Facebook is an excellent tool to stay in contact with friends and family, and also to meet new people, however we quickly forget an important childhood lesson—”don’t talk to strangers” – “but they are my friends you may say…”
As Fb (Facebook) relies on people’s openness to share their information on a semi-public forum, some dilemmas are posed. There is a strong need for humans to be connected to each other and Fb seems to take advantage of that need. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Whether it’s reconnecting with distant relatives or keeping track of close friends without having to duplicate information, or even to see what happened to that high school sweetheart, the strong interconnectivity of the internet cannot be denied or ignored. Thus it is easier to learn to adapt and live with, rather than find ways to live without this valuable tool.
The uses of Fb are far reaching. A Cape Town organisation has successfully located numerous missing children by posting their pictures on their group site. The effect that Fb is having on our society is still not clear. In terms of research, Fb is still new and there is currently a large amount of studies being undertaken on various aspects of the impact of Fb. For example, many corporate companies have implemented policies to deal with social networking forums such as Fb, MSN (another social network –Windows Live Messenger) and the like, owing to reduced productivity in the workplace. The current research on the effects of Fb on family life, work and mental health will be interesting. The problem is that research takes time and the publication of these findings too takes time, and Fb is still relatively new.
So you have taken the time to create a nice full profile on Fb. You have even included details as to where you live, work, your contact numbers and interests. You then are going on holiday and you post that on your status update something like “Ten days before holiday to Thailand!” The problem is that not only does everyone know that you will be out of town, they also know personal information about you and possibly your family. There would most probably be some pictures of your house on Fb in your photo albums and suddenly you have made it really easy for a would be burglar to have an option here. People even post that they are missing their husband while he is away. This can be a security risk too.
Before going head first into the Fb world, I would ask myself some questions:
1. Do I provide personal information and photos etc on my profile?
2. Am I really friends with all the people who have access to my Fb profile?
3. Do I trust the people who can view my profile and its contents?
4. Do I know how to use the security settings on Fb?
Who would you let into your home after hours? Who would you let into your home and allow them to look at your videos, photos and weekly plan? The information that you put onto Fb can easily become public and is available 24 hours a day.
Information such as where one works, while may be interesting for friends to see, can have a negative effect. The more information that you make available about yourself the more information a would be predator can get. For example, a con-artist could easily get more information about you by pretending to be a close friend when telephoning your business for example. By already having quite a lot of your personal details, it becomes easier to convince your reception or a co-worker for further information, such as your other contact numbers and so on. Now the con-artist could impersonate you when contacting some of your service providers as he/she already has your personal numbers, work numbers, email address and possibly your home address. This is the information that is often used to verify you to your service providers. A con-artist could contact a common service provider such as a telephone company and request that they want to change the postal address details. The operator from the service provider may confirm your address details to the con after he/she has presented other personal information such as birth date, contact numbers and work address. Even if the service provider does not accept the information that the con provided, they will tell him/her what information they require before they will be able to divulge or make changes to your account profile. Thus, the con can contact other service providers and between a few, and with some clever communication can get the missing information. Each service provider asks different security verification details and it is likely that the con will get through to at least one service provider to whom can provide further information, such as your home address. Now you are not only at a financial risk, you may be at physical risk too.
Included in this fraud is attempting to predict passwords f