Ok, let’s talk about Facebook, shall we?
Facebook – love it or hate it, it has become the number one social network and is one of the most visited sites on the web. From Facebook’s own statistics:
* More than 500 million active users
* 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
* The average user has 130 friends
* People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
Needless to say, it’s a big part of many people’s online lives and even identities. I have over 300 friends and followers on Facebook myself, and I’ll admit, I only really ‘know’ about two dozen of them – the rest are all fans or followers of my blog, etc…
With so many users and so much information out there, there’s bound to be some problems – it happens, nobody is blaming anyone (usually) – but I wanted to talk about a few issues that are getting more and more common, and help you try to avoid them, because that’s the kind of monster I am – I’m all about the safety…
Currently there is a dangerous and rapidly growing trend around some pretty nasty viruses being spread through Facebook. These usually take the form of links posted to a person’s wall, or else a person has their name ‘tagged’ in another post. Some of the currently popular topics are ‘See who is viewing your profile’, ‘My Top Followers’, and most recently the horrible ‘See picture of Bin Laden Dead’. Don’t click on anything like this!
Clicking on any links like these is just inviting viruses and information theft, and with some you don’t even realize anything bad has happened; your computer keeps running but the virus can do things like send your personal information to an evil outside website or opening up your computer to someone else’s control. As you can probably see most recently on Facebook, these links also re-post themselves and spread rapidly to other accounts once you click on them.
Something else you can do to help yourself on Facebook is to make sure your security settings are appropriate, and most places I’ve seen recommend just setting yourself to ‘Friends only’. If you don’t know how, just go to the ‘Account’ link at the top right corner of Facebook and click on ‘Security Settings’ – they’ve made it pretty easy to set your account to Friends Only – just click ‘Friends Only’ under ‘sharing on Facebook’ and then Apply Settings.
Finally, as with all my internet safety articles, be very careful what information you share, and be really careful about who you ‘friend’, especially people who might ask you for specific information about yourself, where you live, how old you are, or where you go to school.
As always, keep playing safe!