So, I’ve always wanted to write a “best practices” style post for users of the popular social networking website, Facebook. The blast of fame that Facebook has experienced has expectedly drawn the lowest scum of the earth, spammers. Thankfully and for the most part, Facebook’s engineers have tried to combat that by actively encouraging users reporting of spammy profiles, etc. They also have a powerful ally in their privacy permissions which can be very daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, you might think it’s the next best thing since the the redesign. 😛
So, in my years of using Facebook, I’m very proud to say that I have NEVER been hacked/tricked into using a sketchy app or have my wall/profile hijacked. I’ll delve into the reasons why my account has been relatively secure so far, but here’s why I *think* your facebook account won’t stop spamming others:
- Number 1 is the biggest culprit of all: Facebook applications. Do you realize that enabling Facebook applications without tweaking certain privacy settings means the apps developer has access to a LOT of information about you? Don’t believe me. Take this quiz to see for yourself what Facebook apps know about you AND your friends, courtesy of the ACLU. There are a bunch of things that applications can do including posting to your profile. If you enabled a sketchy app, guess what it can do? Post all sorts of NSFW or embarassing links on your profile. Please if you are a serial quiz taker, you need to check your Applications Settings STAT and remove any apps you’re done with.
- Number 2 is one that’s not very publicized, but I suspect is a biggie based on what I’ve experienced: Friends from Hell. Not your true friends of course, but my rule of thumb is: if I don’t know you (by that I mean, interact with you either in person or online), I won’t approve you no matter how many friends we have in common. I almost wish I’d started a study of the number of suspicious friend requests I’ve had and taken note of the people he’s managed to friend in order to back up my big suspicion that a prevalent route of “infection” is through approving friends that aren’t really your friends. Then again, there’s a certain percentage of facebook users who aren’t very discerning about whom they friend. Remember that being online is partly about social networking so please interact with a hefty dose of suspicion.
- Number 3 is a newbie mistake and often rectified quickly: enabling Facebook to update all your friends with every update/sneeze/breakup/makeup that happens to you. For simplicity’s sake, if you’re on Facebook to reconnect with friends or family, all you really need to let everyone know about your business is: status updates, photos of you/you+friends/pets. Anything else: video, notes, external applications need to be scrutinized before you let them appear in your news feed.
These are the 3 biggest things (or pet peeves) about Facebook.com users and I hope that this post will, at least, cause any current offenders to re-think their ways. 😛