable information is stored on Facebook. Many banking systems use your date of birth and address as security information – think on that. On a serious note anybody out to hurt you could easily collect the required information off of Facebook and easily use it against you.
So what can be done to stop this? Well it’s incredibly simple – don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. And while I know I will be appealing to the wrong audience here, I believe it is important for us to educate those on the risks involved with accepting unknown people on Facebook as friends – because who knows, one day such information could save a persons life.
Okay so that last bit was a bit over the top – but I don’t think this subject is to be taken lightly, so think about the points I’ve made and please don’t go accepting friend requests from people you don’t know!